Harborpolis Odessa 2012
Odessa is the most important port city at the Black Sea coast and has a great geopolitical importance as goods handling center at the intersection of Europe, the Caucasus and the Orient. With 1.2 million inhabitants, Odessa has a tremendous urban dynamic that is being reinforced by its „mediterranean character“ and the image that has been created by Sergej Eisenstein's classic film "Battleship Potemkin".
The content of the design programm „Harbourpolis Odessa“ was made up of three subjects, of which students could choose one: Two of them focusing on inner city locations at the port and next to a park. The projects were to focus on the relation between „town and water“ / „town and park“ by proposing a concept for a transformations and modernisation with the involvement of the genius loci. The third topic focus lay on the relation between „town and public space“. The place of intervention was free of choice.
The conceptual formulation of the project is an extension of Odessa to the North of the old town, in the harbor. For this goal, a pier currently used for container loading would have to be metamorphosed. The planning zone covers a surface of 11 ha and is totally separated from the rest of the city by railways, a transit highway and the difference in level.
The project dimensions and solutions are in imitation of the existing environment. The typical block size from the old town (130m x 130m) will be used on the pier and adapted to the characteristics of this strip of land in the sea. The heterogeneous program of living, working, shopping spaces and restaurants offers an ideal mix.
The shopping and office zone begins in the south and ends with a park and a museum – as attraction and landmark of the project – to the north. From the eastern shore to the western shore the height of the buildings and the density are increasing by 1 to 2 stories in the buildings used as shops and up to 4 to 5 stories for living and office buildings in the western part of the pier. With this strategy a direct view on the new yacht harbor and the cruise boat terminal as well as an efficient exposure to sun light from the south-east are guaranteed.
The pier is accessible with vehicles on the western shore road, leading directly into an underground parking area whereas the main boulevard and the eastern shore promenade are pedestrian zones.
Upgrading Odessa's harbour street
Odessa is situated on a plateau 30 metres above the city's harbour. There is barely a connection between these two levels. One of these is the Viis'kovyi street which cannot be considered a very lively public space. The different levels facing the street do not relate.
The aim of our design is to connect all levels and to upgrade the quality of public space. On the western terrain edge we develop a green strip where you can experience the rim itself, the city's life on different levels and feel the breeze coming from the Black Sea. By opening two blocks, we link our street to the surroundings and create differentiated public spaces - a city garden, a patio of arts, the levels' square and a sports area.
Through the shared space concept all different users are equal. The street now unites living, working, retail, handicraft and social issues and generates a vibrating public life.
Whereas parking restrictions became common in many cities, Odessa still seems untouched by such regulations. When walking through the historic city centre one has to go round parked vehicles everywhere. No matter if it is on the Sidewalk or in one of the atmospheric courtyards designed in the 18th century by the dutch engineer Franz de Volan. The Lada is omnipresent.
"Parkadia" raises the question of how to improve this situation. It uses the nearby harbour as a catalyst for the city, offering parking opportunities for Odessa, combined with a public transport system connecting the new harbour to the historic centre. The parking platform built on a former industrial site initiates further urban developments in this area like cultural institutions or new housing.