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Conversion of an old silo into a multifunctional recreational complex at Constanta Harbour (on Black Sea Shore)

Part 2 Project 2002
Irina Bancescu
Misako Mitchell
Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism, Romania
The project’s site is the Old Port North in Constanta Harbour, area that along with the peninsula constitute the ancient core of both city and port. This zone is in a visible physical, economic and social decay and it is also isolated from the active city. In accordance with the new port master plan, the whole historic industrial site will be rehabilitated in the benefit of the city, given the high commercial and leisure potential of the redundant buildings.

The project aims to establish a major landmark not only with visual impact, but also with a economic and social one. The adaptive reuse scheme tries to create flexible multifunctional spaces with urban features that have prime leisure destination. The approach to transforming the derelict silo stresses contrast, both for the internal and external spaces. New and old overlap, mediate and confront each other, the relationship between the two being regarded as vital. The new external image is based on the difference between the monumental brick facades and the semitransparent light final level which provides natural light and fine sea views.
This “city within a city” focuses on the inside-out public space which aims to be a popular venue for all kind of social gatherings (the opened and covered atriums, the pedestrian way towards the sea, the terrace etc.), trying to make architecture a series of events and processes rather than an accumulation of objects and products.

Irina Bancescu
Misako Mitchell


This project obviously contains a careful analysis of the problems of the context extended to the level of the city and a solution that shows a great concern for the urban space and the life it involves; it also celebrates diversity, recognizing the value of old and new and, most of all, the necessity of a dialogue between them. The arguments for the conversion are functional, financial, of urban development and preservation of the patrimony at the same time.
At the urban level the new building would be absorbed by the existing, given the fact that the proposed functions correspond to a port city with a great flow of tourists; it would also mean a boost for the old peninsula. The conversion aims to maintain the qualities of the old silo while infusing it with elements that are entirely new and innovative; given the fact that the silo is a monument of architecture, the solution brings it to life, not prejudicing its initial image, but emphasizing it. The approach stresses the dichotomy new-old and studies the vital relationship between the two.
The focus of the new complex is an open-summer plaza which is diluted into many other public multifunctional spaces; it is reached through a pedestrian way with a commercial gallery and portico which connect land and sea; the access is also lateral through a external portico. All this constitute themselves in a spectacular in-between public space, offering a great variety and flexibility of spaces in the spirit of the contemporary urban life characterized by individuality, uncertainty, chance and diversity, but restricted by the baggage of memory and experience.

2002
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