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A PERIPHERAL MOMENT --

EXPERIMENTS IN ARCHITECTURAL AGENCY 1999–2010 / CROATIA

0. A Peripheral Moment:

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Experiments in Architectural Agency – Ivan Rupnik

THE FREEDOM OF THE MOMENT - PROFESSIONAL AGENCY / DISCIPLINARY AUTONOMY - EXPERIMENTATION - OBSERVATIONS - ATMOSPHERE PRACTICES - DISCUSSIONS - THE END OF THE MOMENT

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I. OBSERVations

2000–2009

LATE MODERN LARES – Kenneth Frampton META BALKAN – Aaron Betsky FERTILE DELAY – Stefano Boeri CROATIA, THE LABORATORY OF CHANGE(S) – Manuel Gausa THE CROATIAN-NESS OF CROATIAN ARCHITECTURE – Hans Ibelings

II. Atmosphere 1990–2010

50 Post-Socialist/Postwar Identity 52 Memorial Bridge, 3LHD 54 Jasenovac Memorial Center, hpnj+ 55 Water tower Memorial, Radionica Arhitekture 56 Church Fortress A, njiric+njiric 57 Pope John Paul II Pastoral Center, Randić-Turato 58 The Resurrection, Stanislav Bavčević and the Brodosplit H. W. Veterans Association 59 Field of Crosses, Nikola Bašić 60 Dubrovnik Defenders Memorial, Igor Franić 61 Croatian Pavilion Expo 2005, 3LHD 62 Frameworks, Ivana Franke, Petar Mišković, Lea Pelivan, Toma Plejić 64 The Peripheral Architect and the Provincial Reality 66 Les Lieux Magique, njiric+njiric 67 Frames of the Metropolis 68 Čovjek i Prostor Magazine 69 Europan, various authors 70 Villa Klara, 3LHD 71 Zagrebačka Center (Mercator), Igor Franić 72 Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, various authors 74 POS - Government Backed Housing Construction Program 76 Social Infrastructure, various authors 78 Professional Agency, Saša Randić 80 38th Zagreb Salon, 41st Zagreb Salon, Croatian Architects Association 81 COMMUNICATION: Split Talks, pogledaj.to + GAF Exhibitions and Conferences, 44th Zagreb Salon, Croatian Architects Association 82 COMPETITION BOOM 84 Cvjetni Prolaz (Flower Passage)

III. PRACTICES

1999–2010

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Baumaxx hypermarket, njiric+njiric McDonalds drive-in, njiric+njiric

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Zagrad center, Randić-Turato P10 mixed-use complex, Studio UP Spectator Group Headquarters, Studio UP

148 138

ZAGREB Dance Center, 3LHD

178 150 160 170

KRSTO FRANKOPAN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, Randić-Turato POPE JOHN PAUL II PASTORAL CENTER, Randić-Turato LapidariUM, Randić-Turato

194 180 186

Transitional typologies: packing the Box

INDETERMINATE STRUCTURES: FRAMING SPECULATION

THREADED INSTITUTIONS: RECYCLING THE URBAN PASSAGE

Core Revisions: Modernizing Historic Fabric

SOCIAL NETWORKS: URBANIZING PEDAGOGY

KATARINA FRANKOPAN KINDERGARTEN, Randić-Turato KINDERGARTEN MB, njiric+

214 196 204

Gračani MINI-SETTLEMENT, njiric+ RURAL MAT HOUSING, njiric+

238 216 226

Split Riva, 3LHD Zamet CENTER, 3LHD

258 240 246

Sports Hall, 3LHD GYMNASIUM 46° 09’ N / 16° 50’ E, Studio UP

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SuperDalmatia, njiric+ HOTEL ROVINJ, Randić-Turato Hostel GOLLY±BOSSY, Studio UP Hotel LONE, 3LHD

