New Old Layers

architect Mario Perossa
project Rural Complex, Oskuruš, Croatia
written by Krunoslav Ivanišin


The village of Oskuruš, located above the picturesque Momjan valley, lies about a kilometre and a half away from Momjan. This site, where once two prehistoric fortifications stood at 320 metres above sea level, offers a view of the Šavrin hills in Slovenia, the Dragonja valley and the sea and Učka. The Argilla flows along the valley dominated by the remains of the Momjan fortress dating from the 11th century. The locals simply call it the Stream; its name (argilla, Italian for marl) embodies the geomorphological character of grey Istria. Local features, alongside favourable conditions typical for the whole Mediterranean, have defined the character of the traditional architecture of this region. Climate and available material – stone and wooden building materials, resulted in massive houses with thick walls and small openings. The area around Momjan, in the Upper Buje region, is known for its cultivation of Muscat and Malvazija vines and, due to its altitude, the region is exceptionally favourable for the cultivation of olives. The rich history of human presence in the region, from Prehistoric times to the present, has helped to transform the natural resources into a geometrical, cultivated landscape, typically Istrian and uniquely Mediterranean in character.