Cluj Plaza

A New Landmark Emerges on Cluj’s Riverside

Turning rundown, underutilized spaces into lively hubs is second nature to architects, so it’s no wonder we’ve had our fair share of working on major renovation projects over the years. That being said, UNStudio’s first foray into the Romanian market managed to surprise, delight, and challenge our rendering studio simultaneously. 

Our long-time Dutch collaborators devised a solution to preserve the cultural and historical heritage of a 14-hectare Carbochim industrial platform in Cluj-Napoca, while also turning it into a retail and recreational complex that effectively expands the greenery along the inner-city part of the Someșul Mic River. 

By connecting this repurposed site with the newly renovated Armătura Park on the other side of the river and putting fully landscaped rooftops above the shops, the designers created a continuous green oasis for the locals to use. Or move into, actually, as this project even boasts sizeable residential buildings beside the 115,000 square meters retail area – how many birds is that with a single stone? 

As far as plazas go, UNStudio’s competition-winning proposal has one of the most left-field layouts we’ve ever seen in our decades-long architectural visualization career: the swirling structure incorporates heritage buildings like a water tower and two industrial chimneys, economically efficient circular pathways, enormous light wells, and rooftops that double as actual gardens. 

We wanted to develop scenes that do justice to the size, scale, and complexity of the project, hence the use of wide-angle compositions and aerial shots that showcase the site in its entirety. 

We had the pleasure of working with one of our favorite drone photographers, briefing him in detail on the type of high-quality pictures we needed to insert the 3D model into, making architectural renderings that capture the general vibe but also highlight small details, even when looking from afar. We’ll get the chance to see them up close real soon, as this project comes to life in the following years.


Cluj-Napoca, Romania



Péter Kollár
Dani Oláh
Botond Sass


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