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IV. DISCUSSIONS

PARCEL URBANISM: FABRICATING COLLECTIVITY

Urbane Surfaces: PACKING Public Space

TROJAN HORSES: INJECTING URBANITY

SUSTAINABLE INFRASTRUCTURE FOR TRANSIENT LIFESTYLES

DISCUSSION PRACTICES 278 3LHD – Collaboration – Materiality – Urbanism 283 njiric+ – Housing – Iconic Architecture and vernacular signs – Indeterminacy 287 Randić-Turato– Field Experiments – (anti)Icons – Event Planning 292 STUDIO UP – Urbanism – Identity (Corporate Voids) – Competitions (Design Process) 297 REFLECTIONS A DISCUSSION ABOUT THE PERIPHERAL MOMENT AND THE PROVINCIAL REALITY

318 Credits

THE FREEDOM OF THE MOMENT

PROFESSIONAL AGENCY / DISCIPLINARY AUTONOMY

A Peripheral Moment

EXPERIMENTATION

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experiments in architectural agency ---

ATMOSPHERE

OBSERVATIONS

Ivan Rupnik PRACTICES

DISCUSSIONS

THE END OF THE MOMENT

The aughts were a difficult time for Croatia. Like Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, this former Yugoslav country transitioned from socialism to capitalism nearly a decade after much of Eastern Europe, delayed by four years of war, and then postwar reconstruction and instability.1 This same decade proved to be an incredibly productive and inno1 – The Homeland War, the Croatian Republic’s conflict vative time for Croatian architects with the Yugoslav People’s Army and a host of Croatianwho managed to transform these Serb paramilitary formations lasted from 1991 to 1995. difficulties into a stimulating situCroatian territory was not fully integrated until 1999, ation. The  recent global economic when United Nations Peacekeepers left the last occupied areas, allowing reconstruction to begin. downturn, a highly flawed political system, as well as the arrival a host of new highly restrictive building regulations brought on by Croatia’s crawl towards the European Union as well as other factors have contributed to the end of this decade of experimentation. This book seeks to mine this period, examining practices that expand the role of the architect and create space for experimentation. These practices, rooted in an unstable peripheral context, nevertheless suggest the potential for greater agency for a discipline increasingly peripheral at the center. THE FREEDOM OF THE MOMENT 2 – Karaman’s formal education in Vienna The parallel between political instability and during the last decade of the 19 th century creative innovation of this period is not a unique was complimented by an apprenticeship to phenomenon in Croatian history. The frequency Frane Bulić, the Catholic Priest and archeologist responsible for the restoration of Dioof such occurrences led Ljubo Karaman (18861971), a Croatian archeologist and art histo- cletian’s Palace in Split. This complicated and layered artifact challenged many prerian, to develop a theoretical framework to help conceived notions of early art history and archeology. By 1930 Karaman’s frustration explain artistic production under conditions of with established methods and theories led sustained instability.2 Karaman reacted to the to his first major publication, Iz koljevke prevailing formal modes of art-historical analy- hrvatske prošlosti [From the Cradle of Crosis during the late 19 th and early 20 th century atian History]. (Matica Hrvatska: Zagreb, by developing a contextually based methodol- 1930). He would later summarize these theories in O djelovanju domače sredine u umjetogy, one that examined the role of the artist as nosti hrvatskih krajeva [On the Work of Local an active agent in a specific political context as Art Scene in Croatia]. (Društvo Historičara Umjetnosti: Zagreb, 1963). well as that specific context’s position within an international network of other artistic contexts. This emphasis on actor and context as opposed to art object provided a framework for theorizing three distinct geo-political space of artistic production: that of center, province, and periphery.   Karaman left the theorization of the center to the center, and instead focused his work on distinguishing between province and periphery. While artistic production in the province tends to be directly influenced by one distant center from where it receives information, art objects, and even ‘masters’, the periphery is influenced by multiple cultural and political centers, offering local artists access to these centers while at

