Portfolio Bojan Balen 2017

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bojan balen


Bojan Balen


Place of birth:

Rijeka, Croatia

Date of birth:

10th of February 1984


University Graduate Engineer of Landscape Architecture, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia (2008)

Master of Science (MSc) - Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning, Wageningen University and Research Center, the Netherlands (2010)


NL Urban Solutions (The Hague, Netherlands),

Feb. 2014 - present

a24 landschaft (Berlin, Germany),

Feb. 2013 - Aug. 2013

Paratelier (Lisbon, Portugal),

Jan. 2011 - Apr. 2012

API Arhitekti (Ljubljana, Slovenia),

Jul. 2008 - Sep. 2008

Studio of Urbanism Rijek (Rijeka, Croatia),

May 2006 - Aug. 2006

2015 @ NL Urban Solutions, The Hague YELLOW RIVER LANDSCAPE PARK QUNKE, CHINA KEYWORDS /// Yellow river, water, terraced landscape, new town

The project, located on the banks of upper reaches of Yellow river in Qinghai province, is set to be the major landscape park for the future city, and the major landscape attraction for touristic development which is integrated within the park itself. Design takes the advantage of the existing landscape, characterized by terraced land, formerly used for growing crops, and three valleys extending towards the river. Spectacular views to Yellow river and the mountains are the central focus of space organization and distribution of activities. VIEW ON YELLOW RIVER

The central valley, where the main entrance square framed by two commercial centers is located, is the main landscape element connecting the city with the Yellow river. Cascading water guides the visitor from the entrance square to the 30 meter lower riverfront. Design of other valleys is based on their former use and dominant landscape features (agriculture and water), and are connected with central valley by linear riverfront boulevard, where the visitors can not only see but also touch the Yellow river.

2015 @ NL Urban Solutions, The Hague LANDSCAPE CONCEPT DESIGN FOR RIVER PARK DUOBA, CHINA KEYWORDS /// river park, ecology, flooding, urbanisation, recreation

The project is located in upstream reaches of Huangshui River, a major tributary river of Yellow River, on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau. Total area of 330 hectares of park is situated along the river in the city of Duoba which intends to expand from 150 000 to more than 300 000 people by 2025, and become the “sister city” of province capital Xining which lays only few kilometers downstream. Specific geographic location and altitude of over 2000 meters, makes this location unique in many ways. The main challenge of the project was to shift the current view of the local population towards the river as something to protect from, to something to live with. Traditionally, rivers in China are treated as a dumping place for garbage, or dangerous force which can even destroy lives. Because of this, people turn back to the river, and build walls around it to protect themselves. However, negative ecological and social consequences are now forcing them to consider alternatives. Based on Dutch experience in dealing with rivers and floods, NLUS introduced the approach “Room for the River” as the basis for the conceptual design. This meant giving space for the river in the times of high peaks, or in other words, reconnecting the river with its natural floodplain, instead of isolating it by building concrete walls on its banks as it has been done until now. This is essential for ecological stability and sustainability of the area. It also provides long term safety and flexibility to adapt to future climate change and even more extreme weather events.

In depth analysis were made on various aspects such as existing green areas, water systems and historical water courses, historical, existing and future urban development, existing and planned infrastructure, ecological needs and potentials, etc., The outcome was a concept design of ecologically viable river landscape, attractive park space for residents and visitors, and a safe floodplain able to accommodate all the flooding water in time of heavy rains.


2015 @ NL Urban Solutions, The Hague DUOBA CENTRAL PARK LANDSCAPE DESIGN DUOBA, CHINA KEYWORDS /// central park, lake, culture, urban public space, bridge

The design for Duoba Central Park is developed as the followup of River Park Concept Masterplan. The site is located in the transition zone of Loess Plateau and Tibetan Plateau where the climate is cold and dry, and elevation is above 2000meters. The central park, 32.5 hectares in size, is located in the new city center, on the junction of HuangShui river and its branch river. SWOT analysis were made in order to drive the design process towards optimal development for this area. Detecting Strengths (e.g. abundance of water), Weaknesses (e.g. fragmentation of the location due to infrastructure.), Opportunities (e.g. central location), and Threats (e.g. harsh climate conditions) were all crucial for reaching the goal of creating an attractive urban park which is socially, economically and ecologically viable. Starting with exploring and expressing the genius loci, the site is designed considering its original natural characters and qualities, surrounding land use and future potentials. As the central park is bordering business, cultural and commercial districts, suitable spaces for cultural events and intensive use are provided. For nearby residential areas, various playgrounds and natural leisure space are planned. In addition , several new lakes and wetlands are created inside the park as the main attractions. The structural organization of the park is integrated with surrounding urban fabric and is providing diverse programs and facilities, such as central square, tourism center, riverfront boulevard, gardens, amphitheater etc.

