The civic association Aliancia Stará Tržnica (Alliance Old Market Hall) emerged as a group of eleven professionals from various fields, who shared a discontent with the condition of this historical building in the center of Bratislava. In 2012, the Old Market Hall had been closed to the public for five years already, with the exception of occasional events. Together, they decided to make use of their professional knowledge and skills to create a project of revitalization of the Old Market Hall. The aim was to turn it into a living urban center with food markets, cultural events, and services with added value for the citizens and visitors of the city.
- 2012 — the foundation of the Alliance Old Market Hall (Aliancia Stará Tržnica)
- 7. February 2013 — the project "Urban Centre Old Market Hall" approved by the city council
- June/July 2013 — rental contract singing and practical take over of the building into administration
- 21. September 2013 — the first TRH-PIAC-MARKT (food market)
- August 2014 — the soda water manufacture in the Old Market Hall begins to operate
- 21. March 2015 — from this day on, the food markets take place every Saturday
- 16. September 2015 — the first Street Food Park
- 2016 — the Alliance obtained a grant from the Creative Europe program to create a project of revitalization of the Námestie SNP and Kamenné námestie
- March 2016 — the Lab café opening
- July/August 2016 — renovation of the entire flooring in the main hall
- April 2017 — Foodstock opening
- June 2017 — Výčap u Ernöho opening
- Summer 2017 — the revitalization of the square affront the Old Market Hall
- 5. September 2017 — up! city opening
- 2018 — presentation of the Živé námestie project outcomes (revitalization of the Námestie SNP and Kamenné námestie)
How it began
The ALIANCIA STARÁ TRŽNICA (Alliance Old Market Hall) was founded it 2012 as an association of eleven professionals from various fields of occupation. They were all shared a common dissatisfaction with the state of the historical building of the Old Market Hall in Bratislava. In 2012, the building had been closed to the public for over five years, with the exception of sporadic events that took place here. At this time, the Old Market Hall was managed by the BKIS (Bratislava Cultural and Information Centre). This function was delegated to the BKIS by the owner of the building – the City of Bratislava. However, there was no clear plan for future development of the building and financial support was absent as well. These were the reasons, why the AST members decided to put their professional skills and knowledge good use and to create a project of the Old Market Hall revitalization. The aim was to turn it into an urban center offering food markets, cultural events, and services with added value for the citizens and tourists, while being financially independent from the city budget.
After months of preparations and active communication with experts, city magistrate representatives, city council deputies, media and public, on 7. February 2013 the city council approved the realization of the Urban Centre Old Market Hall project. Consequently, in June 2013 the rental contract between AST and the City of Bratislava was signed and the Alliance Old Market Hall began to manage the building. A new era of the Old Market Hall became visible already in September of the same year when the first TRH-PIAC-MARKT took place on 21. September 2013. In the beginning, markets only took place once a month. It was necessary to first gain the favor of both the sellers and visitors and to test the limitations of the building. Apart from markets, various other events began to take place here – concerts, conferences, public discussions, community activities. The Old Market Hall became alive again.
Apart from filling the building with a program, the Alliance also actively worked on its improvements. Various renovations happened, including the electrical systems replacements, revision of the boiler room and lifts, flooring replacement, double window panel installation on the side of the Nedbalova ulica, installation of various acoustic and isolation interior elements (curtains, special paint), new anti-flammable paint, new EPS (Electronic Anti-fire System) and many other improvements.
Apart from the building itself, there had been renovation works happening also in the spaces on its perimeter, where various bussinesses began to operate. The Lab café offers a co-working space, many workshops, and a digital fabrication workshop; the Shenk brewery in the basement delivers its beers to the Výčap u Ernőho, that situated on the floor level on the corner of Námestie SNP and Klobučnícka street; Asian style bistro Foodstrock situated on the Klobučnícka street; and last but not least the up! city office. The common project with Volkswagen Slovakia, ZSE, Švihaj Šuhaj and the City of Bratislava came to life in 2017. It is an electronic car, bike and cargo-bike rental service, which also serves as the first step towards the first car sharing in the city. Thanks to up! city, the square in front of the Old Market Hall had been renovated as well. There are new seating and regular care-taking.
The next step?
The Živé námestie (A Living Plaza) initiative arose as a next, natural step for the Alliance Old Market Hall. The market hall building is in urbanism sense connected to its immediate surroundings and the management of the building carries a natural interest in the state this environment is in. In 2016, we gained a grant from the Creative Europe donation program to create a project of the Kamenné námestie and Námestie SNP revitalization. In 2018, we presented outputs from to project to the public.
- The Old Market Hall Alliance is a partner of the Shared Cities: Creative Momentum project, co-financed by the EU Creative Europe program. Within the project, the Alliance undertakes a case study Vivid Square in cooperation with the Slovak Governance Institute, the architectural studio 2021 and the Landscape architecture laboratory. The municipality of the Capital City of Bratislava also participated. Consultations were also provided by other stakeholders, experts, residents and visitors of the city.
- The objective of our case study is a unification and regeneration of SNP Square (Slovak National Uprising Square) and Kamenné Square in Bratislava, which, once improved, could be an example of functional and accessible city spaces.
- Besides the case study, the Old Market Hall Alliance helped create a creative space, Lab.café, in the Old Market Hall in Bratislava and organized a series of discussions, workshops, presentations and hackathons.
- Shared Cities: Creative Momentum (SCCM) is a European cultural platform addressing the contemporary urban challenges of European cities. SCCM is a joint project of Goethe-Institut (DE), Czech Centres (CZ), reSITE (CZ), Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava (SK), Association of Belgrade Architects (RS), Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre – KÉK (HU), Katowice City of Gardens (PL), KUNSTrePUBLIK (DE), Mindspace (HU), Old Market Hall Alliance (SK), Res Publica – Cities Magazine (PL). Co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.