Location: Belgrade, Serbia
Scope: Masterplan: Museum + Offices + Retail
Client: City of Belgrade
Architect: Studio Seilern Architects
Engineering: Hilson Moran
Transportation consultant: Mayer Brown
Cost consultant: Boyden Group
Beton Hala is an urban cultural park. At its heart is a new dynamic cultural centre hosting international and local exhibitions and events. The architecture is a mix of unique design and industrial heritage, integrated within a green landscape against the historic backdrop of the Belgrade Fortress.
The existing Beton Hala, a 330 m long concrete hall, forms a strong presence on the waterfront that cannot be ignored. Rather than making Beton Hala an edge condition to the park we reinforce the strength of the waterfront promenade by duplicating it at the upper level.
A linear arrangement of four double-height commercial volumes is organized on the Beton Hala grid, replicating its column structure, albeit in a much thinner steel version.
This move establishes a seamless link between existing Beton Hala waterfront commerce and the park at the upper level with three vertical connections. Breaking up the commercial spaces creates fluidity between Beton Hala and the new cultural park, while opening up views from the park to the Sava River.
The commercial spaces are organized on two levels on a modular 5.5m grid. This allows maximum flexibility of use, where one could conceive each volume being let out to mixture of retail and leisure activities, as well as prime office space with views over the new Waterfront Park and the Sava River. Each block is accessible directly from the parking and park levels through individual vertical cores.
It quickly became evident that the museum element needed to find its own space on the site and have its own relation to old Belgrade. The proposed structure offers a strong presence on Pariska Street, creating a monumental entrance to the exhibition space and the new waterfront park.
The building is organized as a series of volumes that engage with the landscape and the city by adopting the latter’s street grid. The volumes are conceived as open-ended spaces, which reveal the museum and turn it inside out. Large glazed openings frame views of the park, the Danube beyond and the city; and objects on display are given a strong connection to the park and the city. The volumes allow a wider range of curatorial possibilities than the typical white box.