2014 @ NL Urban Solutions, The Hague CONCEPT MASTERPLAN FOR HUANGSHUI RIVER BASIN, QINGHAI PROVINCE, CHINA KEYWORDS /// river ecology, flooding, soil erosion, urbanization, research

The project is located in Qinghai province in North-West China, and it aims to formulate an “innovative” direction and methodology for the ecological urban development along the 80 kilometers stretch of Huangshui river, which is one of the main tributary rivers of Yellow River. The plan guides the future sustainable developments in the Huangshui river valley, and considers urbanization, ecological system, economic development, spatial quality, flooding and river management issues.The Haidong City legal master plan have been revised and this gave the opportunity to integrate the ecological approach in the development of the city of 700.000 people. Based on Dutch experience in dealing with rivers, the main principle was combining the sustainable approach for ecological development and flood safety, so called ‘Room for the River’ approach. Based on this principle for ecological flood management, the key element for adjustment of the urban master plan was the restoration of natural floodplain of the river. This ensured enough space for flood water and recovery of river ecology and habitats. In depth research plan was made for the 7 different topics, which were then translated into integral vision for the 3 main landscape structures: 1. River park, 2. Mountain-Edge Park, and 3. Overall Urban Green Structure.

The 7 main Research and Design topics of this project were: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Recovery of Regional Ecological System Flooding and River Ecology Drought and Water Harvesting Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Bicycle Routes and Slow Traffic System Recreation and Tourism Spatial Identity

2013 @ a24landschaft, Belrin WATERFRONT REDEVELOPMENT IN SONDERN: LIMITED COMPETITION: 1st PRICE KEYWORDS /// waterfront, railroad, train station, park, promenade, square

COMPETITION: The first price of the limited competition launched by German city Olpe, was awarded to a24landschaft and it’s design for the new coastal redevelopment, including the new park and a local ferry terminal of nearby town Sondern. Sondern lays on the shore of Biggesee, the 5th biggest artificial lake in the Gemany. The hilly and picturesque landscape is cut by the straight line of rail which passes through Sondern. THE PROJECT: The core idea of the design was to enhance the contrast between the straight rail line and the soft shoreline. The conceptual idea gave the guidelines for a design of a new park, a promenade on both sides of the rail which integrates the whole design area, a new camping site, a new boat terminal, and the square of the existing train station. The overall design expresses the clear intention of intensifying the tourism infrastructure based on the transportation hub character of the area. Strengthening the linear composition of the space, the design enhances the importance of the rail which gives the unique character to the designed area. With addition of the leisure facilities the whole area expands its potential as a attractive touristic regional destination.

2013 @ a24landschaft, Berlin NEW PEDESTRIAN CENTER IN TROISDORF OPEN COMPETITION OF IDEAS KEYWORDS /// pedestrian, city center, shopping street, pavement, benches

COMPETITION: Open competition for the pedestrian center of Troisdorf, a city in the north of Germany, brought about the design developed by the team of a24landschaft. The pedestrian street in Troisdorf functions as the backbone of the city center, and as a major shopping and leisure center, significantly contributing to the popularity of the city. The refreshed, contemporary design of the pedestrian zone sets a new standards and puts the city of Troisdorf in advantageous position over competing shopping centers. THE PROJECT: Green boulevard is the main driving force of the design, giving the entire area a strong green appearance. Complementing the already existing Maple trees, additional trees are inserted to reinforce the linear structure of the streets. The rows of trees divide the pedestrian zone in two asymmetric walking areas with generous open space in front of main shops. In addition to the trees, integrated new street furniture becomes a distinctive element that makes the character of the whole area. Widening of the pedestrian street into small squares is supported by long benches and play elements for children integrated in the linear system of trees along the shopping street.

