Excerpt:‘TERMINAL DORCOL: Rearticulation of Belgrade’s Railway Corridors’ is an architecture thesis by Vid Savic from University of Belgrade – Faculty of Architecture, that seeks to create an ideal model for the reactivation of the Danube riverside. The primary goal of the research process was to create urban content that would highlight a distinct experience and a fresh perspective on the city from the river. The project also aims to add new walkways and bicycle paths, which will provide much-needed breathing space for the city.
Introduction: Due to its long history as a crossroads and its proximity to an industrial area along Dunavska Street, Dorcol, an affluent urban neighbourhood of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, served as the impetus for the primary research topic, which was intended to produce an optimal model for the reactivation of the Danube riverside. The primary aim of the architecture thesis was to create urban content that would highlight a distinct experience and a fresh perspective on the city from the river. The project also aims to add new walkways and bicycle paths, which will provide much-needed breathing space for the city.
The thesis proposes a multi-modal terminal at the Belgrade river pool where three different traffic paths come together: the road, the railway and the river. The site of the project can be analysed as a totally distinct entity in the city, a bordered area devoid of its previous purpose. Because of its proximity to both the river and the main city centre, this once-attractive location is now completely destroyed, giving it a dystopian appearance akin to that of futuristic cities seen in science fiction films.
Due to social, cultural-historical, and architectural-urban values, the preserved industrial facilities on the right bank of the Danube, however, still serve as tangible proof of the city’s economic development and the birth and growth of the first industrial zone. For these reasons, this location should be analysed as a crucial component of Belgrade’s industrial and cultural legacy.
The layout of the railways there emphasises the area’s distinctive identity even more today. The industrial zone on the right bank becomes even more isolated from the rest of the city as a result of the railway’s main backbone, the former Belgrade-Danube station, which serves as the industrial zone’s functional and visual envelope.
The term “terminal” refers to the start or finish of a queue in bus, rail or airline traffic, according to its etymology. Can a connection be indicated by the terminal as well? A terminal symbolises the city’s relationship with the river, the industrial zone’s relationship with other city zones, the railway’s significant history with new, vital types of traffic for the city, and the relationship between the port basin’s two shores.
It marks the start of one kind of traffic (river), but it also marks the continuation of the Danube riverbank bicycle and pedestrian routes. The railway flows’ translation from a two-dimensional to a three-dimensional state illustrates potential architectural directions for the future based on the various travel paths of terminal users, resulting in new kinds of spatial movement.
The main intersection in the city was created by crossing the directions of various types of traffic (car, pedestrian, tram, and river) and their vertical stratification in the area above the port pool. The terminal facility, which seeks to activate the industrial zone, is located in the centre of the traffic intersection.
By converting the port pool into a port for river city traffic and repurposing the existing railway corridors as walking and bicycle routes, old industrial facilities would become publicly accessible and, as a result, gain significance from their newly formed practical function. This would represent a modern functional, social, and economic aspect of revitalising that area of the city, in addition to being aesthetically pleasing.
The study examined the effectiveness of urban regeneration strategies and sustainability measures in the industrial zone along the right bank of the Danube River. By carefully examining the significant influence that railway traffic had on Belgrade’s industry and comprehending the relationship between Dorcol and the city’s other areas as well as its place in the current socioeconomic development, it has become clear what the best course of action is for the site’s rearticulation.
Thus, the primary research area is situated above the port pool in the Belgrade river port, where three distinct traffic paths converge: the river, the railway, and the road. The location would become a distinctive river public transport terminal by reaffirming these paths. Moreover, it would function as a connector—a pedestrian bridge that connects the Danube docks’ cycling and walking routes.
Conclusion: While the project’s original goal was to link the port pool’s shores, the river traffic terminal facility also serves as a link between the industrial heritage of the past and the present, as well as between the river and the mainland, the city, and its residents.
[This Academic Project has been published with text submitted by the student]
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