Farewell to Modernism

architects Helena Njirić, Hrvoje Njirić
interviewed by Vera Grimmer, Saša Randić, Andrija Rusan, Ante Nikša Bilić, Sanja Filep


ORIS: Let us begin with your sketch of a “rolled-up carpet” which was on the poster for your solo show “kalvariengürtel” held in Antwerp at the beginning of the year.


njiric + njiric: That sketch always seems to reappear when our work is presented! Especially in foreign issues. Alongside the images for the baumaxx project, the sketch for the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry in Zagreb is the one most frequently used. In fact, our work has been continually identified with diagrams, which is fine to a certain extent, because that line of thought seems essential. It is an efficient, concise and clear vehicle of expression, aimed at fast and purposeful communication. It is a response to the present where culture manifests itself through visuals, without too much verbalisation. Something architects, too, should be aware of.


For the exhibition we worked with a young artist Lala Raščić, and with animated sketches, like the one you mentioned, in an attempt to bring our way of thinking a little closer to the public. We used eight flash animations to explain the diagrams of the exhibited projects. They contained a range of aspects important to the project, and non-professionals can read them only if they “unroll” before their eyes. This proved to be effective and was well-received by the visitors. A bizarre detail worth mentioning was the invitation we received from a manufacturer of catalogue houses from the Netherlands, Nijhuis b.v., informing us that they would like to use our animations to promote their products at a building fair in Almere in the autumn. It really is true recognition when your work receives “commercial” acclaim. A Croatian product to promote the Dutch building industry!