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the same time offering them the ability to synthesize influences and produce unique and independent artistic approaches. Karaman referred to this effect as the freedom of the periphery. This freedom comes at a high cost however, as the influence of multiple political centers insures a permanent state of instability, a lack of strong foreign and local patrons, as well as a deficit of material resources. Karaman was well aware of these ‘negative factors’ caused by the ‘lack of strong political authority here [in Croatia] or from outside’ but insisted that it was precisely these factors that made the works interesting and sometimes progressive if not always artistically novel, ‘in the formal sense of that term’. 3   Karaman’s own work focused on Romanesque and 3 – Karaman, Iz koljevke hrvatske prošlosti, 1930 Pg. 57 Renaissance architectural works in Croatia, however he insisted that his methodology could be useful for other contexts and other periods.4 Although he never explicitly theorized it, the peripheral condition is highly dynamic, as its appearance is tied to shifting geopolitical 4 – His work, virtually unknown outside of centers and their own changing inter-relation- Croatia has recently received attention in Latin America and in the emerging field ships. In addition any peripheral space, by its of Geography of Art. For more on this see very definition, can be so distant from centers Thomas Da Costa Kaufmann, Toward a Geogof power as to lack Karman’s associated creative raphy of Art, (University Of Chicago Press: Chicago, 2004). vibrancy, suggesting important temporal and spatial dimensions to Karaman’s theory. The notion of a peripheral moment is an expansion of his theories, one that accounts for this dynamism, and proposes that the freedom of the periphery appears during a particularly significant realignment of geopolitical centers. In Croatia such realignments are a relatively frequent occurrence as a result of its geopolitical position. Notably, the radical restructuring of the map of Europe in the 1920s and again in the 1960s generated similarly creative moments of artistic and architectural experimentation influenced by political instability and lack of resources. It is important to note that these peripheral moments were both preceded and followed by periods best described as provincial.   Croatia’s most recent peripheral moment, whose historical contours were formed somewhere between the fall of the Berlin War and the recent global economic recession, has led to a freedom of the periphery for architectural practice, engendering certain methodological and possible formal innovations. While the physical products of this period have become quite common on the glossy pages and web portals of architectural journals, the innovative practices that generated them have not had the same fate. The projects’ formal compatibility with established architectural centers may be the greatest hindrance towards exposing the truly innovative practices from which they have resulted. This uneven exposure of project and designer illustrates how today’s architectural form is distributed globally in seconds while its’ methodology is still locally rooted. Methodological evaluation and dissemination still requires the existence of critical discourse, a luxury in the unstable peripheral context.

PROFESSIONAL AGENCY / DISCIPLINARY AUTONOMY In order to begin to uncover and disseminate the methodological innovations of this recent peripheral moment, it is necessary to translate Karaman’s notion of the freedom of the periphery into the terms of international contemporary discourse. The contemporary term that most closely relates is that of agency. The agency of the architect, the occupant, and even of architectural space replaced the other “a” word, autonomy, during the late nineties. If the advocates of architectural autonomy assumed the significance and authority of the architectural discipline as a fact to be defended against contemporary culture, the proponents of agency took a more pessimistic or pragmatic view, criticizing architectural practice for its lack of engagement with contemporary culture, particularly that of the contemporary metropolis. The loudest critic of architecture’s lack of agency surely is Rem Koolhaas. His earliest heroes were the anonymous architects of Manhattan who traded a degree of formal innovation for full engagement in the culture of congestion, a disciplinary transformation that required the parallel acceptance of the irrelevance of architecture as a cultural value a priori and the invention 5 – Delirious New York (The Montacelli Press: New York, 1994). of new methods of design practice. 5 Koolhaas’s disgust with the architectural discipline in the seventies expanded to a critique of urbanism by the early nineties, with the pragmatic architects of early capitalism being replaced by the resourceful citizens of the third world’s developing megalopolises.   Koolhaas’s historical and vernacular case studies, as well as his own practice, influenced the theories and practice of a number of younger architects in the late nineties and early aughts. The clearest recent reformulation of this position may have been made by Michael Speaks in his text After Theory. Speaks best articulates his position in a phrase: “theory was interesting … but now we have work… we don’t just need a new ‘theory’, but instead we need a new intellectual framework that supports rather than inhibits innovation.” Speaks has found such innovation in small practices who utilize a method of “speculative testing and prototyping”, and a form of “thinking as doing” that creates what he calls “design intelligence.” By abandoning the dream of cultural relevance and disciplinary autonomy in favor of an engagement with contemporary culture and market forces, Speaks calls for a form of architectural agency which will in turn enable innovation. Unfortunately he does little to provide any specific example for such a practice. EXPERIMENTATION Koolhaas’s and Speaks’s disenchantment with the late architectural avant-garde of the seventies and eighties and their call for a more direct, critical engagement with contemporary culture and the city are partially foreshadowed in the writings of Manfredo Tafuri. By the early seventies Tafuri was troubled by the disengagement of architectural practice from contemporary society. His writings anticipated Koolhaas’s critique that architects confused their own perception of cultural relevance with any sort of general

