The main urban centerpiece and the main axis of the city’s historical area is Kotsiubynskoho Avenue in the middle of which, at the intersection with Zamostianska and Vynnychenka streets, the Peremohy Square space has formed. In fact, this pedestrian space has existed since the commencement of the construction of the Red Army Community Center (now called Officers’ Community Center) on December 31, 1925, at the request of Jan Fabricius, Red Army Commissar. During WWII, the building was damaged and all wooden structures were destroyed. Restoration works continued from 1946 through 1947. The Red Army Community Center reopened on September 25, 1947, and was subordinate to the 43rd Long-Range Air Force.
After Ukraine gained independence, the center was renamed. On December 28, 2004, the Officers’ Community Center was passed under control of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The Officers’ Community Center is a heritage site of local significance.
The area around the square was actively built up from the 1930s through the 1950s, mainly with residential buildings. The most interesting of them is the Railroad Workers’ Building, a heritage site of local significance, at Zamostianska Street, 27 (architect: A. V. Kreichi, 1946-1947).
The first city’s nine-story building made of glass and concrete was the Yuvileinyi Consumer Services Center.
The Square Today
Historically, what people refer to when they say Peremohy Square is a small 1.87-hectare public space in front of the Officers’ Community Center. But, in fact, this public space is bigger due to the concentration of certain urban planning characteristics in one place. One of the main characteristics is the intersection formed by Zamostianska Street and Kotsiubynskoho Avenue, which is a major transport hub with public transport stops serving about 20 thousand people. And due to the fact that this space is also the geographical center of the Zamostia district, this area is of district significance.
Many children’s clubs are run in the Officers’ Community Center. And Yuvileinyi is not only the consumer services Center, but also an office center.
A memorial sign, the MiG–21 aircraft, was put up between the Officers’ Community Center and the Yuvileinyi Center in honor of the establishment of the Air Force of Ukraine. The monument is surrounded by a small amount of greenery. Opposite the Officers’ Community Center there are some flowerbeds. In 2018, the NEXTBIKE rental unit was installed near the Officers’ Community Center.
- Lack of convenient direct pedestrian pathways.
- Low quality surfacing of pedestrian areas.
- No dedicated recreation areas.
- No dedicated bike lane in the square.
- Small percentage of shaded area compared to the amount of open space.
- Poor lighting in the evening.
- No places for public gatherings and giving notices to the residents.
The poorly organized pedestrian and bicycle transit has a negative impact on the comfort of people in the square. The green spaces between the Officers’ Community Center and the Yuvileinyi Center make up only 25% of the total territory, which is little compared to the amount of paved area. A small amount of green space does not give enough shade, which makes the place uncomfortable in summer. The square does not have a clearly designated recreation/waiting area with outdoor furniture. In the evening, the square is lit only by street lamps.
In order to make the square convenient and comfortable for the district residents, a closed national architectural contest Public Space Between the Officers’ Community Center and the Yuvileinyi Consumer Services Center was held.
Vision of the Future
The goal of the contest was to create a holistic design vision of the new quality of public space between the Officers’ Community Center and Yuvileinyi Consumer Services Center, as part of the large-scale reconstruction of Kotsiubynskoho Avenue.
“This contest was intended to assess how the area can be developed and whether it is possible at all. After the designs are completed, the study of public opinion will be conducted. Then, the designs will be improved taking into account the identified shortcomings. And only then the final design will be produced, design specifications and estimates will be drafted, and the project will be carried out. As for the project implementation timeline… Definitely, it will not be completed tomorrow,” Yevhen Sovinskyi, Vinnytsia’s Senior Architect
Community Island, the winning design from the designers team consisting of the KOTSIUBA Landscape Architecture Studio and the SHOVK Studio, demonstrates the creation of a square on the left bank of the city, both of a district and city significance. The design eliminates the need to go to the city center for recreation and festivities. The new space will be a gathering place for different target audiences.
The square space ceases to be monofunctional, namely transit-oriented, since new values are added, such as a sense of community, trust, and participation in decision-making. The entire Peremohy Square becomes a place where every resident becomes part of a single community. Combining the spaces in front of the Officers’ Community Center and the Yuvileinyi Consumer Services Center, will mark the start of the rapid development of the district and the “island”. Visually, it is achieved through the use of the same paving. A clearly outlined circle will be created, with a small cozy green “island” inside of it.
After the announcement of the contest results, public discussions were held. In July and August 2019, active residents of Zamostia, representatives of public organizations, entrepreneurs with offices at the Yuvileinyi Consumer Services Center, and local architects had the opportunity to get acquainted with the competitive designs and express their opinions. The discussion of competitive designs by such a large number of active people led to the next stage – Peremohy Square Testing.
On October 19, 2019, from 11:00 to 16:00, everyone had the opportunity to take part in the Peremohy Square Testing event and could see the square from a different perspective. The event featured an exhibition of three competitive Peremohy Square reconstruction designs. The presentation was held by the employees of the Agency for Spatial Development. Residents and city visitors took part in a quiz organized by U7 Urban Studio and in tours held by the Department for City Marketing and Tourism. During the testing event, a concert was presented by the children who belong to the clubs and group at the Officers’ Community Center. Additional locations were staged: Accessibility by Touch and the flicker making master class organized by Harmony Non-government Organization, a thematic photo booth arranged by the Department of Culture and other activities for children. A bike race was organized for children too.
During the event, Vinnychenka Street was blocked, which enabled the creation of a single space in the square. The idea of blocking the street to create a single public space was entertained in the designs created during the Ideas Generation Workshop in the spring of 2018. When developing solutions for the reconstruction of Kotsiubynskoho Avenue, some of the teams suggested the possibility of creating a square by blocking Vinnychenka Street. This gave an impetus to hold a closed national architectural contest for the development of a project proposal Public Space Between the Officers’ Community Center and the Yuvileinyi Consumer Services Center, the main task of which was to design a comfortable public space with a high quality environment.
Other Cities’ Experience
The Peremohy Square reconstruction works depend on the reconstruction of Kotsiubynskoho Avenue. Kotsiubynskoho Avenue is the central connection link between the railway station and the city center, the arterial road of the Zamostia district. An important part of the Avenue is Peremohy Square, thus, the process of renovating the square is interconnected with the Kotsiubynskoho Avenue Reconstruction Project.
According to the contest terms, the next stage of the reconstruction is the creation of a schematic design by the winner. The German public company Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is the partner of the project.