architects Andreja Ilijanić, Miodrag Dragojević
project Office-residental Building, Zagreb, Croatia
written by Miše Renić


Zagreb has not earned the title of City (mark the capital C) thanks to long streets or tall buildings, but thanks to its wide green squares. The city was born on the green inclines of Medvednica, rolling down the slope as it grew, incorporating the green substance rather than eating it away. What makes Zagreb so particular is the fact that the tree crowns run down from the top of Medvednica to the city centre. In 1997 the City council invited entries for an infill on a vacant plot on Ilica – the main street of the lower town of Zagreb – fully aware of its particular character - a courtyard with sumptuous chestnuts forming a sign, a green spot on the street line. The winning pair, Ilijanić-Dragojević, realised that the beauty of the downtown block lay not in the fullness of the historicist facades, but in the “voids” between them. Beauty resided in larger or smaller, planned or accidental, mainly green public areas. Ilica definitely needs some spatial outlets, since it has long outgrown its facades.