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Exhibition: KALVARIENGÜRTEL njiric+njiric arhitekti, (2002), de Singel Internationaal Kunstcentrum, Antwerpen, BE

Publication: Kenneth Frampton, “Late Modern Lares: Randić-Turato” in Randić-Turato: The Architecture of Transition, (Zagreb: Oris, 2002)

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Publication: a+u 2009:03 Architecture in Croatia and Slovenia (2009) [3LHD, njiric+, Randić-Turato, STUDIO UP]

Publication: Vedran Mimica “The miracle of Miroslav Krleža street” in Abitare 480 (Milan, 2008) [STUDIO UP]

Publication: Stefano Boeri, “Fertile Delay” in 38th Zagreb Salon (Zagreb: UHA, 2003). Awards: njiric+, Petar Mišković, STUDIO UP (First Prize Winners)

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Publication: Hans Ibelings, “The Croatian-ness of Croatian Architecture” in 44th Zagreb Salon (2009) Awards: Andrej Uchytil, Renata Waldgoni (First Prize Winners)

Publication: Eve Blau and Ivan Rupnik, Project Zagreb: Transition as Condition, Strategy, Practice (Barcelona: Actar, 2007)

Publication: Verb Processing (Barcelona, Actar, 2001) [njiric+njiric]

Award: The Architectural Review Emerging Architecture Award, Memorial Bridge, 3LHD (2002)

Publication: Aaron Betsky “Meta-Balkan: The Work of njiric+njiric” in El Croquis 114b: Meta-Balkan: The Work of njiric+njiric. (2003)

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During the last decade, architecture in Croatia has attracted a great deal of international attention, and in turn, local architects have developed a dialogue with a number of foreign architects and theorists. In this section, a collection of texts by leading international critics trace the trajectory of the peripheral moment. Publication: Manuel Gausa “The Laboratory of Change(s): Between Investigation and Self-Affirmation” in 41st Zagreb Salon (Zagreb: UHA, 2006) Awards: njiric+, hpnj+ (First Prize Winners)

Exhibition: New Trajectories: Contemporary Architecture in Croatia and Slovenia Mariana Ibanez, Curator Harvard University Graduate School of Design (2008) [3LHD, Igor Franić, njiric+, njiric+njiric, hpnj+, Randić-Turato, STUDIO UP, x3m]

Award: E. U. Prize For Contemporary Architecture Mies van der Rohe Award Emerging Architect Special Mention: GYMNASIUM  46° 09’ N / 16° 50’ E, STUDIO UP 19

Manuel Gausa ---

Croatia, the laboratory of change(s): Between investigation and self-affirmation ---

Originally published as Manuel Gausa “The Laboratory of Change(s): Between Investigation and Self-Affirmation” in 41st Zagreb Salon (Zagreb: UHA, 2006)

My relation with the Croatian territory and its architecture has been gradual. In 1994, due to a reunion of European experts, I had the occasion to visit Zagreb for the first time. From the first moment I was fascinated (with the last gasps of the great urban debates between the centre and periphery that had marked a great part of the eighties, but also in the midst of the period of emerging alternatives facing the neo-traditionalist or post-modern inertia of the nineties, “centred” in the historical textures and axial interweaving) by this so diagrammatic clarity, so decidedly contemporary, of the city; one of this unique “development schemes”, in continuous and differentiated lines, both in the morphology and in identity, and nevertheless globally operative owing to its dimensions and proximity .   From the Upper Town duality of the old city to the integral compactness of the Lower Town (Donji Grad) and its wide focal space (the Horse-shoe, that remarkable articular park which breaks up the common “central” pure forms and splits up into a broken geometry of a U, “infiltrated” into the weaving), or the enormous potential of the open urbanism of New Zagreb (with its wide free spaces and the epic quality of functional architecture, certainly with some deficits but today highly repairable, beyond the standard banality and late-liberal inertia that are beginning to break 34

