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Girafa Urbană ( Urban Giraffe) - Tunari-Eminescu
  • Nomination for the “Research through Architecture / Architecture and Experiments” section

Girafa Urbană ( Urban Giraffe) - Tunari-Eminescu

Authors: arh. Maria Duda, arh. Alexandru Belenyi
Firm: BAZA. Deschidem Orașul

Co-autor: arh. Irina Belenyi
cu sprijinul PLUS S2
Photo: Ștefan Hillerin, BAZA. Deschidem Orașul

Authors’ Comment

"Girafa Urbană" is the name of a series of tactical urban interventions aimed at addressing the imperfect solutions to problems that the city presents to us daily, even though we don't talk about them anymore despite their evident effects. Like a clumsy giraffe that you instinctively avoid, it has no place in the city or in the daily urban experience: a blocked crosswalk, a car occupying the sidewalk, an abandoned Christmas tree on the street corner, crumbling plaster.
Here is the giraffe from the intersection of Tunari and Eminescu streets. In 2010-11, when the pavement of the sidewalks was modified, replacing asphalt with cement pavers, the pedestrian path that connected three crosswalks was left uncovered. In 9 years, spontaneous vegetation, including a small tree, had grown, and people had either become accustomed to crossing it through the mud that only dried in the summer or had to detour onto the road, amid the honking of cars, because it was often occupied by a van or parked car. At the beginning of 2020, we observed it closely, as it was within our working and living area - the footprints in the mud, as well as the muddy footprints along the edge of the road, showed that the area was heavily frequented by people of all ages: adults, children, parents with strollers, people with pets. The risk of accidents was very high. In successive, spontaneous, and planned meetings, together with PLUS Sector 2, our neighbors, and colleagues from the Leonida Hub, we outlined a temporary intervention - a wooden footbridge - to solve the problem in a minimally invasive way and draw attention to the authorities. Once the state of emergency was over, through volunteer work and donations, we built, tested, placed, and inaugurated the wooden bridge together. We inaugurated it with a local celebration, in the community that formed thanks to it. Two weeks after the inauguration, the authorities rebuilt the sidewalk, preserving the existing vegetation and providing a space for the spontaneously grown tree. The footbridge was carefully removed and stored for future roles.