Discovering Forgotten Territory

architects Ante Nikša Bilić, Perica Peko
project Anaks, Furniture Store Building, Zagreb, Croatia
written by Krunoslav Ivanišin


A good view to the north is possibly the most typical and most wanted feature of any location in the flat part of Zagreb – an elongated city, lying between a mountain in the north and an alluvial river terrace in the south. That applies all the more to locations like this one: a site somewhere in the eastern suburbs, still sparsely developed, on the southern side of the city motorway. It stands in the melancholy landscape of almost anonymous non-place found in any city, characterized above all by the noise of passing cars. What remains of “nature” is home to a disorganized jumble of relics of the forgotten past of Zagreb: lonely industrial facilities, warehouses and silos, some still operating. Because of the wide horizontal landscape, they can be observed quite well even from a fast car: brick, concrete, pipes, chimneys, broken windows, weathered signs; somewhere steam and flames, somewhere just silence. This layer is covered by another: aggregations of dwellings of people who want to or have to live far from the city center and near an imaginary nature; advertising billboards; traffic signs; new boxes with parking lots in front of them. This fragmented picture does have a frame: when one comes to Zagreb from the east, the scene is enclosed by the mass of mountains in the background. Somewhere in this post-industrial landscape, not wholly lost in it, there is a blue board with “Zagreb” written on it.