through, as in the majority of cities, with the new metropolitan sprawl), Zagreb still affirms itself as a unique and efficacious frame-city, full of latencies and potentials.   Afterwards I’ve had an opportunity to return to the city and keep enjoying in the vitality of its public spaces and urban life, and moreover to get acquainted with the coasts of Dubrovnik and Split and its intensive coexistence between the historical layers as well as between the old and new pressures of development – both in terms of real estates and tourism – “para-planned”, spontaneous or simply predictable. But also to appreciate that will for preservation which subsists in the collective consciousness and is now attempting to integrate with the new infrastructural demands of connection and articulation. There is an unusual multilevelled resourcefulness in this scheme of “lines” which is characteristic of Zagreb, the capital, and the proper play of “fringes” which is suspected between the “coast”, “countercoast”, and the “interior”, on a territory which sharpens and stretches itself towards the littoral, and possess in itself many geographical and cultural layers.   The Croatian coast itself, with its remarkable “fractal” dimension, its irregular and at the same time differential configuration, and its very multiplicity, seems to synthesize this “logic of complexity” which nowadays tends to characterize much of those conceptual pursuits that mark this beginning of the century. Pursuits associated with the intuition (and acceptance) of a more dynamic, more “restless” and impure universe, concerning the trajectories of a flexible evolution, capable of combining variation and interaction, mixture and change, and therefore also singularity and irregularity. A pursuit which would in the end illustrate a clear moment of transformation in architecture, defined between the last twitches of modernity and the first manifestations of a new type of logic – perhaps more than of an order – characteristic of a cultural epoch with new impulses, challenges and attractions: a more opened “logic of complexity” associated with – actually or virtually – dynamic processes rather than with static events; that is, with more elastic, permeable and – actually or virtually – evolutionary structures.   The last decades have in effect confirmed the obviousness of a spectacular breakthrough in the definition of our surroundings: a breakthrough connected with the very increase in the mobility and communication at a distance, in the dislocation of exchanges and the capability of the technological and material processing and transformation (not only of information but of our own medium as well) thus exhibiting, in an exponential way, this dynamical nature of cities, societies and territories.   This seems to invoke a transversal collision of the city and the territory formulated beyond the ancient paradigms of the traditional composite urbanism (texture, planimetry, construction, project), but also far from the old longing for a “disciplinary autonomy” which characterized the last decades. A collision associated no longer only with other possible aesthetics – other figurations – but above all with a possible – and new – transversal condition between different territories and sceneries of exchange. 35

During the last decade, Croatia has seen a mini building boom of kindergartens and schools. Some of the most accomplished architectural works, including STUDIO UP’s award winning school and sports hall in Koprivnica P. 246, have resulted from this boom. The UHA’s (Croatian Architect’s Association) restructured public competition process has encouraged innovation by opening this program type to younger architects. Architects have utilized the prescribed programs provided by the public sector as architectural tools of city buildings, providing unfinished Socialist-era housing estates with interventions that accommodate multiple functions and provide quality open space. P. 150, 180, 186 Šegrt Hlapić Kindergarten, Zagreb, CRO Radionica Arhitekture (Goran Rako), 2005–07

One of the largest and most ambitious pieces of social infrastructure, the Emergency Medical Services Center by Produkcija 004, was realized in Zagreb last year. EMS CENTER, Zagreb, CRO, Produkcija 004, 2009

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Baumaxx hypermarket --njiric+njiric

McDonalds Drive-in --njiric+njiric

Transitional Typologies: Packing the BOX

Zagrad Center --Randić-Turato

P10 Mixed-use Complex --STUDIO UP

Spectator Group Headquarters --STUDIO UP

Indeterminate Structures: Framing Speculation

P Krsto Frankopan Elementary School --Randić-Turato

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Pope John Paul II Pastoral Center --Randić-Turato

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Lapidarium --Randić-Turato

Core Revisions: Modernizing HISTORIC Fabric Zagreb Dance Center --3LHD KATARINA FRANKOPAN KindergarTen --Randić-Turato