2013 @ a24landschaft, Berlin LANDESGARTENSCHAU BURG OPEN COMPETITION FOR GARDEN SHOW KEYWORDS /// garden show, park, river, old city walls, urban renewal

COMPETITION: Like hardly any other garden show, the Burg horticultural show extends over the entire city. The historical town of Burg stretches between two dominant parks, the Goethe Park in the west and Flickschuh Park in the east. They are connected by two axial streets – Schartauerstraße und Deichstraße.

THE PROJECT: The small river, historically the nucleus of industrial development, forms a green corridor and crosses the whole town connecting the two parts of the city. The promenade ring follows the former city walls encircling the old city. Rows of trees mark the line of wall so the former city boundaries can be felt even today. Goethe and Flikschuh Park are transformed into two large city parks with very individual characters. Along the river different green spaces and small gardens are introduced with the Weinberg Park as the highlight. The character to the spaces along the river makes the reference to its historical origin. This unique system of open spaces offers a strong character and serves as a catalyst for the entire urban renewal process. The garden show event is composed out of four different subareas which are experienced through a walk along the entire historical center of Burg.

2013 @ a24landschaft, Berlin LANDESGARTENSCHAU EUTIN 2016+ OPEN COMPETITION, 1st PRICE KEYWORDS /// lake, garden show, urban redevelopment, castle, park

COMPETITION: With its location between the big and small Eutin Lake, the German city of Eutin has a unique potential for development. This favorable situation have been developed with the Garden Show “Eutin 2016+” as the basis for the future urban development of the city. THE PROJECT: The central area of the urban redevelopment is the bay, which is enriched with three new residential buildings fitting in the existing urban fabric. The bay forms a strong link between newly designed „Sea Park“ in the north west and the „Castle Park“ marked by the historical castle in the east. Public uses such as restaurants and shops in the ground floor attract people to the promenade, which is marked by the wooden deck that extends over the water where attractive public spaces are introduced. The new visual reference point of the bay is the „water fountain“ which is located on the intersection of the multiple axis. The renovated guest house with it’s gastronomic offer makes a an attractive end point of the promenade and the transition towards the „Sea Park“. The horticultural show’s motto is „…to new horizons.“

The exhibition concept of the Garden Show links the historical design of the gardens in Eutin to the modern design trends. The main objective was to reinforce the connection of the unique landscapes to the Lake. Several new accesses to the water are being offered exploiting the unique views over the lake. The designs of series of small gardens resembles the cultural significance of the Eutin, referring to its poets, thinkers and other recognized personalities.

2012 with lupa studio, Lisbon KLAKSVIK CITY CENTER: AN INTERNATIONAL URBAN DESIGN COMPETITION KEYWORDS /// faroe islands, urban design, shared traffic, climate, bay

COMPETITION: This urban design competition has been assigned by Klaksvík Town Municipality, located in the Faroe Islands. Klaksvik is the second largest town in the Faroe Islands, and it’s town center has an amazing location by the sea. Through this urban design competition, Klaksvík Municipality wanted to make the town the ideal location for industry, retail trade, and cultural events – as well as new residential development. Over the last 200 years, Klaksvik has grown from five settlements of a mere 100 people to a modern town of 5000 inhabitants. The large and swift population growth was triggered by the growing fishing industry, which led to the development of the areas along the shore for industrial purposes. The central part of town is virtually undeveloped and with a recent landfill in the center area, where the shore used to be. THE PROJECT: The project proposal “Square root” is the outcome of intensive “workshop” of several weeks by the group of young architects and landscape architects from four different countries. The principal elements expressed in the final design are: Weather condition adaptation, social intensification and interaction, reintegration of urban tissue, environmental and economic sustainability and viability.


tion of landslides, creating the lowest possible environmental impact.

KEYWORDS /// biodiversity, lake, portugal, sustainable tourism, light rail

Beside the rail line which is connecting all the points of interests of the camping, the secondary path near the water is implemented as the second infrastructural element functioning as the recreational and leisure path for the visitors of the camp.

