Design Studio
Fall 2018

Orlovica BregOrlovica Hill: Sculpting the Mirijevo Terrain VagueKatrin Röthlin and Mirko Schaap

The gentle slopes of the Šumadijan Upland form a bowl around the east side of Belgrade’s central area. At their summit, the cemetery in the Lešće neighbourhood overlooks the sprawling villages to the south and the confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers with the broad Pannonian Basin in the north. Formerly an agricultural and pastoral area in the vicinity of the city, settlements and industry have encroached upon the eastern hills, turning the farmland into pockets of unused grasslands.

View toward Belgrade from Orlovica Breg.

Stories and voices from the Mirijevo slopes.

Past the cemetery, a small lane leads through a large open grassy space to a large power plant. Going down this side of the slope, self-built housing encroaches on the high-voltage power line easements. While the slopes are well suited for agriculture, the foothills are primarily used by industrial complexes. Some of these are derelict and have been transformed for intermediate cultural use, such as the former Ciglana Brick Factory which provides gallery and atelier spaces for artists and hosts an annual culture festival. Large socialist estates, such as Visnijička Banja, designed by Dragoljub Bakić, and a few informal settlements have encircled the foothills. Their relative proximity to the historic centre and the extraordinary view have made these slopes attractive for residential development, as evident in the recent large scale housing project Sunnyville.

A terrain vague emerged through the extensive and exhaustive interaction with the landscape and subsequent negligence whilst the geometry of the farming plots is still visible. The vegetation has changed entirely to various shrubs and herbs. Therefore, the Mirijevo Terrain Vague offers an atmosphere with rare landscape qualities and foliage should be protected from urban developments and acknowledged as a public landscape for Belgrade. The project explores the idea of further urban reappropriation and the manifestation of uses we already see in the area. They become the basis for the future vision of Orlovica Breg as a diverse and culturally vibrant landscape in the east of the city.

Proposal for public gardens in Mirijevo Terrain Vague.