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Old Posted Mar 13, 2009, 1:52 PM
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Daniel Libeskind vision of Belgrade waterfront

The Port of Belgrade is located between city neighborhood “Dorćol” and Danube, taking up one of the potentially most exclusive piece of land Belgrade has to offer at the moment. Today it is characterized by large old warehouses, chaos, transit traffic, disorganization of the space, and the city center, located 10 minutes away, has no contact with it. Since the Port was privatized, the ambitions have risen, and the new company – The Port of Belgrade, A.D. – didn’t waste time, they employed the world famous architect Daniel Libeskind to create a master plan for the Danube’s waterfront in Belgrade.

Daniel Libeskind, born 1946 in Łódź, Poland, made his world fame by winning the competition to be the master plan architect for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site in New York. On March 2nd, in the amphitheater of the Belgrade’s Faculty of Architecture, he presented the master plan for the development of the Port of Belgrade. Students, professors, experts and press showed unexceptional interest in it – the amphitheater was full, and in the halls TV screens were installed, broadcasting the presentation live.

Master plan for the Port of Belgrade will completely reorganize the space, with partial preservation of some buildings and change of their function. The interesting idea of this plan is to divide the whole area in seven quarters with a specific characteristic, where each would be a sustainable neighborhood for itself. Every quarter would have its spaces for relaxation in a form of well organized greenery. As the main goal of this project is sustainability, although project includes large urbanization of the area, the whole neighborhood is enriched with a large and dynamical park. Beside this large public park space, the entire project includes number of different venues that will ensure function and quality of the neighborhood.

The water basin inside the Port will be used as a marina with a variety of contents provided in the buildings surrounding it. A special place is reserved for the culture – right next to basin there would be a library, while the central position will be held by Performing Arts Center. The investors know as well that they must avoid constructing a mono-functional development, like New Belgrade was couple decades ago. The contents of this neighborhood will attract people to come to this area, in an attempt to return this riverfront to its supposed function. Francuska Street will be extended to the river, forming a Waterfront Plaza in its end. On this Plaza Libeskind planed a large ‘Icon Tower’, 60 to 70 floors high, which would dominate the port, even maybe Belgrade, and could be seen from all important places of interest in Belgrade, but especially from Danube river. The waterfront will be also divided into several sections, and apart from the classical “stair-case” promenade, there will be a marina and a large beach, where residents of Belgrade and their guest could enjoy warm days.

All quarters, envisaged by this master plan, would consist of buildings in different sizes and shapes. Although it is a very large development area, this way it is possible to avoid architectural repetitions and template construction. With very well organized leisure areas, Liebeskind managed to break high density concept of this project common for the old part of Belgrade. Some even criticized that the area won’t connect well with its surroundings, but Mr. Libeskind said he hoped that future development would bring near-by areas closer to his concept. Representatives of the Port of Belgrade showed determination to put this project into practice, however, they have stressed that this big project was almost never before introduced in our city and that its implementation may take up to a decade or more. The development of this project is very conditioned with infrastructure growth and some of the areas could even start development soon with the existing one. The rest of the project should be followed by substantial infrastructure investment on the side of the local government.

The key word is "maybe", since the project itself is a vision with a strong perspective, that was introduced in the eve of probably the largest economic crisis that happened to the mankind. However, we can still hope that this master plan will not end up as one of the many forgotten ideas. As Libeskind said ‘The Empire State Building’ was built during the depression years, still one is sure, projects like this could prevent recession becoming a depression.

Daniel Libeskind in Belgrade

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Old Posted Mar 13, 2009, 9:20 PM
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Looks interesting. I like Libeskind and I like Belgrade...
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Old Posted Mar 16, 2009, 7:01 PM
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Interesting indeed. Looks a bit too separated from the rest of the city for my tastes but WAY better then almost all urban planning 'round here.
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Old Posted Jun 5, 2009, 2:15 AM
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I used to live in Belgrade for 18 years.

Beograd je Svet!!!
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Old Posted Jun 8, 2009, 8:21 AM
justinR.1775 justinR.1775 is offline
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Unfortunately I have never been to Belgrade but I definitely would like to visit it. I definitely like his plans for Belgrade. Basically I love Daniel Libeskind because I am of the opinion that he is a genius. Most of all his buildings I love the Royal Ontario Museum. I am of the opinion that this is a masterpiece of modern architecture.
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Old Posted Jun 14, 2009, 12:31 AM
GaborFrankl GaborFrankl is offline
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Whoever posted this can justifiably be proud of his future city, or simply of Belgrade. The very fact that a resource-free [financial capital-wise], rather poor country can bring this on, if indeed we shall see, but even on design level, is a testimony of determination, taste and will power. It's much better than many, many river/seaside cities of the upper or near 30.000 GDP/capita European states can muster in terms of overall projects I believe. Just think about Brighton for example. The planned skyscraper there will never be built, it has been scuttled for good. Oslo, Stockholm, well... Switzerland anyone? What eye-catching projects do they have right now on their waterfronts? The word "innovation" does not exist there in my opinion. That's it folks. Go Belgrade! It will be a marvelous place if once it gets there. Liebeskind rocks!
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Old Posted Nov 16, 2010, 5:57 PM
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Great project, I hope it will become reality.
Yes, it seems like Eastern Europe is more open for innovative projects, perhaps because these countries are under development and their economies are growing. One example is Warsaw with its many skyscrapers constructed recently.
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Old Posted Nov 17, 2010, 1:48 AM
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Looks really ambitious! It'll be interesting to see more news about this as it trickles in, especially on the tower. The design is fairly abstract for now.
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Old Posted Nov 17, 2010, 1:35 PM
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I despise Libeskind. I've never seen anything of his that I liked. He sells nonsense designs to developers trying to seem "arty."
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Old Posted Nov 18, 2010, 4:38 AM
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I like the planning concept, although I'm not usually one to appreciate Libeskind's "brand" (like my beers, I strongly prefer local architects).
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Old Posted Nov 26, 2010, 3:10 PM
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Here's a newly released video presentation of the project:

Video Link

Basically, with the completion of this project some 10-15 years from now, Belgrade will finally become a true Danube city - like Vienna or Budapest. For now, the city is still mostly centered on Sava river.
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