PREMISE It has been commonplace, especially to ones who perceive themselves as the urban intellectual layer of society that the term shopping center presents some “god-forbid-to-go” place, built without taste, harmful to human intellect that someone would visit exclusively “out of necessity”. However, it is true that all layers of society, due to the rhythm of life, indisputably spend more and more time and even socialize within such buildings. The centers are becoming programmatically complex and multi-functional, no longer exclusively like boxes containing stores. If so, why not approach this typology with more care, humanize its purpose, improve the quality of socialization, and give it a more contemporary and adequate design? In a word: why not realize a new generation of retail typology in a local context? ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN The main objective of the project was to answer the above question – creating a new generation of a shopping center. With a contemporary and synergistic design of outdoor and indoor spaces, a shopping center with added value and facilities has been created. The goal was to build a structure that will fit into the given urban matrix and environment with its organizational and urban gestures. The structure has been cut into two volumes and detached. From this endeavor, among other things, a large but intimate outdoor multi-functional “living room” was created – friendly to the neighborhood and easily accessible by numerous pedestrian paths. It also fulfills the chronic deficiency or lack of public space within this large part of the city. Children's playgrounds next to parents who carelessly drink coffee on the terrace, sports and recreational facilities, a platform for concerts, skating rinks, fairs, and other various and innovative content are some of the added values to this complex. This approach to architecture has resulted in a completely new concept of openness which, in addition to the basic function of a shopping center, contributes to the growth of quality of life and creates a new place for people to meet and socialize. DESIGN ELEMENTS Guiding thought seen throughout the whole project is a tendency to synergize the design of both interior and exterior elements and connect them in a harmonious and integral visitors' experience of the space. It can be seen in the use of materials and in the way they're being laid and treated: forms from the outdoors extend into the interior, the facade metal sheet cladding follows the logic of the public square, internal halls and galleries follow the building's envelope, etc. The facade is made of moulded metal sheets laid in such a way that attractive spatial effects are achieved with simple differences in application. Effects come into life especially later in the day when it's additionally emphasized by the atmospheric lighting. To stress out the use of locally manufactured materials and elements, PULSAR has also, among other things, designed the unique concrete pavement elements (named Puls*ar) that have now officially entered the assortment of the local manufacturer of prefabricated concrete elements. The newly created public square contains a system of floor heating using the recuperated hot water from the HVAC system. Instead of leaving the aspect of squares’ utility to the chance of weather, this economical system is being used to prolong the season of its use, therefore expanding the range of activities that can take place here throughout the whole year. Traffic and open public space overlap at different altitude levels. The traffic flows uninterrupted underneath the square, providing fluidity for the visitors entering or leaving the center, while the public square stays intact and safe for those inhabiting it. The public square and the upper-level large terrace are the natural extensions of the interior food court and hospitality areas. Integrated children's playgrounds provide families with a safe and comfortable, open but intimate area.
PULS*AR is an architectural studio situated in Zagreb (Croatia), specialised in architecture, interior design, urban planning and consultancy services. Quality, innovative design, a creative architectural pulse is well combined along with professionalism and flexibility – these markings are the features that the studio is well-known for.
PULS*AR was founded in 2013, and is today led by architect Alan Leo Plestina.
The extensive 20+ years’ experience and more than one hundred realised, individual and
co-authored references still continue the intensive and pulsating design.
Covering all the architectural aspects in the field of construction – architectural, interior and landscape design, masterplan and consultancy services, support in the area of building regulations and spatial planning – PULS*AR meets all demands through full dedication to the creative pulse of its design team.
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