MB KindergarTen --njiric+

Social Networks: Urbanizing Pedagogy

Threaded Institutions: Recycling the Urban Passage

Gračani Mini-settlement --njiric+

Rural Mat Housing --njiric+

Parcel Urbanism: Fabricating Collectivity Split Riva --3LHD GYMNASIUM 46° 09’ N / 16° 50’ E --STUDIO UP

Sports Hall Bale --3LHD

Zamet Center --3LHD

Urbane Surfaces: Packing Public Space

Trojan Horses: InJECTING URBANITY

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The ‘negative conditions’ of the peripheral moment have forced architects to experiment in real-time, extending the design process from the safe confines of the studio onto the construction site and, in some cases, even into postoccupancy. Working within the narrow programmatic confines of big box retailers or the meager economic budgets of public projects like kindergartens, these designers extract maximum results from minimum means. Over the course of the last decade more general design practices have emerged from these specific experiments in the field. Although rooted in the specific problematic of the post socialist/postwar periphery, these practices suggest models of agency for the increasingly marginalized design disciplines working in the center.

Superdalmatia --njiric+

Hotel Rovinj --Randić-Turato

Hotel Lone --3LHD

Transient Life-style Infrastructures / Sustainable Cities 89

golly±bossy Hostel --STUDIO UP

b: 12,500 m2 p: 25,430 m2 FAR: -0.49

bauMaxx Hypermarket ---

njiric+njiric

--Maribor, Slovenia (1997–99)

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The most tangible traces of Socialist Europe’s transition from a centrally planned to a free market economy are the big box retailers and fast food franchises that now dominate the urban periphery. During the nineties, lax urban regulations, local desire for western investments and ties, and multinational companies’ desire for quick brand loyalty resulted in nearly four times the average retail space per consumer in Croatia. The advantageous position of these economic colonists insured that local architects were either not involved or simply served to facilitate the proliferation of a predetermined architectural logic and apathetic attitude to the existing urban context.

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Transitional Typologies: Packing the BOX The freedom of the periphery has allowed architects to experiment with the most predetermined of market-driven types – the big box retail store and the fast food franchise. njiric+njiric’s unfinished initial experiments with these types resulted in an entire laboratory of edge urbanism in Croatia during the peripheral moment: njiric+ has proposed a series of modified types in Croatia and Austria and Igor Franić recently completed a big box store and roof top housing project for a Mercator, a Slovenian retailer, on Zagreb’s western edge. office complex (proposed)

‘big box’ shopping home garden center (proposed) BAUMAXX HYPERMARKET, njiric+njiric, P. 90–97 retail / public space basketball cage (proposed)

restaurant MCDONALD’S DRIVE IN, njiric+njiric, P. 98–99

office

self service shopping MICROSHOPPING, njiric+

* Red indicates predetermined retail program

‘big box’ shopping

housing

cable car station

office space

‘big box’ shopping Zagreb Center (MerCator), Igor Franic - SZA Zagreb, CRO, 2005–07, P. 71 GRAČANI CENTER, hpnj+, Zagreb, CRO, 2003– ...

housing office tower

‘big box’ shopping

SPAR RETAIL PROTOTYPE, njiric+ Samobor 101

b: 21,600 m2, (500 cars) p: 4,500 m2 FAR: -4.8

P10 Mixed-use Complex ---

STUDIO UP --Split, CRO, 2006–09

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An important example of architectural agency in the face of a highly prescribed market-driven type, in this case housing, is STUDIO UP’s P10 project. Designed for a local developer in the southern coastal city of Split, this project balances private desire and public responsibility within an even more particular urban context, the intersection of a boulevard of Modernist housing towers and slabs with a more traditional block fabric. The already challenging site conditions were further exacerbated by the discovery of a Roman aqueduct during construction.

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View north

View south

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While the majority of the office buildings in Radnicka Ulica (Worker’s Street), Zagreb’s CBD, are identical to their counterparts from Chicago to Shanghai, conceived as giant corporate logos executed by obedient architects serving anonymous corporations, the Spectator Headquarters is the product of an experimental and collaborative process.

