IVANISIN. KABASHI. ARHITEKTI won the open international competition for their design intervention at the River Piva in Mratinje, Montenegro in 2009. The design strategy was to illuminate the natural and engineered elements of the site, located at the Piva-Mratinje Hydro-Power Plant, built in 1975 at the narrowest point of the river. As a whole, the intervention is located on the sunny end of the damn in front of the concrete reinforcement of the cliff.
Conceived in five phases, the architecture is designed in such a way that it can become occupiable at any stage of completion. The project consists of five elements: Tower-Down, Plateau, Tower-Up, Bridge, and Floating Platform. These magnifiers of natural and technological elements seek to address the humility of architecture in this sublime junction of the natural and man-made.
Read on for more on this project after the break.
The intervention allows tourists and citizens alike to view the wonders of the dam, the river and the cliffs from various levels. Each of the five phases allows astounding views from different vantage points that magnify the intensity of the sights. The first of the five phases is the Tower-Down, which is a construction that protrudes twenty meters from the cliff and hovers just ten meters above the dam. A heavy concrete core cantilevers light terraces, revealing sights of both sides of the dam.
The second phase is the Plateau, an observation deck atop the dam that houses a visitor center with its two sides fully glazed underneath. The views here open up to distant sights of the canyon and the proximate technological spectacle of the dam and man-made waterfall.
Tower-Up is located behind the dam, overlooking the accumulation lake. It makes contact with the mountain at the highest possible accumulation level and rises up thirty meters to reach the top of the existing concrete reinforcement of the upright cliff. This phase houses a mountain dormitory and a double-height cantilevered assembly space with views oriented to the lake.
The two towers are connected by the fourth phase, the Bridge, which is suspended on two steel trusses, fully opened to the dam and the lake. A vertical view opens up to the bare cliff, strewn with pine trees hanging from it. From this point, the natural and technological aspects of the site can be observed, as well as the content of the proposal: The Nature and Technology History Museum, which will exhibit artefacts related to the dam’s construction, and collections of wild-life and plant-life of the surrounding area. The museum will have glazed sides enfolded in a metal lattice to promote views and to protect against rockslide or avalanche.
The final element that will provide the ultimate experience of the profound experience of the site is the floating platform, which will rise and fall with the lake as it accumulates and is released by the dam. The platform will slide along a two-hundred meter inclined truss as the accumulation level descends and at its lowest levels will provide access to the opposite shore. Its program also entails a dock for small excursion boats and an interior that is a perfectly sealed restaurant always half-sunken in the lake. With eyes exactly on the calm water, visitors will be able to experience unbroken views from within the restaurant.
IVANISIN. KABASHI. ARHITEKTI recycle the phenomena of the site with their strategy of opening up various views out onto the natural and man-made landscape. All five phases will be constructed out of materials of the local building industry, using the local labor force and basic materials suitable to the harsh climate to animate the domestic economy.
Architects: IVANIŠIN. KABASHI. ARHITEKTI: Krunoslav Ivanišin, Lulzim Kabashi, Iva Ivas Collaborators: Kristina Krajačić, Konstantina Kralj, Tena Lazarević, Ana Ranogajec Location: Mratinje, Montenegro Client: Republic of Montenegro, Ministry of Spatial Planning and Environment Collection: IVANISIN. KABASHI. ARHITEKTI Photo: Aleksandra Dabanović / IVANISIN. KABASHI. ARHITEKTI