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MagazineAuthors of VYDRICA5 MIN

Vydrica wants to keep surprising people with new experiences

Situated below Bratislava Castle, Vydrica is a unique place in many ways. It seeks to rediscover and restore an original city quarter while bringing in modern urban life. The Vydrica project is a place where the past and the future of the city meet with the promenade on the banks of the Danube. A cultural and artistic strategy for the new Vydrica has been prepared by experts so the historical legacy of the place is in harmony with a brand-new vision. We talked about this strategy with Richard Kráľovič, a design manager at Lucron, who was involved in its development.


How did the idea of an overall artistic and cultural strategy for Vydrica come about? 

We had this idea for a long time. It’s the result of our cooperation as investors with urban designers from Marko&Placemakers and graphic designer and architect Barbora Šajagalíková as professional consultants. It’s an open and  evolving process that defines all the components and elements of making culture a central part of the image and character of this place. The area is being developed together with all stakeholders, including local authorities and the public. It doesn’t stop at the borders of Vydrica, however; it has an impact on the whole community and the entire city. The initial design and creative process took into account that we are in one of the most visible parts of the city and that the requirements of the new neighbourhood extend beyond the usual idea of real estate development, which in most cases is based on architectural and urbanistic solutions. We knew that the diversity of content and functions should be complemented by a cultural and community component. For Vydrica, it is not just an extra layer, but rather a central content feature.


Can you tell us about the philosophy behind the strategy? What are its key ideas?

The key idea is to reconnect Vydrica with the historical centre of Bratislava. The new neighbourhood is emerging from a strong historical legacy. Everyone understands that integrating the new development won’t be easy, and that a cultural and community programme with an outreach beyond the limits of Vydrica is a way of actively encouraging public acceptance and making the new urban environment part of the city’s ecosystem. Conveying the historical message of a multicultural and open neighbourhood will be an important theme of the programme. The vibrant and colourful character of the area under the castle hill will be restored in a natural balance with the existing historical context. Another important aspect is our belief that public spaces are the best and most effective venues for exhibitions, as an open-air gallery.


In terms of infrastructure, the strategy has five parts:

The comprehensive cultural and artistic strategy includes a design manual for navigation signs and features of Vydrica, designed by graphic designer and architect Barbora Šajgalíková.


How will the new neighbourhood communicate its past?

The new neighbourhood is being developed in a sensitive area: many locals have not yet come to terms with the demolition and redevelopment of this area in the past century. Vydrica will openly embrace its past and communicate it in a transparent way, not only by displaying its historical footprint, but also through information panels on its culture, art and history, and in the architecture and design of public spaces. The future Kempelen Park will commemorate prominent figures closely associated with Vydrica, such as Wolfgang von Kempelen with contemporary interpretations of their works.


A number of significant historical objects have been preserved in Vydrica. How will they fit into the overall strategy?

We have carefully reconstructed a number of historical artefacts that have survived at least in fragments; whether it’s the buildings of the arsenal, ice pits, relicts of the load-bearing walls, or the outlet of Kempelen’s aqueduct. They will all be publicly accessible. Another way of communicating the past is retelling – the symbolic commemoration of important people, customs and the original authentic language of this neighbourhood. Here we are working with a layer that does not currently exist, which we will symbolically memorialise by a storytelling line integrated into the pavement on Floriánska street


What will make Vydrica visually different, unique and unrepeatable? What story do you wish to tell its residents and visitors? 

In its scale, dimensions of streets and size of buildings, the structure is very similar to that of the nearby city centre, which makes Vydrica radically distinct from other urban interventions that have taken place in Bratislava in recent years. The work of architects in designing individual houses in new Vydrica, the use of high-quality materials in buildings and public spaces, and the attention to details in every “corner” of Vydrica will show that we have chosen the right path. The comprehensive cultural and artistic strategy also includes a detailed design manual for navigation signs and features, and for the branding of Vydrica stores and establishments, designed by Barbora Šajgalíková. Our vision for the new Vydrica is that it will always surprise and enrich its residents and visitors with new and extraordinary experiences.



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