Abolition of Borders

arhitects Matthias Kulstrunk, Vjera Bakić
project Svetice Swimming Pool Complex, Zagreb, Croatia 
written by Vera Grimmer


Twenty-eight years after the opening of the Mladost swimming pool on the banks of the Sava River, the city of Zagreb received with the Svetice swimming pool again a sports and recreation facility, which will gain a place in the anthologies of modern Croatian architecture. Interestingly, both projects are the first realizations of young authors, preceded by a victory in public competitions. But this is the only coincidence, since the project of Penezić and Rogina is a collage of diverse and even conflicting narratives, appropriate to the spirit of its time, while the Svetice swimming pool of Vjera Bakić and Matthias Kulstrunk is a very reduced architecture, perhaps close to Swiss minimalism. The explanation of the jury of the 2005 competition speaks about the winning project as, conceived simply and cleanly in a functional, constructive, contextual and formal sense. This designation is appropriate, but there is a lot more that points to a somewhat more complex approach. The location opposite the entrance to the Maksimir Park is marked with the memory of the beginnings of sport in Zagreb. At the end of the 19th century, there was a wooden cycling track and in 1934, a stadium was built for the Sokol mass games, instead of which, after the war, Vladimir Turina, with his associate Franjo Neidhardt and structural engineer Eugen Ehrlich, built a unique modern stadium, awarded at the Olympic exhibitions in London and Helsinki.