Model of architecture and urban design, historic center, Constanta, Romania

The Circular Piazza

This project proposes urban redevelopment of the underutilized ancient piazza zone, in the historically and ethnically diverse port city of Constanta, on the Black Sea, Romania.
The design is based on deep historical research and an artistic analysis of the existing landscape, which looks at the city/architecture through the lens of perception and human experience (ref. Kevin Lynch The Image of the City and Steen Eiler Rasmussen Experiencing Architecture).
The project proposes to develop urban design and architecture:

Urban Design & Architecture

Piazza Ovidiu+, Constanta, Romania

For

MIT MArch Thesis

DOWNLOAD

Thesis Book
(206 pages, written and assembled in 3 weeks! to rather strict/old “institute” design guidelines)

PUBLICATIONS

  • + “The ‘Circular’ Piazza: Landscape and History as Architectural Material: Constanta, Romania”, Thesis (M.Arch.), M.I.T., Dept. of Architecture, 2001.

 

  • + “The ‘Circular’ Piazza: Landscape and History as Architectural Material: Constanta, Romania”, in 49 Projects at M.I.T.: Thesis Works 2001-2002. Luke Yeung, ed. M.I.T., Dept. of Architecture, 2002.
Map/plan of Constanta, Romania showing size of ancient city vs modern city
Ancient vs Modern City
Model of historic area of Constanta, Romania
Perceptual Model of Historic Zone, Highlighting Landmarks (orange = ruins)
This project proposes urban redevelopment of the underutilized ancient piazza zone, in the historically and ethnically diverse port city of Constanta, on the Black Sea, Romania.
Historic ethnic and settlement maps of Dobrogea, Romania
Historic Ethnic Maps of Dobrogea Province
Map/plan of ancient remains - walls and aqueducts - historic city/downtown Constanta, Romania
Map Showing Ancient Walls/Ruins (red) & Aqueducts (blue)
Aerial postcards of historic downtown Constanta, Romania
Urban Mix: Churches, a Historic Hotel, Ancient Ruins, a Prominent Mosque, Vacant Lots, a History Museum, Houses, & Apartment Buildings
Timeline of invasions and empires, Dobrogea, Romania
Area Timeline (part) Showing Invasions (red), Empires, & Settlements
Photo collage: classical window, roman relics, wood boat, Constanta, Romania
Research revealed that the cultural and architectural history of the city are very complex, having been subjected to invasions and take-overs by very many different peoples over thousands of years.
The way that buildings were reappropriated, demolished, rebuilt, and changed use during this back and forth effort was used in the design criteria of the new architecture, as, for example, proposing to cut directly into the 1950s communist-era apartment buildings.
The design is based on deep historical research and an artistic analysis of the existing landscape, which looks at the city/architecture through the lens of perception and human experience (ref. Kevin Lynch The Image of the City and Steen Eiler Rasmussen Experiencing Architecture).
Plan of existing architecture and urban design, historic center, Constanta, Romania
Model of existing architecture and urban design, historic center, Constanta, Romania
Existing Piazza Zone: Occupied by Cars (blue), Disconnected
Pregnant piazza concept drawing, architecture and urban design, historic center, Constanta, Romania
Plan for architecture and urban design, historic center, Constanta, Romania
Proposed Piazza Zone: Occupied by Pedestrians (yellow, including underground), Connected
Model of architecture and urban design, historic center, Constanta, Romania
“It’s as if I reach into my pocket and pull out all the various things, and lay them about... It fits the place. [Small moves are contextual.] Good. It [also] says that fun is something to be taken seriously, and that’s important. This is important.” -Jon Jerde, 9/2005
The project proposes to develop urban design and architecture:
Axonometric hand drawing, sarcophagus discotheque design, historic center, Constanta, Romania
Collage: photo and hand sketch, sarcophagus discotheque design, historic center, Constanta, Romania
Sarcophagus Discotheque
(ancient sarcophagi are placed underground for preservation + authentic experience; the space becomes a discotheque at night to enliven the space)
Model, architecture and urban design, historic center, Constanta, Romania
Model, architecture and urban design, historic center, Constanta, Romania
