A Metal Cloud

architects Neno Kezić, Emil Šverko
project Student Dormitory and Student Centre, Split, Croatia
written by Maroje Mrduljaš


During the last fifteen years, campuses, faculty buildings, libraries and other university facilities are being designed and built relatively regularly in Croatia, which surely has to do with catching up due to decades of loose ends. However, it seems that this process is often not enough connected with innovative ideas of what universities should and could be today. Construction of buildings by no means implies the creation of the society of knowledge, and project programmes and project responses seen in Croatia are pretty conventional and do not offer bolder visions of the life of academic community. An equally unsettled issue is whether the construction of university buildings can be used for the construction of a town, and the extent to which realization of isolated campuses decreases the urban vitality of historical centres that are already losing some of their contents. The ideas for campuses in Rijeka, Osijek, Zadar and Zagreb, that have been or are just about to be completed, are of a more recent date. The only campus with a somewhat longer history is the campus in Split, which dates back to the paradigmatic Split 3 Project from the period between the 1960s-1970s period[1].

[1] Zadar did not easily give in to the construction on the outskirts of the town, by focusing on reusing former military zones and integrating the campus into the urban context. Rijeka is implementing a hybrid model also located within the former military barracks on Trsat. However, new constructions are of far too big a scale. Osijek is building a compact campus, unfortunately, in line with provincial architecture, with an exception of the Faculty of Civil Engineering. The campus on the outskirts of Zagreb is put “on hold”.