COMPETITION: The aim of the competition was to get the best idea for development of a luxury and sustainable camping on the shore of Santa Clara lake in region of Alentejo in south of Portugal. THE PROJECT: The project developed by Paratelier concentrate on creating a multidimensional proposal for sustainable tourism, which is focused on discoveries and new experiences and where luxury is not seen as a hotel of five stars or a sophisticated restaurant, but as access to something unique and exclusive, with the orientation towards non material interests like culture, nature and leisure – a participatory tourism. In this way, a tourist does not search for a product, but for a holistic experience of a place. To reach that multidimensional ideal project, the multidisciplinary team was formed focusing on following aspects: ecological and natural local dynamics, innovative image design and multimedia component of the camping, creative architecture, the holistic view of the landscapes of lake Santa Clara, engineering component, environmental sustainability and renewable energies, arts and education with local participation. The small light rail, the only transport infrastructure implemented in the area is to be used in the construction process as well as in the later functioning of the camp. The rail line is elevated from the ground with the pillars ensuring the preven-

2011 - 2012 @ Paratelier, Lisbon LA ROCCA: INTERNATIONAL OPEN IDEAS COMPETITION - 1st PRICE (with Ternullomelo architects and Paratelier) KEYWORDS /// italy, historic fortress, park, inner courtyard, water

COMPETITION: The winning project of this international competition for the restoration of the Rocca historic building and the adjoining park in the in the Province of Verona, was developed by Ternullomelo architects, in charge of the architectural part of the project, and Paratelier covering the landscape architectural part of the project.

THE PROJECT: The overall goal of the design was to restore the Fortess’s monumental and representative character and promote crossed activities, events, connections, services, meetings, allowing a continuous flow of people (tourists, young and senior citizens...). The three specific goals were: the rehabilitation of the inner courtyard - transformed into a piazza, the multifuncitalization of the existing buildings and the revitalization of Rocca’s Park. The design of the Rocca’s park is based on the interpretation of the site’s historical evolution, highlighting traces and relationships. Water was an essential structural element for landscape design of the proposed Urban park. On one hand, the lake which marked the fortress from 1600 onward was highlighted through

the reinforcement and structuring of existing vegetation. On the other hand, the channel, natural boundary of the intervention, is revitalized through simple enhancement of the native vegetation, which constitute the identity of the place.

2011 - 2012 @ Paratelier, Lisbon LITERARY AND MULTIMEDIA PARK OF SALVATORE CAMBOSU: OPEN IDEAS COMPETITION - 2nd PLACE KEYWORDS /// sardinia, poetry, park, landscape, multimedia, museum

COMPETITION: The second prize of the competition of ideas launched by The City of Orotelli (Italy) was awarded to Paratelier and its design proposal for the Park of Salvatore Cambosu, an Italian writer from Sardinia. The competition was looking for ideas which would enhance the urban context and landscapes, involving the places which were sung in the poet’s works ”Cambosiane”, in the construction of a Literary and Multimedia park dedicated to one of the most eminent citizens of Orotelli – Salvatore Cambosu.

THE PROJECT: The landscape itself has already a magical flavor that characterizes the early work of Cambosu, but also the harshness of the reality that wants to be communicated. So in this context, paths, already designed in its pages, are underpinned by “multi-media stations”, “WPA points” (wood and iron materials are used to highlight the powerful, almost underground connection with the land) which became a multi-sensory metaphor of historical reality, moral and social impact of the place and the poetry of the writer. The visitor can, in observing the landscape that is a poetic material itself, listen to the words of the writer, but also – imagine – the stories of the myths, traditions, history, traditional music of the place constitute the identity of the place.

