Freedom Square is undergoing its first major reconstruction in decades. The fountain will be revitalized, new paving and furniture will be added and the public space will be more accessible to people.
The current revitalization respects the original character of this public space and brings sensitive changes. The reconstruction of the square and the repair of the fountain will be completed by the end of autumn 2022. Due to the winter closure of the fountains in the capital, the water in the Družba fountain will start flowing again in the spring of 2023. This will happen after 16 long years during which the fountain was drained.
In 2022, the Družba fountain, which is one of the largest fountains in Slovakia, underwent a necessary renovation. The architects intended to make the individual pools more accessible to people so that they could use them to refresh themselves during the summer heat. The Družba fountain also meets ecological standards thanks to its reduced water consumption. Originally, up to 2,000 cubic meters of water circulated in the fountain; after the reconstruction, only 36 cubic meters will do. The fountain has been drained since 2007 due to its poor condition – the pumps and wiring were not working and the waterproofing of the pools was also damaged.
Restoration of the Square Itself
The key changes include modifying the surfaces around the fountain, planting new trees and flower beds, installing an irrigation system, adding new furniture, and a comprehensive lighting replacement. The new lighting, together with benches and trash bins, follow the quality design of the original furniture by architect Viktoria Cvengrošová, which complemented the character of this urban space for years. An interpretation of the design has been created for the lamps and the waste bin which will make them more functional.
There was originally a strip of granite paving about 25 meters wide around the fountain. Despite the quality of the material, the original pavement has cracked after 40 years and was not easy to repair. The architects decided to preserve this quality material and use it in a new form. The cracked granite pavement lining the fountain’s pool was thus replaced by so-called exterior terrazzo, created by recycling the original damaged granite pavement and also the fused basalt tiles that paved the fountain. The material was crushed into smaller pieces to make new paving. The re-sanding created an attractive surface based on the original material. At the same time, the move saved around 500 tonnes of material that would otherwise have ended up in a landfill.
The design of the fountain restoration and revitalization of the square is the result of an architectural competition from 2017, the winners of which were architects from the studios 2021 and LABAK.
This project is part of the Bratislava Public Spaces Renewal Scheme – Vivid Spaces.