Our competition entry for the regeneration of Kolín’s Jirásek Square wins third place
By regenerating Jirásek Square (Jiráskovo Náměstí )and combining it with new residential buildings and market, we have helped to redefine the center of Kolín – a new public space that becomes a focal point for the town.
The regenerated square will offer a safe and lively public space with greenery, a unique market hall, and improved, clearer transport connections. The sympathetic transformation of the square and its sensitive addition to the historical footprint will open up new possibilities for the town to organize a range of events including concerts, exhibitions and farmers markets.
Despite the remains of poor urban planning, chaotic car parking areas and greenery, Jirásek Square is an important place with which many local memories have been formed. Jirásek Square is remembered by many locals as a lively urban space and a natural center of the town with shops, pubs and cafés. However, today the square is cluttered with unorganized parking spaces, traffic and greenery – the square has lost its relationship with its past and original urban structure including with the Church of St. Vita and its adjacent cemetery.
A Living Center
A balanced combination of much-needed multi-purpose spaces, smart and sustainable solutions and green areas will help to restore the disorderly square with character to remain as the lively center of the town.
Jirásek Square is becoming an attractive place to meet, which will come alive with visitors to the town‘s unique market all year round. The focus of the square is a friendly public space that will offer pop-up multi-purpose and modifiable stalls offering a variety of cuisines from around the world, cafes and stalls with local products. The regenerated square will also offer a place to host a variety of social activities that are still lacking in the area, from farmers markets to open air concerts and exhibitions or just impromptu meetings. The bank of the River Elbe will gain a popular public space just a few steps from the city center with something for all ages.
We designed the central part of the square as a game of chess which encourages leisure. The growth of the chessboard was formally reflected in the large-format paving. Instead of playing pieces, we conveniently placed green areas and seating on the chessboard, which will complement the variable shelters of various stands. The square will be joined by two sensitively modified entrances, which will expand the public space of the square with a unique underground cinema, theater or wine bar.
The proposed layout of the square is designed to enhance the views of the Church of St. Vitus, which will act as an anchor to the square and in which the new public space will provide a forecourt to, currently missing from the church entrance and the southern entrance to the cemetery.
In the calm streets of U Kostelíčka and Mnichovická, we are proposing an attractive line of sensitive public spaces. The cemetery wall is currently covered with a range of perennials and low trees and the composition of greenery will be complemented by the Skalník plant, which filters out 20% more pollution than other plants. As an example, the Skalník plant filters out as much pollution (CO2) as one car produces in 800 kilometers. Both streets will be complemented by tree species typical of the locality, which include Javor Klen, Lípa Malolistá, Platan and Jeřáb Muk. It is also proposed that some trees, mostly in U Kostelíčku and Mnichovická streets, will be complimented by circular benches surrounding the trees.
Mnichovická Street will become a linear interactive and educational park for pupils of the local primary school with limited vehicle access. In the street, we have proposed a range of play elements for children, as well as outdoor classrooms, shelters and interactive games with sound and light. In Mnichovická Street, the main entrance to the cemetery will be located, which can connect Mnichovická Street and U Kostelíčka Street in the future. As well as new plants and trees, the existing spruce will be retained in the middle of the square, which will double-up as a Christmas tree during the Christmas markets in winter.