2011 - 2012 @ Paratelier, Lisbon THREE LINEAR PARKS SARDINIA, ITALY KEYWORDS /// rivers, coast, sardinia, tourism, leisure, archeology

The project “Three Linear Parks” is the outcome of public competition for the landscape rehabilitation of Santa Caterina di Pittinuri coastal villages, promoted by the Autonomous Region of Sardinia. The winning project developed by Paratelier and Ternullomelo, had the core idea in offsetting the points of interests from overburdened coastal area to inland area. The final result were three linear parks along small rivers which served as a connecting elements between the coast and underestimated inland landscapes. The decision to shift the concentration of leisure from the coastal zone and disperse it in other culturally, ecologically, and historically interesting areas, had positive effects both on local economy and local ecology. By prolonging the touristic season, which was no longer dependent only on temperatures of air and water, not only life and the vibrance of the villages got positively affected, but also the consumption of the limited local natural resources, in particularly water, got stretched over longer period of time. The alternative to the mass tourism based on sun and beach with over-exploitation of space and resources in the narrow coastal stripe, brought up the design of three liner parks along the three water lines, enhancing the attractive landscapes and “opening” them up for the visitors, who in this way got the possibility to absorb more culture, more history and more nature of the area. Design includes development of “urban”, “environmental”, and “archaeological” park, each exploring its own potential depending on its own natural, cultural and historical characteristics.

2011 - 2012 @ Paratelier, Lisbon PORTO PINO CYCLE PATH: OPEN IDEAS COMPETITION KEYWORDS /// cycle path, experience, identity, cultural landscapes

THE COMPETITION: The competition was looking for best ideas for cycle routes in the municipal area of Sant’Anna Arresi in Sardinia, Italy.

THE PROJECT: The concept was based on new forms of cultural and social awareness of environmental values which goes beyond vague natural beauty and attractiveness which is so present in the traditional concepts of tourism. The bicycle path itself presents the cultural and environmental experience which is introduced in the landscape not as an intruder in the space, but as the promoter of the identity. Starting in the city of Sant’Anna Arresi, the bicycle path begins to discover the urban environment. Further it continues until the archaeological part where the distant history of a place can be explored through educative boards and permanent exhibitions about the history of the area. The agricultural path that follows gives the opportunity to the cyclists to discover cultural landscapes through the mosaics of different agricultural fields. The landscape of the nearby lake is discovered by the circular path that gives the chance to the visitors to observe the local flora and fauna. Finally, the beach and sand dunes are the final destination where visitor can relax and enjoy the sun and have a swim in the crystal clear sea of Sardinia.

2011 - 2012 @ Paratelier, Lisbon LUXURY ECOTOURISM RESORT IN ALENTEJO PORTUGAL KEYWORDS /// agro-tourism, olive trees, aromatic garden, minimalism

Realized project developed by Paratelier is the landscape design of luxury agro-touristic resort composed out of luxurious house for landowners and the visitors, and approximately one hectare of surrounding land. The property is situated in the picturesque region of Alentejo in Portugal. Being located close to the town of Arraiolos, to which the beautiful views opens up, the project merges both cultural and the landscape quality of the region. The conceptual approach of cultural identity and sustainability resulted in the subtile interventions with the goal of sustaining and enhancing the existing ecological system. This is visible in the elements like plantation of local aromatic vegetation which can be used in the culinary offer, preservation of the existing vegetation with the accent on olive trees, and the maintenance of the vegetation by the sheep grazing. Small and local interventions in the landscape were aiming towards preservation of the existing ecological pattern and processes, while using the potential of certain locations to diversify the experience of the site.

2009 @ WAGENINGEN UNIVERSITY, NETHERLANDS MASTER THESIS: LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTONIC DESIGN OF URBAN EXPANSION IN THE MARKERMEER LAKE Candidate for best Master Thesis on pubic space in the Netherlands Stedelijk Interieur Studenten Award 2010 KEYWORDS /// ecological recovery, urban expansion, mussels, lake, future

This project proposes an urban expansion of Almere, Dutch fastest growing city, into the nearby lake of Markermeer, and deals with the current negative ecological trends that are present in the lake. The objective of the project is to use urban development as a generator for ecological recovery of major bird habitat which sees the rapid decline in ecological value in recent decades due to the siltation of the lake and a lack of food for birds. Siltation of the lake is causing the disappearance of mussels the main food source for birds, as they are unable to attach to solid surface and grow. The main measure aiming at reversing this negative trend is introduction of “long-lines� - technique for commercial cultivation of mussels. Long lines are suspended ropes which provide the solid material for mussels attachment and. This measure has immediate positive impact on birds and water quality in the lake. In addition to this short term measure, which also defines the shape of urban development in the lake, long term measures improving the ecology of the lake are development of the major marshland and artificial islands, and coastline adaptation.