Team Representative: Cyril Pavlu (CZ) – urbanist architect
Associate:Kateřina Vondrová (CZ) – urbanist architect
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C. Pavlu & K.Vondrová
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1. How did you form the team for the competition?
Being partners in life and also partners at work, we have been collaborating on different projects since our years at the university. The Europan competition gave us the possibility to turn our kitchen table into an urban design office and we decided to take on the challenge.
2. How do you define the main issue of your project, and how did you answer on this session main topic: the place of productive activities within the city?
The main issues - or rather great challenges - were to change the physical and mindset barriers. The vast harbour space has created a physical gap between the city and the sea but it also has made the urban life turn its back to the water. To fill the gap we proposed strong public space connections and relocation of the main traffic artery in order to naturally extend the existing city grid to the water edge. Part of the urban structure builds on the existing roads around the productive warehouses, which in our proposal become an essential part of the neighbourhood and public life. Newly proposed network of various public spaces along the waterfront and inside the new neighbourhoods allow us to bring back the urban life and rediscover the dailys relationship with water and production. The production, in our point of view, is something that happens on multiple scales and the site possesses a great potential to explore it. By preserving some of the existing buildings on site we are able to meet the range of production from large logistic centres to small single-person workshops, which are integrated within living-working blocks. No matter the scale, the connection to urban life outside the productive space is essential to make the production enhance the urban life and not vanish from our perception as it has been done before.
3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
We believe in the need to explore and test new hybrid ways of living and working and new possibilities for production within the cities to build the better ones and most importantly, the productivity as important function in the city can also help to achieve more inclusive and socially mixed neighbourhoods in the future. The concept of our proposal comes very much from the context and existing situation. The site gives us, with its enormous size, enough space to explore the theme in various ways. We propose three districts, each having a distinct character and providing various types of production. One part of the coastline is reconnected to the system of natural habitats which are surrounding it, recreating an ecosystem production. Second area, dominated by existing industrial buildings, is turned into a neighbourhood with preserved productive functions concentrated in the warehouses, which become place-makers and activators of the attached public spaces. Last part of the site naturally extends the city grid and proposes a new working-living typology of blocks inspired by Trelleborg’s old urban structure and providing combination of small to medium scale productive places. Public space links lead through small squares, production hubs, food halls, parks and other, naturally extending the existing urban fabric to the redeveloped waterfront. The proposal celebrates water with over five kilometers restored coastline and new public facilities, such as bathing piers, marinas, wetland areas and natural beaches that all create diverse and continuous public realm for current and future Trelleborg’s residents.
4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
The post-industrial site regeneration is a theme present in various forms in many of our projects, student or professional ones, yet in very different scales. We were involved in both small scale interventions and industrial building regenerations to masterplanning, but the scale of the strategical site in Trelleborg was with its 95ha probably the largest we have encountered so far. The works of Architecture Workroom Brussel and Kristiaan Borret on productive cities was a great motivation for us to try implementing it in a scale of the chosen site in Trelleborg. We were also inspired by many projects focusing on harbour transformations that had been going on in the Nordic countries, such as Nordhavnen in Copenhagen (DK), Bo01 in Malmö or Royal Seaport in Stockholm (SE) as well as bottom-up projects such as NDSM in Amsterdam (NL).
5. Urban-architectural projects like the ones in Europan can only be implemented together with the actors through a negotiated process and in time. How did you consider this issue in your project?
Given the scale of the site, the project will be implemented over a period of 20-30 years. The long time period is not always a negative aspect, as it can enable much slow paced growth. We follow Jan Gehl’s motto "First life, then spaces, then buildings” and considered this approach in the proposed time phasing. Preservation of existing activities and early establishment of some of the key communal spaces and connections are essential in order to anchor the new development in the mindset of the residents of the city as well as to establish the public realm as a base to later built on.
6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?
Yes, this was our first time taking part in Europan and we very much appreciated the recognition for our work. It is an important professional achievement on an European scale. We are really happy we have decided to participate, not only we have learnt much on the way about the productive city theme but it has enabled us to get in contact with some great people.