Urban renewal of Aiud's historical center
The project for the Urban Renewal of Aiud’s Historical Center was initiated by the municipality of Aiud. The historic city center of Aiud is currently fragmented by multiple streets, parking spaces, spontaneous vegetation, billboards. There are no public spaces here that attract pedestrians or tourists to relax in this area filled with heritage buildings. Also, one of the main problems of this historic area is the low visibility towards the Citadel and its reduced visual and spiritual impact on the people who cross the city center.
The main objectives of this renewal project are:
To define a precise identity for the city of Aiud by restructuring and renewing the public space within the historical city center, in order to emphasize the Aiud Citadel as the heart of the city and an important national tourist attraction.
To restructure the street system, with a main purpose of discouraging car use in the area and encouraging eco-friendly means of transportation (bike paths, pedestrian paths, public transportation), at the same time making sure that all the needs of the city center are satisfied.
To create pedestrian paths and public spaces within the old city center, by designing recognizable and usable public spaces that attract pedestrians (tourists as well as local residents) and encourage social life in the historic center.
The identity of the public spaces in a city with a historical center plays an important part in the promotion of the city at a local, national or even international scale, because it is directly associated with the central touristic attractions. That is why the design of a contemporary, functional and attractive public space is extremely important, because it enhances the qualities of the heritage buildings and it encourages people to spend more time in the old city center.
This project defines multiple quality public spaces with strong identities, each of them becoming the background for certain specific activities that usually take place in a historic city center (sports, leisure, concerts, festivals).
The starting point of the project was identifying all of the public spaces in the historical center that needed to be included in the study area, with the goal of rearranging and restructuring them in the most efficient way, in order to eliminate residual spaces and to create an effective link between public spaces and heritage architecture.
Thus, the project redesigned all of the public areas, optimally using all of the spaces belonging to the local administration, resulting in the enhancement of the visual and psychological comfort in the historical center, and a clear distribution of the uses of public space. This distribution will be implemented with the use of street furniture and different types of pavements which will mark off the uses of public space (roads, bike paths, pedestrian areas etc.)
As a result, the public space has been functionally divided into the main road system, occasional access alleys (with limited access), a bike lane system, several well defined public spaces, a pedestrian path system, and last but not least, a green space system. All of these various uses of public space have been designed in order to integrate different means of transportation within the city center without suffocating it, and also to encourage the use of the old center as a place for leisure activities.
Also, the public space system has been designed by taking into consideration all of the activities that take place in the city center. Thus for every public service building present in the area (city hall, police station, high-school etc.) we have designed an adjacent square or wide sidewalk that serve the high pedestrian flow which occurs at certain hours of the day or at local events.
An important element that generates pedestrian flow in a historic center is commerce. That is why the project has defined multiple areas next to the building fronts, where open air terraces or other commercial-related structures can be positioned. This types of installations lead to longer stays in the city center and economical growth of the area. In time the main effect will be the functional conversion, from a transition area crossed by many people but where no one stays for a long time, into an economically and socially active area.
An essential feature to consider in the design of contemporary public spaces is their ability to adapt to multiple activities and uses (concerts, exhibitions, fairs). Aiud's historical center was restructured, generating spaces that allow various activities to take place here.
In order to emphasize the historical center, with the Aiud Citadel as a main attraction, we needed to design the surrounding public spaces with a strong identity and with social impact, such as an amphitheater area for cultural events, with a wide open surrounding area for major events (city festivals, medieval festivals, fairs, street exhibitions), and an interactive and leisure square with water features and an information center. These two main public spaces alongside the Citadel are the first to be perceived by the tourists who travel on the main road.
The image of the Citadel, whether it is viewed from a car, from a bike or by a pedestrian, is directly linked to its surrounding space. That is why the project aimed to highlight the Citadel, either by juxtaposing it with green spaces (west and south), or by creating water features which reflect its walls or towers (north-east corner), or by using pavement textures to mark the entrances in the citadel.
An important part in creating quality public spaces in a historical center is played by the materials used in the implementation phase of the project. The use of partially recycled, quality construction materials, guarantees the durability of this project in time, with minimal maintenance works. Thus, most of the materials proposed are natural stone with various colors and textures, with a pleasant aesthetic impact.
Also, the plants and trees used for landscaping are essential in generating a refreshing ambiance and enhancing the values of the space. The landscaping was designed in order to promote historical values and create an optimal relationship between the natural and built environment.
All the proposals present in this project have taken into consideration the current state of the area, that is why, when redesigning the traffic layout system and public spaces, we have tried to enhance their connection to the existing built environment and also to the entire city. That is why most of the designs are pleasant, attractive and bold, but in a way that does not shift the interest from the main heritage values of the area. The project wishes to increase the multiple connections within the complex city center, but at the same focus the attention of the people towards the city's most valuable asset: The Aiud Citadel.
Project name/ Urban renewal of Aiud historical city center
project location/ Aiud city
project type/ competition, Technic project
size/ 15 ha
client/ Aiud city
offices/ Urban Synapse, Capitel Proiect
urb. Damian Alexandru Ioan
urb. Damian Laura
arh. Barbieri Marius
arh. Bucur Tiberiu
arh. Cheregi Mădălina
arh. Dragomir Amalia
drd. urb. peis. Opriș Ana
ing. Bodea Emil
Proiect nominalizat la Bienala Națională de Arhitectură București, 2012, ediția a 10-a,
Secțiunea Arhitectura spațiului public