Venice Biennale 2012: Unmediated Democracy Demands Unmediated Space / Croatia Pavilion

© Nico Saieh

Space is a basic resource. Architecture has the capacity to essentially affect the overall management of space. As a result, it is incumbent upon it to be aware of the elementary politics inherent in every architectural activity.

Venice Biennale 2012: Croatian Pavilion

‘Unmediated Democracy demands Unmediated Space’ – Courtesy of

This year’s Croatian pavilion at the 13th International Venice Architecture Exhibition presents different struggles currently taking place in various Croatian cities. The exhibition, Unmediated Democracy demands Unmediated Space, interprets the topic of common ground by directly asking the protagonists of those collective conflicts how they imagine a common future across and beyond market or state, private or public mediation. The “desires, constrains and potentials expressed in these sites of conflict” are a part of the wider wave of international protests that are demanding a real direct and unmediated democracy. The demands, gathered on the ground through a series of investigative interviews, form the basis for a possible planning strategy, while their resistance tactics become patterns that could shape a common territory.

The Croatian pavilion focuses on how these demands could allow us to imagine the configuration of possible unmediated spaces. It is organized around three sections: Context, Map and Devices.

Continue reading for more details.

Badel Block Complex Proposal / Popular Architecture

© Chris Shusta

The design proposal of the Badel Block Complex by Popular Architecture is a combination of polyvalent and stable, both a massing inviting interpretation and detailed development by others, and an anchor seeking to re-channel the site’s positive qualities. Conceptually, the project begins with making a direct link between the former distillery building and the preserved façade of the Gorica Factory — two features required to be kept. Treating the factory façade as a gateway, the plan pulls in the existing context of an active street market — into the heart of a site cut-off from the city for decades — while also avoiding direct replication of the area’s pervasive perimeter block typology. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Badel Block Complex Proposal / Luka Anic, Danko Balog, Tamara Baresic, Srdan Gajic

Courtesy of Luka Anic, , , Srdan Gajic

Presenting an opportunity, remaining largely unbuilt and mostly unburdened by heritage, the proposal for the Badel Block Complex by Luka Anic, Danko Balog, Tamara Baresic, and Srdan Gajic introduces new spatial configurations to the city center, opening the block area to public access and use. The large demanded gross built area quoted in the competition brief (65 000 m2) instils initial reproach. However, its justification can be found, apart from the apparent economical argument, in the term of density. A dense city is a live, vibrant city. Multiplicity of people, events, and spaces makes a city. And high quality density is what Zagreb lacks. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Our House / DAR612

© Robert Leš

Architects: DAR612 d.o.o.
Location: , Croatia
Authors: Andrea Donatović Poljičak, d.i.a. Morana Lepur Donatović, d.i.a. Jakov Poljičak, d.i.a.
Site area: 1,000 sqm
Bruto area: 400 sqm
Completion: 2009
Photographs: Robert Leš

Badel Block Complex Proposal / WAU Design

Courtesy of

In the proposal for the Block competition, WAU Design considered the site and its position as an opportunity to create a new center for the locals as well as a new entrance for the city through the ‘Communities of a Single Roof’ design. Considering the relative lack of public space and facilities in the neighborhood, they propose to extend the square and the market inside the Badel block and enlarge the space devoted to culture and leisure in order to strengthen the sense of community and centrality. More images and architects’ description after the break.

‘CoExistence’ Badel Block Proposal / PlaC

Courtesy of PlaC

The proposal by PlaC (Plateaux Collaborative) for the Block complex implements an alternative model of urban regeneration. In being sensible to local conditions and open to extra-territorial economic dynamics, equality and the balancing effect become the key-qualities of what they call the ‘CoExistence’ strategy. They measure the plot’s capacity not in terms of maximum square meters for consumers (as in the traditional sense of urban regeneration), but as optimization of the existing capacity. This is then obtained through careful renovation of the assets and a coordinated volumetric upgrade. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Badel Block Winning Proposal / Pablo Pita Architects

Courtesy of

With a key concept for the Block proposal of creating the core as a living icon, the existence of such a rich structure as the old distillery building defines this approach. As an opportunity to develop a new structure that enhances new urban routines, this project becomes a strong new urban value. Designed by Pablo Pita Architects, the mixed-use proposal defines the morphology of the construction ring, breaking it down in several pieces. This enables the intervention to be phased and sets the right urban scale. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Badel Block Complex Proposal / SANGRAD Architects + AVP Arhitekti

Courtesy of AVP Arhitekti

The design proposal by SANGRAD Architects + AVP Arhitekti for the Block Complex, a mixed-use project within the city center of Zagreb, , consists of enclosing the continuity of the existing block and positioning the vertical into its center. Following the instinct of creating a free, public space as large as possible, and yet also in keeping with the proposed program, with uniform treatment of the existing urban archaeology, represents the main guidelines of this concept. More images and architects’ description after the break.

