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Ana Šuman, Chief Urban Planner, Head of the Department of Urban and Spatial Planning, Partner, Bureau Cube Partners

The City Needs Green Rooftops

Bureau Cube Partners has been expanding its portfolio and list of locations year on year, contributing to the balanced development and urban transformation of Belgrade

Significant demographic expansion makes it necessary to create a high-quality planning solution for the areas covered by the planning document that will develop in the coming years,” emphasizes Ana Šuman, Head of the Department of Urban and Spatial Planning at Bureau Cube Partners.

You have amassed 15 years of existence and successful business, while your studio is renowned even beyond Serbia. Does your portfolio and rebranding for the anniversary reflect your achievements to date sufficiently?

— Satisfied clients, contributions to the city’s silhouette through original architecture, over a million square meters of designed space, over 250 designed buildings, adopted spatial and urban plans, as well as obtained location conditions and building permits for designed objects, suggest that we are on the right track.

We strive to push our boundaries through teamwork, high-quality collaborators, continuous professional development and by keeping pace with technological innovations. Accordingly, we aimed to use our portfolio to showcase most of the projects we’ve realised in the recent period. The rebranding happened spontaneously, but was perfectly timed ahead of the preparation of the portfolio and our anniversary.

The city has expanded noticeably in all directions in recent years, turning previously unattractive locations into significant urban points. Does this mean the city is finally developing more evenly?

— Due to significant demographic expansion across the territory of Belgrade in recent years, locations that hadn’t been properly utilised despite marking significant urban points in the city have since been activated or are in the process of activation. There is also evident expansion of the urban zone and transformation of peripheral areas.

Through the cumulative action of these urban processes, Belgrade is developing more evenly. A prerequisite for the development and expansion of the city and the transformation of urban and suburban areas is certainly the creation and adoption of planning documentation, as well as the future implementation of these plans through the construction of roads, public utilities infrastructure, and buildings for public, residential, business and commercial purposes.

Is the Blister residential/commercial complex one of the projects currently at the centre of your attention?

— The newly designed Blister residential/commercial complex is formed as a standalone structure consisting of four segments and three atriums. Elements of porosity and articulation create a characteristic form with balanced proportions of solid and void spaces, sequentially graded design elements and retained relations. The ground floor’s spatial openness contributes to its prominence and the upper floors’ rhythm of solid versus void optimises and lightens the structure, while the recessed floors add a subtle, unique and compact architectural concept.

Uneven heights and storeys in certain parts and “playful” facades improve the complex’s lighting, sunlight and ventilation, impacting quality of life directly. In addition to greenery at the ground level, the building itself is greened through the introduction of the element of a green roof. The rooftop represents a green oasis and contributes to the improvement of the complex’s ecological aspect.

Considering that Belgrade is a living organism that changes, how difficult is it to preserve all the existing ambience values while simultaneously satisfying modern architectural and urban demands?

— The fact that the city is a living organism that’s changing constantly brings numerous daily challenges in conceptualising planning solutions. Central city zones with rich historical heritage require special treatment. Preserving valuable buildings and environments is very important, but so is responding to modern demands for the city’s development and improvement from an architectural and urban aspect. Integrating new, modern buildings and parts of the city with rich heritage represents both a challenge and a responsibility. Looking at numerous examples from world metropolises, we see that one of their qualities is the successful integration of historical heritage and applied modern architectural and urban trends.

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