Urban Redevelopment of the Railway’s Industrial Landscape in Zagreb
Mr. sc. Biserka Dumbović Bilušić, dipl. ing. arh.
Ministarstvo kulture, Uprava za zaštitu kulturne baštine, Konzervatorski odjel, Zagreb, Hrvatska
The linear urban landscape along the route of the railway tracks as the bordering area between the city and the outlying districts has since the end of the 19th century remained like a “crack”- a bordering area within the urban area of Zagreb. In the urban development of European cities today there is a clear tendency to plan the bordering areas of cities as the new life scenes. More and more attention is devoted to places that are considered as borderline, and what were once edge zones and borders between the centre and the outlying districts, today loose that meaning and become attractive localities not only geographically but also conceptually.
The linear system of railway tracks through the city and the main railway station as well as the location of the engine house of the Hungarian State Railway were planned and roughly defined in the City of Zagreb Regulation from 1865. The same Regulation, with a communication system between the railway and the station, also predicted the construction of the Sava harbour in the south in Trnje, an outlying district for that time very far from the city centre. The construction of the Steam-Powered Flour Mill in 1862 next to the Trnjanska Street (the continuation of the Petrinjska Street) defined its future industrial development as it was the first industrial plant
in this area. The following City of Zagreb Regulation from 1888 clearly defined the matrix of the newly planned industrial area south from the railway tracks: it was to be formed as an orthogonal network of streets that were continuations of existing streets of Donji Grad: the prolonged Petrinjska Street and the Preradovićeva Street.
The railway station building was located on the south side of King Tomislav’s Square, and the big building complex of the engine house of the Hungarian State Railway was built in the area between the Baroševa Street (today Branimirova Street), the Trnjanska Street and the Strojarska Street, south from the railway tracks. Based on the designs made in Budapest in 1893, the main workshop buildings were built in less than a year: the big workshop for the equipment for locomotives and wagons, the turner’s workshop and the blacksmith workshop, the management building and many supporting buildings. For the workers’ needs only a few years later the first planned workers’ housing development in Zagreb was built in close vicinity, and
some years after that the City Gas Plant with its workers’ housing development as well as the oil factory were built east from the tracks.
With the city developing really fast and crossing over the railway tracks, these industrial plants become unacceptable within the central city area, and their relocations in the suburbs have been planned from mid 20th century. Factory halls are abandoned and buildings are not maintained properly, so today these industrial spaces along the railway tracks represent the peripheral part of the city.
Following the current tendencies in urban contextual design, which acknowledges the local and historical context by restoring historical buildings and combining them with new ones, the possibility for an urban redevelopment emerges even in the area connected to the railway tracks. The number of possible contents is considerable: a railway museum, a museum of architecture and many other public museums. In search of a new urbanity, the paradigm of urban redevelopment of these areas with the preservation of historically valuable industrial buildings is set as a contrariety to the corporative urban landscape.