“Step Inside a Creative Mind” Installation / Prodigium

Courtesy of

Held during the Fashion Industry Days, the “Step Inside a Creative Mind” installation by Prodigium allowed young designers to showcase their most intimate thoughts (their collections) and bring them to life for the public. It was up to the architect to design a highly flexible open space, where young designers would set up shop and random people could wander around and shop. A space that was inexpensive yet “hip” enough to attract passers-by that might be interested in fashion. The dome as a starting point reminded the architect of a giant head emerged in the vast plateau on the main square, and he felt that the dome should sub-serve as a beacon instead of merely a confinement of the exhibition space. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Jelenovac Residence / DVA Arhitekta

© Robert Leš

Architects: DVA Arhitekta – Tomislav Ćurković, Zoran Zidarić
Location: ,
Client: Private
Collaborator: Maja Markus, m.arch
Completion: 2011
Total Floor Area: 400 sqm
Photographs: Robert Leš

Bus Station in Osijek / Rechner

© Mario Romulic & Drazen Stojcic

Architects: Rechner
Location: , Croatia
Client: Osijek koteks
Team Architects: Predrag , Bruno Rechner, Ines Pelzer
Site area: 21,199 sqm
Built area: 11,066 sqm
Completion: 2011
Photographs: Mario Romulic & Drazen Stojcic

Tuskanac Residence / DVA Arhitekta

© Robert Les

Architects: DVA Arhitekta  - Tomislav Curkovic / Zoran Zidaric
Location: Zagreb,
Client: Private
Collaborator: Barbara Vukovic, m.arch
Completion: 2010
Site area: 1,300 sqm
Total floor area: 590 sqm
Photographs: Robert Les

Vrbani Business Center / NFO

Courtesy of NFO

The proposal for the Vrbani Business Center by NFO in , aims to solve its inner urbanism within itself and set the guidelines for the development of the surrounding area. They do so through a cube form set on the site while passages carve within the closed volume to emphasize directions from the environment and, at the same time, pull users closer to the internal context of the new structure. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Zagreb Badel Site Redevelopment Competition

Courtesy of

The Zagreb Society of Architects(DAZ), acting as Organizer and Manager on behalf of The City of is launching an open, on-line, one-stage, anonymous, ideas Competition for the urban-architectural conceptual design for the Badel Site redevelopment. More information find on the official web site of the Competition. The deadline for submission of competition entries is on Thursday, 5 April 2012 at 12.00 CET. Competitors may make inquiries until Wednesday, 22 February 2012. For more information, please visit their website here. Images of the site can be viewed after the break.

Veli VRH Elementary School / Randic Turato

© Refik Anadol

Architects: Saša Randić, Idis Turato
Location: ,
Site area: 26,164.5 sqm
Built area: 8,535 sqm
Completion: September 2010
Collaborators: Ana Staničić, Gordan Resan, Gorjana Drašković, Maja Ivanovski, Janko Jelić, Hrvoje Sedlić, Ida Križaj, Darko Kuiš, Ivan Arbanas, Damir Šiljeg, Andrija Čuljak
Photographs: Domagoj Blažević, Želimir Gržančić and Sandro Lendler

   © Domagoj Blazevic

“Janko Gredelj” Area Mixed Use Design / Hrvoje Sedlić

Courtesy of

Hrvoje Sedlić shared with us a proposal for a mixed use design in an industrial area in .The project site is on the east part of Zagreb`s horizontal axis. It`s located next to an industrial area of “Janko Gredelj”, but due to a ghetto type organization of that still active industry (a big wall surrounding it), these two spaces were never perceived as one. But like any other industry infrastructure being so close to the city center, it will be dislocated . At that moment, a huge amount of space (20 ha) is opened to be integrated to the city, with a size potential to house any activity and content. More images and project description after the break.

Spectator Group’s Headquarters / Studio Up

© Robert Leš

Architects: Studio Up / Lea Pelivan + Toma Plejić
Location: Zagreb,
Project Year: 2009
Project Area: 5,300 sqm
Photographs: Robert Leš