Topos 91 – Urban Projects Squares and Promenades

Urban Projects: Squares and Promenades have been part of the repertoire of urban development since the very beginning of planned settlements. They continue to fulfil important functions in cities and urban agglomerations. They are indispensable for a properly functioning day-to-day life, and even in this time of virtual reality a significant part of public life continues to occur outdoors. This issue of Topos presents successful urban projects, both in the dense, historical context as well as on the periphery, where they can be a nucleus for public life. The journey begins in European cities such as Rotterdam, Vienna and Paris before heading to Chongqing in China, the periphery of Melbourne in Australia and finally to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.

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A selection of articles from Topos 91:



Topos 91-Berkers
Rotterdam Central Station is a complex hub for metro, cars, trams, trains, bicycles and pedestrians. The iconic roof integrates the metro entrances in the building so that travellers are able to transfer conveniently from the train to the underground. The clock and letters that form the word “Centraal Station” are elements from the old building that were integrated in the new station.


Marieke Berkers
Accommodating Chaos
The new Rotterdam Central Station could be considered the latest addition to the city’s squares. To meet the complexities of the site, the team of architects and landscape architects developed a design that conceives of the station as an open space rather than a building. A continuous band of pavement runs through the entire structure connecting the new station with the city.



Topos 91-Le Goffic
The large, oval-shaped playing area forms the centre of Israels Plads. Extending into the Ørstedsparken, the square reaches out to this historical green space. The connection is reaffirmed by several trees that have “wandered” onto the square.


Virginie Corinne Le Goffic
Israels Plads, Between Park and Market
Located between Nørreport Station, Ørstedsparken and the new market halls, the newly redesigned Israels Plads brings vibrancy to the heart of Copenhagen. Today, the multifunctional space bustles with people of all ages.



Topos 91-Lee
The square is a place of colour and light, for moving through on the way to somewhere else or for gathering to access the centre’s facilities and for commemoration and playing about.


Jean-Philippe Hugron
Upon the Abandoned Beach
An abandoned surfing spot in the heart of the French agglomeration Bayonne-Anglet-Biarritz has been redeveloped into a promenade. The conurbation, limited by rocky outcrops and a steep change in grade, has had some difficulty in stretching itself all the way to the ocean side in the past. Now, a sensible and ecologically sound design ties the beach site to the town.



Topos 91-Hugron
The designers created exceptional topography between the belvedere and the lower-lying beach. ­Robust materials have to withstand the often capricious ocean and the worst of storms. An undulating, playful boardwalk recalls the area’s surf culture.


Gini Lee
A New Civic Fabric for ­an Older Place
The new Dandenong Civic Square in Melbourne’s southeastern suburbs is a place of attraction and activity as much as repose and gathering. The design reflects the cultural diversity of this Australian satellite city. Saudi capital is the envisioning of an icon and a public space for the city.