Plovdiv Central Square has the potential to become the most visited civic destination of the city and even more one of the most famous European Squares. However, at present the Square appears to be of poor identity, not well connected to the city, with no distinct access points, with neglected, fragmented archeological spaces, lack of vegetation and vast hard pavement and parking surfaces, disorienting and confusing users and visitors as they move across or between the different levels.
Our proposal wishes to transform the existing situation to a new civic destination, a contemporary forum, through a strategy consisting of six main operations:
1) Integrate the site to the city’s fabric by connecting it with the surrounding neighborhoods, the market at Glavnata, the Old City, the Tsar Simeon’s Garden and the university area,
2) Create a series of distinct landscape types that can be occupied throughout the day and year, offering a wide spectrum of events and activities that can change and adapt according to the users’ needs,
3) Provide a distinct circulation system for pedestrians throughout the square and between the three levels, parking space and promote the use of bicycle. This consists of a new patterned pavement on the contemporary city level that allows and directs flows of movement, a network of wooden paths and ramps on the cardo decumanus grid system that allows visiting the archeological sites at different levels, and a system of vertical connections consisted of staircases and elevators and ramps that allow connectivity between the different levels. 4) Create a new Cultural Icon, an elevated structure that will offer a fourth dimension, a new perspective, and large, extensive views to the site, while accommodating an outdoor exhibition space and an info point, 5) Provide contemporary urban furnishing for sitting, lighting, water features and movable temporary merchant structures.
These operations function at different scales, however when considered altogether they create a complete strategy for re-shaping the Square.
The result is a new, contemporary public space for residents and visitors that integrates the city’s cultural and environmental qualities to every day life.
Image & Text Credit | Panagiota Mouratidou, Vasiliki Tsiouma