The solutions involve the following streets and squares: SNP Square, Kamenné Square, a part of Dunajská Street, Špitálska Street, Rajská Street, Klobučnícka Street, Treskoňova Street, Hurbanovo Square and Župné Square.
The “Živé námestie” (Vivid Square) project was initiated by Alliance Old Market Hall (Aliancia Stará Tržnica, AST) and SGI in cooperation with the 2021 architectural studio and Laboratory of Landscape Architecture with the participation of Bratislava, the Capital City of the Slovak Republic. Consultations were organised also with other stakeholders, experts, residents, and visitors of the city.
The Živé námestie (Vivid Square) project mainly presents a large quantity of collected and newly elaborated data concerning Kamenné Square and SNP Square. These serve as background for the architectural competition. The competition should result in a long-term strategy of transforming the squares into a functional and accessible urban space. The competition should result in a long-term strategy of transforming the squares into a functional and accessible urban space. The project also includes the so-called quick wins. They are also based on the collected data and include a set of changes that can be implemented in a relatively short time with a restricted budget, but they also have a big potential to significantly improve the experience in the public space.
Three important moments
in the 20th century
In the 1930s, the city experienced a period of development; only in the surroundings of SNP square, four new buildings were constructed: Municipal Savings Bank (today building of the Slovenská sporiteľňa bank on the corner of Štúrova and Dunajská), Coop Houses (opposite the Old Market Hall), Brouk a Babka Department Store (the building of the “old” Dunaj department store) and the Manderla House (“Manderlák”). Although these are high-rise buildings, their construction did not significantly change the functioning of the square. The Old Market Hall continued being used, and trading from stalls also continued not only in front of the market hall, but also next to the Caroline Augusta Fountain and in front of the Reformist Church.
2. Totalitarian regime
In 1949, an important event took place – the statue of Stalin was erected in the square. This meant the end of Caroline Augusta Fountain, which stood there since 1828, and also the end of the public and gathering space. A similarly large intervention into the space was the construction of the Memorial to the Heroes in the Slovak National Uprising (1974). Besides other things, the shape of the memorial was supposed to prevent the gathering of people in the square (this was similar to today’s Freedom Square).
3. Construction of Prior
The construction of the Prior department store took place between 1964 and 1968. This structure changed the shape of Kamenné Square and its surroundings for good. Kamenné Square itself used to be a small square opposite the end of Kolárska Street, but the construction of Prior made it significantly larger.
What we build on –
the starting point
In the first step of creating the project (2016), we collected and analysed past project proposals, all sorts of plans from the past fifty years, historical photographs, etc. There are also many other documents, which include original works or outputs drafted by us or to order.
Then we mapped the state of play in the square as regards:
- static transport
- traffic signs
- trees and shrubs
- advertising surfaces
- litter bins
- bicycle parking racks
- public street lighting
- plant pots
Finally, we prepared
- a data map
- a 3D model of the square
- an emotional map
- a legal analysis
- a dendrological survey of 172 trees
We also started the process of collecting opinions
and suggestions from experts and the general public,
but mainly from residents. This included:
138 working meetings
The realisation team attended 138 working meetings with stakeholders and experts.
We prepared a questionnaire for the public, which was completed by 1087 respondents
We organised educational walks and so-called focus groups in Seniorcentrum in the Old Town, the Prešporkovo family centre, and also with groups of visually impaired and immobile persons.
We collected data with the topic of safety through the WhatCity? workshop.
We mapped 407 suggestions that were posted over seven years on the Message for the Mayor portal.
(You know what you see?)
Through the viescovidis.sk portal and with the help of locals, we documented their memories connected to specific places in the squares.
We collected 269 opinions about pleasant and unpleasant spots that people marked using cards on a map in the Old Market Hall.
View the proposed quick wins
1 - SNP Square – SNP Square is a valuable area in the city centre, and for that reason, we are convinced that priority should be given to walking and spending time in its main parts. We propose traffic changes that will allow this mode of mobility, make it more seamless and increase the level of transparency in the area. We focused especially on a spot where this can bring the largest benefit, and that is the continuation of Poštová Street. At the same time, we propose modifying the greenery and adding lighting in the surroundings of SNP Memorial, which will increase transparency, and thus also improve safety and cleanliness in the area.
2 - Kamenné Square – The surface between the Prior Department Store and Dunajská and Špitálska Streets was assessed by the public as one of the most problematic public spaces in Bratislava. That is why we proposed a fundamental cleaning of the area from all elements that make it chaotic or add to the low level of hygiene and an overall asocial character. These should include treating tree crowns to enable views through them, removing shrubs and outdoor advertising which constitute barriers for mobility and limit the use of the area. We also propose new greenery in a form that allows its later transport elsewhere, i.e. large pots with mobile trees, as well as separating the space form parking spots in Dunajská Street and securing two rows of joined kiosks with small businesses. Based on our talks with the sociologist from the WhatCity? Workshop, we think that the area would benefit from a children’s playground, which is unimaginable in the present state of the square. However, in the future, it could serve as an excellent meeting spot for residents from the surrounding area.
Old Market Hall
3 - space in front of the Old Market Hall – Our proposals for the space in front of the Old Market Hall include a modification of greenery and lighting, mobile seating furniture, but especially a mitigation of the traffic situation. The changes towards the tramway track should include unifying the paved areas, regulating the access for car transport, and making the situation more transparent with a focus on walking and cycling. We would also like to reserve a larger part of Klobučnícka Street for the movement of pedestrians and extend the businesses into the exterior by placing containers with young trees.
Intersection of SNP and Kamenné
4 - connecting SNP Square and Kamenné Square – The area between the Manderla house, the Old Market Hall, the Polish Institute, and the Coop Houses by architect Belluš used to represent an intersection with Špitálska street. It is also adapted to this function. However, because the area changed, it needs to be modified. Thus, we propose changes that will unify paved areas, regulate the access for car transport, and make walking, cycling, and spending time in the area more transparent. The interconnection of the two squares should be as seamless as possible, and it is appropriate to test it already today, so that it can become a part of long-term solutions.
5 - Treskoňova Street – One of the places in the centre that the general public assessed as the worst, is the space between Kunsthalle and the Merciful Brothers Hospital. For this reason, we propose the following changes: removing kiosks, decreasing the number of parking spots so that a transparent and illuminated space is created between the buildings, unifying the elevations of the paved areas and placing a few mobile chairs and tables. We want this space to be safe and clean, thus representing a dignified entrance to both institutions.
Over the past years, we have collected hundreds of suggestions and prepared numerous proposals to improve the mentioned area. This website only provides an introduction to them along with a brief summary of the proposed changes. If you want to view and study the documents in more detail, you can download them here.
The Živé námestie (Vivid Square) project is a common outcome of the Shared Cities: Creative Momentum project, co-financed from the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, and the National project of the Office of the Plenipotentiary of the Government for the Development of the Civil Society entitled Promote Partnership and Dialogue in the Area of Participatory Public Policy-Making, operational programme Effective Public Administration, supported by the European Social Fund. Some outputs of the Živé námestie project were co-funded by the Slovak Arts Council.
How the website was created
This website was published in 2018. Information on the subpage “The Živé námestie (Vivid Square) Project” is kept in the version from the end of 2018 during the handover of the project to MIB. Many quick wins have since been implemented, while others are no longer valid and will be a subject of the architectural competition.