The Ring on Škroupa's Square | Česká Lípa | Czech Republic
Special Prize in architecture competition | 2020
Marek Vilášek & Jiří Vala
The former appearance of Škroupa's Square now lies long forgotten, buried under the layers of asphalt mosaic. The Ring encircles Škroupa's Square and returns the lost identity to it. The soft curve is derived from all axes and angles of the surrounding facades and creates an imaginary active boundary on which the urban parterre and the inner space - the backyard of the city - interact. Space is interwoven with a golden thread of metal accents forming the roofing of the podium, a water fountain in the urban oasis and highlighting the connection between Škroupa's and Masaryk's Square.
Our proposal seeks to unite the square and return it to the common order. Unlike TGM Square, the morphological arrangement of the facades of Škroupa's Square gives the space an intimate and firm character. Our articulation enhances this character and creates a cosy and pleasant space nestled in the arms of the surrounding houses. Our design creates a clear division: the free and utilitarian space of the parterre of the houses and the strip-separated inner space of the square. The geometric curve in the pavement, the “Ring”, consisting of a meter-wide basaltic belt not only visually softens and unifies all the edges of the square but also marks the pedestrian area and space for a wide range of urban activities.
Due to the immediate proximity of two squares, Škroupa's Square and Masaryk's Square, we decided to offer a solution that represents both the function of an open space of urban character and the function of an urban oasis of peace and a place of rest. The brass strip in the pavement, which accentuates the passage to the TGM Square, also divides the two zones within the Ring, forming a harmonious whole. The urban district, which offers ample space for operating markets and other events, is located at the lowest part of the Ring. Our design brings back the human scale to the square and pedestrians reclaim their priority. There is the active involvement of the parterre on all sides, including Prokop Holý Street and the square once regains its complete impression.