Slatina Square shows that architecture is about life, about the people who interact with a place. The square itself appears alive and changing. With an interactive and flexible design, it allows people to walk, jump, sit, shop, to be creative, and pick their own lifestyle.
Lynn Ni Mhathuna
Site area: 6,820 sqm
Location: Opatija, Croatia
Client: Opatija city council, Department of city planning
International competition, second prize
The project is located in Opatija, a small, charming town in western Croatia. Peculiarly, the city develops on a sharp slope that barely allows flat, large areas for public use. An exception in the city centre, Slatina Square is a generous space previously undervalued for its use as a parking area and a bus station.
Squares in urban areas have an important role in the community. They are places for residents to congregate, interact, trade and socialize. Hence, two important decisions were taken in order to re-evaluate Slatina Square: a new underground parking area was built, and the bus terminal was moved to the outskirts, close to a new traffic hub. Now the location is meant to become a public open space, with a strong multifunctional character.
The plaza characteristically hosts several, circular pieces of urban furniture, arranged in an irregular, changeable layout. Tables, seats and market stalls can be pulled out of the pavement, while waterfalls and gardens follow the same language surrounded by flexible light poles. As the square’s internal disposition can be easily reshaped, the area is ideal for a great variety of situations (street market, live performances, park, resting area, etc), allowing the neighbourhood to wear a new, different soul for every occasion.
These urban elements provide a flexible opportunity for people to interact at an intimate level, “dressing” and arranging the square with a different appearance according to the users’ needs. The plaza is shown as an impulse to create an exciting dynamic space where contact, conversation and transactions are encouraged between people and the cityscape. It is a continual transformation that everyone can participate in.