URBAN ECOSYSTEMS recognizes Badel Block’s potential to engage with and nourish¬¬ its social, physical, and economic context. The story of Badel has evolved from that of a highly active yet self-serving piece of Zagreb’s whole, to an inclusive and largely detached fragment of the urban mosaic. The site now finds itself largely in a state of suspended being, undefined and inaccessible to the body of the city, yet rich with potential as a meaningful and reinvigorated part of the whole. On the speculative side of this proposal, and with an understanding of Zagreb’s city fabric, a set of individually defined urban ecosystems has emerged to address the void left in the wake of large industry. These three ecosystems form the basis of our urban and architectural ambitions, and emerge from the site-specificity which characterizes our approach. As a response to its context, building mass is influenced by adjacent heights, while means of cutting through this mass have been guided by existing points of pedestrian interaction. Connectivity into and throughout the site works at both micro and macro scales. The more immediate context presents elements (squares, markets, parks, and streets) to which a strong street-level connection is established. A dense residential fabric provides the critical mass: living communities waiting to connect back to Badel. At the heart of this regeneration is the familiar Yeast Factory, reimagined as a place of experimental artistic and spiritual pursuit. But in its current form, devoid of industrial activity, the site presents a collection of evocative yet lifeless fragments. It is through the absorption of Badel into its surroundings that these remnants will find their place in the living memory of the city.
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