Development program for the University Square – 14.000 EURO for an Inspired Architect

Completion of the underground parking in the University Square (Bucharest) comes with certain reasons for worry at the City Hall, mainly for just not knowing yet what should/will be built above. “A pedestrian area …”, as by the municipality officials at the start of the project.

But now, architects in the EU are asked for help, by launching a contest called “Development program for the above ground area of the University Parking”. Registration is open until October 26th this year and the best solution presented will be granted 14.000 EURO.

The project placed second will receive 10.500 EURO and the one placed third will receive 8000 EURO. Three honorable mentions will be each awarded with 4500 EUR. The jury to nominate the winning projects reunites prominent European architects: : Luigi Snozzi from Switzerland, Luis F. P. Conceição, representing Portugal, Angelo Rovenţa from Austria, as well as Romanians Nicolae Lascu, Zeno Bogdănescu, Eugen Pănescu and the chief architect of Bucharest, Gheorghe Pătraşcu.

The attending projects will be reunited in an exhibition, open for the public downtown Bucharest, in November. While the municipality covers the awards and design costs, the co-organizer, the Order of Architects in Romania, takes charge of funding the contest organization.

Another sponsor of the event is Wienerberger Romania, producers of bricks. The most advantage full solution for re-developing the University Square is a public-private partnership, considering that the municipality does not have the funds necessary for organizing all phases of the project.

1000 EURO, sign up deposit

Architects who will consider turning the pile of earth into a recreational area for pedestrians must take into account that the area in question is protected. As such, accession will be granted only for buildings that: by architecture do not alter in any way the outside of protected buildings, do not hinder in anyway the neighborhoods and do not involve construction of other parking spaces at the surface.

Also not to be overlooked is connecting any possible constructions to public networks or water collection. Since the project refers to a square, vegetation plays an important role for any of the submitted projects. High and medium high vegetation is preferable, to ensure a good microclimate during the hot Bucharest summers. Trees shall be plated in concrete boxes and their emplacement is left to the architects.

Moreover, contest rules state that vacant or undeveloped areas will be covered by grass and a tree should be plated every less then 100 sqm.
Competitors should pay 1000 EUR, as a sign up and participation deposit. In fact this amount is a guarantee offered by competitors to the organizers that there will not be any misconduct during the contest and throughout signing the public procurement contract.

The money will be returned to the winning contestant three days after sign up of the contract while the rest of the participants will be refunded after the winner was awarded.

English presentation

The ones wishing to enroll are required to submit three drawings of the following: location map with neighborhoods, development plan of the study area, mentioning construction materials, alleys, vegetation, environment images and an image of the night illumination. The plan should not leave out access ramps to the underground parking, access to the first parking level and tree planting in the area of underground parking. Urban furniture (benches, stations, trash cans) with detailed description shall also be comprised in the project submitted for the contest.

In addition to the graphics, the presentation text will be attached, on two A4 pages integrated to the graphic section. Compulsory language for the presentation is English, Romanian is only optional. Beyond these coordinates competitors may attach any contribution they should consider would help them win.

Projects rejected for too much customization

A project may be rejected for several reasons. First, if registration is overdue, or there is no documentary evidence to prove that the sign up deposit was paid. Also, the jury may eliminate a project when found that the rules of anonymity were not respected: entry of the participant’s data in a secure envelope or missing to inscribe the secure code on drawings or the secure envelope.

The secure code/identification symbol is given by the Secretariat by assigning randomly a set of two or three digits. Too customized presentations that could place the participants out of anonymity are to be avoided.

Unprotected archaeological area

The University Square is a protected area not only in terms of the monument buildings nearby but also because of the archaeological site discovered during excavations for the underground parking. 40 human skeletons, wall structures and water pipes dating two centuries ago were brought to light during excavations.

What the archaeologists are certainly aware of is that under what we know today as the University Square, in old days there was the Royal Academy of the “St. Sava” Monastery. The new findings seemed to jeopardize the construction process of the underground parking and will be, for sure, a challenge for the architects considering enrolling in the contest.

Raluca Borceanu – Translated by Ioana Giurgiuman