Beton Hala 2011 International Architectural Competition
Ja Architecture studio in collaboration with Vav Studio

Project Description

The Challenge- The unobtrusive and elegant modernist language of Beton Hala through the years has stood in a dialogue with the Belgrade fortress and the city skyline. How can a new building get engaged in this dialogue without introducing a new vocabulary or an icon? This has been the challenge of the project and in order to achieve that the project aims to be an extension to Beton Hala and not a new building.

The project- The architecture of the proposed New Waterfront Center is an extension of Beton Hala along a free path in space that starts from the last column of Beton Hala, extends over the tunnel, slithers at the roof level and finally ends by merging on to the Belgrade Fortress plateau.While Beton Hala’s form responds to the train tunnel, our proposed extension to Beton Hala would be a piece of infrastructure at a human level, an infrastructure that entertains a smaller and softer range of urban circulations and connectivity than that of a train tunnel.

Connectivity- The project connects the water front level to the plateau level by a linear building that at its base accommodates the program of the waterfront center and at its roof becomes a public promenade. The roof promenade will resolve the 30m sectional transition along a meandering and gradually elevating path that will provide unique views to the Sava River, Belgrade Fortress and the city skyline.  Multiple access nodes from the lower levels (commercial and exhibition spaces) to the roof level provides vibrancy and accessibility to the roof  promenade and multiple vaults on the lower levels connects the courtyards on the sides of the building and thus activate the ground with pedestrian, bicycle flow and soft urban functions i.e. restaurant patios and outdoor exhibitions .

Structure- The project takes the simple repetitive structural concept of Beton Hala and applies it to the new curvilinear footprint. Arraying the column along the perimeter of the building allows for maximum interior flexibility. The density of the columns varies proportionate to the building outline curvature.The sectional In addition to the perimeter column structures four concrete cores would resist the lateral forces i.e. seismic loads along providing vertical connection for the lower levels (Parking and the existing Beton Hala).

At the point where the visitor center overlaps with the roof of Beton Hala, the perimeter of the building is cantilevered (using the dense column spacing and the lateral support of the vertical core) to eliminate adding extra load to the existing Beton Hala structure on one hand and on the other to slightly raise the building at its most visible point.



Technical Sustainability – On the technical side sustainability is addressed by the following design strategies:

View of the pedestrian under passes

A-    Sustainable site development:
1-    Maintaining the existing operating elements of the site i.e. Gas station to reduce the extent of the site work and development.
2-    Minimizing the building footprint
3-    Minimizing the heat island Effect- Extending the white color of the Beton hala to the roof thus reducing the Heat island effect of the building.

Plan of the proposal at street level


Water efficiency:

Reducing the surface water runoff of the site is greatly reduced by using pavers with different degrees of permeability corresponding to the different areas of use.

View of the project’s intersection with Vojvod Bojovica boulevard and the escalator/ramp to the  historic Belgrade Fortress




East Elevation

West ElevationEnergy Efficiency:

The glass envelope of the building is recessed behind the perimeter structure to use the structure as the sun screen to both create bright interiors with minimum indoor lighting requirement on one hand and on the other to reduce the amount of energy consumption cause by the direct sunlight in the interiors.
Indoor Environmental quality:
The narrow designed footprint of the building would create natural light and ventilation without    the need for mechanical equipments.


Social Sustainability-
The proposal pursues social sustainability along creating sustainable urban connections between different nodes that have been disconnected by an array of urban transportation lines as well as height elevation differences. It seems that once the new Waterfront Center plays its connectivity role the sustainable benefits of the project go beyond the extent of the project outline.

Bird’s eye view of the Project
Credits: A Ja Architecture studio Work in collaboration with VAV Studio
Nima Javidi, Amin Tadj, Behnaz Assadi, Negar Javan


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