Sava Activities: Riverbank in Zagreb to Turn into Lively Social Hotspot

By 27 April 2018

The river Sava will soon become an even more popular gathering point for Zagreb's residents

The City of Zagreb will soon lease the riverbank of Sava in a length of seven kilometres, on both sides of the river, so it could revive an important part of the urban space that's been neglected for over fifty years. Called Sava Activities, the project aims to draw the citizens of Zagreb back to Sava river and liven up its shores that are nowadays an integral part of the city.

Five locations along the river will soon house temporary objects such as multipurpose pavilions, sunbathing decks and swimming pools, reported Hrturizam on April 26, 2018. The project will not only improve the quality of life for Zagreb's citizens, but adorn the Croatian capital with a new polygon and a sort of a massive open stage for various creative industries: musical, cultural, urban, tourist, and many others. The residents will get to enjoy new sports and recreational facilities, cultural and entertaining events, and hospitality venues. Hiking and cycling trails, open air stages, cinemas, attractive viewpoints, sports fields and courts, a brand new beach... the additions are many, and they're sure to be welcomed with open arms by the local population and tourists alike.


The City has announced that the visitors will be able to use the revamped riverbanks of Sava as early as this summer. The tender for the Sava Activities project was launched a couple of years ago; in 2015, the City selected the winning proposal, submitted by OPENACT architecture. Named 'Swamp On the River', the winning design was made by a team of architects composed of Zuhal Kol, Carlos Zarco Sanz, Sara Palomar, Jose Luis Hidalgo, Çaglar Yilmaz, Baris Can Cuce, Rana Imam, Zeynep Kuheylan, and Ozan Sen.


Here's an excerpt from the company's website that further elaborates their take on the location and the project in general:

"Expanding into the vast urban/suburban territories of Zagreb, Sava River runs through approximately 20 km adjacent to the city. Aiming to reintroduce the riverside to its inhabitants, the project examines four underused but critical sites and focus on the question of how intervention on four separate sites can have holistic effect to change movements and relationships of the entire river with the city. The project stands as an exploration of opportunities to experiment the effect of relatively small, soft and temporal interventions that are characterized by dynamism, immateriality, and indeterminacy. Therefore, the proposal introduces a framework of negotiation in which a constant conversation of the sites/their surroundings/programs is promoted through movement and exchange on/around the water. As the medium of this exchange, activator structures will be swapped/interchanged between the sites enhancing the east-west connection of the city through river.


Consisting of nine structures with different roles and capabilities, the activators are pivotal for negotiation of programs, activities and goods in between the sites. By visiting each site and being carried through water, the activators foster conversation between the sites, convey programs from one to another, and adapt to the needs of the sites. While every single structure is able to host multiple activities through slight changes, combination of varying number of activators generate endless possibilities of events and uses."


The construction works have begun a couple of days ago. Sava Activities is a project worth 20 million kuna, already set aside in the city budget, but the City of Zagreb is expecting to cover a part of the expenses with the help of EU funds. The project should be entirely finished in 2018.

You can find more visuals to get a better sense of the concept at OPENACT architecture.