Maps showing history of invasions, Dobrogea, Romania
History of Invasions (mostly from N/NE)
Maps showing history of settlements and empires, Dorogea, Romania
History of Settlements & Empires (mostly from S)
Panoramic view of central piazza from mosque minaret, historic center, Constanta, Romania
Model, architecture and urban design, historic center, Constanta, Romania
Market Mosaic
(a glass sheet is placed over the ancient mosaic, for preservation, and the ancient market comes to use/life again)
Roman mosaic proposal, architecture and urban design, historic center, Constanta, Romania
One of the big ideas the project proposes is to intersect historic relics with everyday life, so that they are experienced as intended, and without the hindrance of having to enter a special activity/museum.
Research revealed that the cultural and architectural history of the city are very complex, having been subjected to invasions and take-overs by very many different peoples over thousands of years.
The way that buildings were reappropriated, demolished, rebuilt, and changed use during this back and forth effort was used in the design criteria of the new architecture, as, for example, proposing to cut directly into the 1950s communist-era apartment buildings.
Map describing neighborhood characteristics, Constanta, Romania
Map of Neighborhood Formal Characteristics
Urban zoning map showing building use, Constanta, Romania
Urban Zoning Map
Collage: rose library/show hall model, CAD drawing and sketch, historic center, Constanta, Romania
Model, architecture and urban design, historic center, Constanta, Romania
The Rose
(new piazza focal building, facing the touristic harbor; dual/contrasting use: library in wings, show hall at night in center)
Panoramic view of touristic harbor, historic center, Constanta, Romania
Model, cliffside projecting restaurant, historic center, Constanta, Romania
Sketch, cliffside projecting restaurant, historic center, Constanta, Romania
The Drawer
(underground cinema, with restaurant opening up toward the touristic harbor)
As many of the historic relics are deep underground, the project weaves the pedestrian experience up, down, and out through the (under)ground plane.
“It’s as if I reach into my pocket and pull out all the various things, and lay them about... It fits the place. [Small moves are contextual.] Good. It [also] says that fun is something to be taken seriously, and that’s important. This is important.” -Jon Jerde, 9/2005
Collage of historic painting, sculptures, and current photographs describing Constanta, Romania and its environs
Model, architecture and urban design, historic center, Constanta, Romania
Bronze sculpture of the Roman poet Ovid who was exiled here, historic center, Constanta, Romania
Ovid Statue Moves from Center to Piazza Entrance
Model, architecture and urban design, historic center, Constanta, Romania
Mid 19th C./Ottoman period synagogue, historic center, Constanta, Romania
Building Is Cut to Reconnect Historic Synagogue to Piazza
Casa cu Lei historic building, historic center, Constanta, Romania
Model, architecture and urban design, historic center, Constanta, Romani
Building Is Cut to Reconnect Historic Building to Piazza
At larger scale, the different design pieces begin to come to life: the Breathing Rocks become an amphitheater, the Heart (where the ancient aqueducts intersected) develops into an underground museum visibly beating from above, the Walking Parking starts to tell history’s tale, and, at the entry, the Screaming Trees open their narrating voice.
At larger scale, the different design pieces begin to come to life: the Breathing Rocks become an amphitheater, the Heart (where the ancient aqueducts intersected) develops into an underground museum visibly beating from above, the Walking Parking starts to tell history’s tale, and, at the entry, the Screaming Trees open their a narrating voice.
Open model showing things in piazza underground, architecture and urban design, historic center, Constanta, Romania
Collage of ancient amphitheater, model of underground aqueducts, and model of walking parking, architecture and urban design, historic center, Constanta, Romania

Work/Credits

Design, Drawings, Models, & Photos: Ioana Urma. Thesis advisor: Hasan-Uddin Khan. Thesis readers: Mark Jarzombek & Shun Kanda. For historic maps, paintings, and postcard credits refer to PDF.