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3LHD’s own tectonic mastery is showcased in the circulation volume, a construction which utilizes the shipbuilding techniques the firm began experimenting with in their Memorial Bridge, as well as the hybrid green roof skylight tying one of the practice spaces to the lush slopes of the Upper Town. These and other elements are complimented by the interventions of I-GLE, a team of local textile designers, and Lana Cavar, a graphic designer who has developed the signage for the Center and the super graphics for the courtyard in collaboration with Linked-by-Air (NY).

↑ North-South Section  ↓ PUBLIC SEQUENCE – 1 – access from courtyard

↑ PUBLIC SEQUENCE – 2 ↓ PUBLIC SEQUENCE – 3 – access to roof top terrace

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The spatial logic of the interior acts as a pedagogical tool, simulating an urban condition where the hallways are the streets, the classrooms the collective dwellings, and the multifunctional space the main square.

Roof scape

the streets and buildings of the city trycicle accesible ...

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OBJECT B

Ground Floor

Second Floor

First Floor 209

The Riva off-season – low urban intensity.

The Riva during the peak of the tourist season medium urban intensity.

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We also have to be clear in our communica­ tion, which does not mean that it cannot be provocative, but it has to engage. How can architects engage the general public, for which they are in many cases designing, if that general public does not understand a word that they are saying? Our engagement in the Hartera festival is our experiment in how one communicates and promotes a project. Our original project was for the conversion of this former industrial zone into a cultural center. We didn’t argue this through very complex and esoteric texts or through architectural render­ ings but through the staging of events, in this case a music festival. The very promotion of this project proved the validity and feasibil­ ity of the project: namely that this space was an ideal location for youth culture and that this program not only did not harm the city it actually benefited it. As was the case with the development of the architectural profession in what was a particularly unstable moment, this festival also came out of a series of prob­ lems. The informal group that organizes the festival, KLJB, has no official status; we have simply applied to use the space every year for the last six years. Like the architectural scene in Croatia, this festival also first received rec­ ognition from abroad when it was last year voted one of ten best small music festivals in Europe through a competition organized by a British web site. Rupnik: In addition to staging these amazing events and influencing the general perception of the public such that they now accept and even lobby for a cultural center in this space, as opposed to some other program, you have also had some real success in changing the zoning of this space. Randić: That’s correct. In fact this has pro­ vided us with a very different sense of how to approach any project and particularly how to approach the transformation of an entire city district. Rupnik: So is this not only an architectural but also an urban planning project, one that impacts larger areas of the city of Rijeka? Randić: Exactly, since the public’s mental map of a space will affect how well any project will be received and will live once complete. This

industrial zone was previously totally closed to the public. Now, with the festival proving that it is safe for “civilians”, other events are now being organized on the premises, including concerts, exhibitions, lectures, and even artists’ studios. This space has entered into the mental map of a large number of people in the region as a place of alternative culture, an island of some sort, a parallel reality. Owners of neighboring parcels have now realized that it would be advantageous for them to provide programs and services compatible with this new mental map. An owner that previously planned a small beer brewery, now plans a mixed use complex including a wine cellars, a restaurant and bar, as well as loft housing. This is all func­ tioning very well because it is quite dynamic; the question will be how it will all function once it becomes more formalized. Rupnik: Of course it is likely that site’s parti­ cular qualities will disappear, but that does not mean that the space won’t carry a particular trace of this project or that this process could not be transplanted to another site. This is exactly the approach that we observed in the Green Horseshoe in Zagreb, and I remem­ ber that you found that process analogous to this one. Randić: Yes. Right, those spaces were full of various programs. The whole atmosphere was surely more vibrant than those parts of Zagreb are today, but on the other hand, some trace of that still exists. Rupnik: Hartera also suggests a much more interesting model of tourism for Croatia. Randić: There are definitely more visitors from outside of Rijeka than from the city. This gen­ erates an energy that is not local; the visi­ tors that come here from abroad are here to consume something this is supported by this place but is also produced by other visitors, by other nomads. Rupnik: The events could produce a kind of cultural tourism that Croatia is still lacking, not just festivals, but more complex spaces of contemporary culture. Randić: These events are as important if not more important than the structures that will one day house tourists.

hartera project

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A Peripheral Moment