Reinterpreting Traditional Morphology

authors Damir Ljutić, Judita Ljutić
project Dibiagio Family House, Prvić Luka, Prvić, Croatia


A holiday house in the Mediterranean context, designed for users coming from and living in the Mediterranean, with a contemporary perspective on life, merging global values with the respect of tradition, introduces a new dimension of responsibility in relation to its users, but also the space it occupies. The site is located on the island of Prvić, with the surface of 4,000 m2, and oriented towards the east and right next to the seashore. The aim is to create a modern space integrated with its surroundings, defined by the exterior space, the olive grove formed around several existing olive trees, and with the magnificent, visual and haptic presence of the sea.
The project aims to include and reinterpret the traditional values of the urban morphology of Mediterranean towns and meld them with contemporary residential typologies. The town core of Prvić Luka, located nearby, and the town of Šibenik, the closest urban centre, are characterized by the typical Mediterranean architectural expression connecting the dense structure of individual buildings with the outdoor life. In numerous courtyards, streets, and squares on the intersections of streets, in the expansions that resulted from following organically the natural terrain, and the stairs that help overcome the relief obstacles, the Mediterranean life, which we know and which is deeply rooted in the mental image of the Mediterranean context, happens. The authors avoided the tendency of imposing dominant global architectural guidelines, as well as interpreting the contemporary moment by restraining the role and significance of local and traditional values by ignoring the found context, and instead decided to explore autochthonous formal and visual building connotations, reinterpreting and adapting them to the modern way of living. In that sense, the function and the technology of construction are based on contemporary global experiences, while the organization of space and the aesthetics derive from the reinterpretation of local collective morphological memory.
The inspiration lies in the element that we can encounter while strolling through the centre of any coastal town, just like Prvić Luka or Šibenik – a square, created almost by chance, organically, at the intersection of two or more streets. The space of ultimate charm in which a bench or a wall are an ordinary yet perfect scenography, just like the never-present stairs that either come from somewhere or lead somewhere else. Perhaps a tree, a couple of old ladies juicily gossiping about their neighbours, a child with a ball or a bicycle, a cat idly lounging while gazing upon a pigeon and showing no interest, as the seagull might be too big after all…shadow, light, stone.