Central Public Space

Competition: Reorganize and design the central public space from the city of Râmnicu Vâlcea

Special Mention

Team: Alex Axinte, Cristi Borcan, Radu Leşevschi (studioBASAR); Irina Meliţă, Ştefan Simion (POSTER)
Collaborators: Diana Culescu (peisagistică); Nicolae Petrencu
Râmnicu Vâlcea, Romania


From small town to postindustrial city

Râmnicu Vâlcea could be The X small town from Caragiale’s stories: a provincial and patriarchal small town. The scientific communism interfered in this straight environment and modernized the small town transforming it in the city-capital of the County Y. In the last 20 years, the industrial and economic status of the area attracted investments and transformations intended in particular to commerce, consumption and services, the town entering in a period of post-industrial development. The public space is a territory accessible rather through consumption and payment, only the parks being places of social or communitarian interaction. But all o these changes of historical paradigms didn’t compromise totally the urban life: the interventions from the 70’s and 80’s followed in some parts the old urban tissue, some of the old urban functional patterns survived and have been completed by new ones, and the new commercial and individual initiatives after 1989 have created some new urban marks that irrigated natural urban paths.


The contemporary designing of the public space is quasi exclusivist and excessive, being addressed to the consumer-citizen that falls into the commercial trap, or to the voter-citizen that likes a beautiful salad-like design done by the local administration with its aesthetic delirium strategy. What is the alternative? What else can the public space perform for the citizens? And how a change can be made by revising the instrument of top-down project?

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A strategic urbanism should learn from the existing urban condition and fill in the planning process with the emergent potential of the place. We propose a dynamic master plan with stepped interventions that are elastically structured: 1. testing, 2. accumulation and 3. consolidation. The interventions are tools that intensify the existing situations and induce the diversified usage of public space, apart from commerce, consumption or walks.

Thus, the interventions are not only concerned with form, material or structure, but they act like emergency public equipments that generate support for different free uses, they are less discriminatory and more flexible and they favor social and cultural activities without excluding the informal commerce or the walk at a slow pace, as old public rituals.

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Like a medical treatment, we apply a dose of urban acupuncture, activating a series of points on the sensitive map of the city.

The Grand Crossing


Phase 1 - Temporary Event: paint diangonal crossing/ 3 phases street light (green for pedestrians on the diagonal)


Phase 2 - Design Proposal: raising the intersection level/ painting the intersection / metallic pillars / 3 phases street light (green for pedestrians on both the diagonals)


The Rondo


Phase 1 - Temporary Event: marking the circular area (event asphalt drawings) / moving the small wooden houses.


Phase 2 - Design Proposal: cubic stone pavement / floor lighting / seating places.


Book Street


Phase 1 - Temporary Event: closing the street (until the church) / moving the wooden houses from the square / moving benches from the park / moving the trees in the pots.

7strada-cartilor-f11Phase 2 - Design Proposal: replacing the pavements (clearing the sidewalk-street boundary) / planting trees (in the middle of the street) / lighting posts / kiosks for books / seating places.



Phase 1 - Temporary Event: organizing seasonal fairs (weekends), with litle cahnges (holes in the ground where metalic pillars can be mounted).

13platforma-f1Phase 2a - Design Proposal: organizing seasonal fairs / replacing the pavement from asphalt to coblestone and keeping the geometric layout that alows the placing of metalic pillars / replacing the bus station / replacing the lighting posts / keeping a taxi lane.

13platforma-f2aPhase 2b - Design Proposal: when not used as fair - a public parking.


Interior Courtyard


Phase 1 - Temporary Event: comunity gardens (on the teraces above the garages) / informal games / grape wine canopy.

14curtea-blocului-f1Phase 2 - Design Proposal: tree planting / bench / small insertions in the floor.