Book promotion: Islamic Architecture and Art in Croatia


Zlatko Karač, Alen Žunić
Islamic Architecture and Art in Croatia – Ottoman and Contemporary Heritage
We are pleased to invite you to the promotion of the book Islamic Architecture and Art in Croatia: Ottoman and Contemporary Heritage by architects Zlatko Karač and Alen Žunić, which will be held on Thursday, 14 March at 7 p.m. in the Oris House of Architecture (Kralja Držislava 3). Alongside the lecture by the authors, the book will also be presented by reviewer and academician Mladen Obad Šćitaroci.
The book presents almost unknown and extremely valuable Islamic heritage in Croatia, which was comprehensively researched and interpreted by the authors; the historical layer of Ottoman monuments from the 16th and 17th century and the layer of contemporary Islamic architecture of the 20th and 21st century. Reasons for relatively unexplored and unrecognised Islamic heritage in Croatia lie in systematic and radical devastation of Ottoman monuments back in the first years of the Christian Reconquista at the end of the 17th century and ideological and religious antagonisms in the past, which resulted with the eradication of the remaining material fragments and suppression of the fact that the large part of our territory belonged to the world of Islamic civilisation, culture and art for more than a century and a half. Croatian territory was the westernmost point of the Ottoman and Islamic heritage in Europe; space of parallel contact, sometimes even overlap of Islamic artistry with the west renaissance “from the other side of the border”. This fact makes the topic internationally relevant and interesting in the European context and thus effort was put into a bilingual – Croatian and English – edition of the monograph. Research of the layer of modern and contemporary mosques in Croatia has reaffirmed a series of previously unknown projects designed by important authors from the period of Modernism (like S. Planić, Z. Požgaj, O. Mujadžić, J. Neidhardt, V. Richter, S. Sekulić-Gvozdanović, Dž. Čelić, M. Gološ, I. Prtenjak, B. Vincek, E. Polleti-Kopešić). It has also valorised recent realizations and competition project for new Islamic centres (D. Džamonja, D. Vlahović, B. Vučinović, F. Muzurović, D. Raos, G. Rako, D. Mateković and others). The third part of the book stands out as an innovative methodological excursus, which, on the basis of the previously developed research model, elaborates the process of the Ottoman urbanisation of Vukovar as a case study universally applicable on other Croatian cities which were under the Turkish rule over the course of their history. 
The book is the result of an almost ten-year-long research (terrain, archive, bibliography). The original contribution of the authors, among other things, is visible in the development of a scientific method of the material always perceived in synthesis, but in a simultaneous, diachronic, topographical and typological analysis within the cultural context of the time and especially in the formulation of a universal model of the interpretation of Ottoman urbanisation of our territory. The research was conducted at the Zagreb Faculty of Architecture, as part of the Heritage Urbanism science project managed by academician Mladen Obad Šćitaroci. 
The book gained international success soon after publishing; it won the Ranko Radović Award for the best theoretical book on architecture and the city in 2018. 
“This book is a valuable scientific contribution to the research of an almost unknown heritage layer of Islamic architecture, urbanism and art in our cultural landscape. The topic is internationally relevant since the Croatian territory was the westernmost point of the expansion of the historical Ottoman heritage in Europe and space of contact and overlap of different cultural and religious circles of the East and the West. 
Authors almost have no predecessors in this domain because only a few popular articles with the similar topic have been published so far, and there has been no comprehensive study of Islamic heritage. Balanced combination of architectural and historiographic approach is the main characteristic of this methodologically impeccable monograph…”  
[HAZU; Faculty of Architecture, Zagreb]
“The original topic, richness of content and a reliable scientific process of research, make this book an important contribution to the history of Croatian architecture and art. The corpus of relatively unknown examples of Oriental heritage positions our cultural milieu as an interesting area of overlaps and interactions between the artistry of Christianity and the Ottoman world. 
Next to the historical monuments from the Ottoman period, the monograph meticulously and comprehensively elaborates previously unfamiliar topic of the new layer of modern and contemporary Islamic architecture from the 20th and 21st century and includes relevant author works designed by our architects and artists, along with completely unknown large mosque projects for the countries of the Arab world…”       
[Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Zagreb – Department of Art History]
Zlatko Karač, MArch, PhD, was born in Vukovar in 1961 and took a degree at the Architecture Faculty (AF) of Zagreb University in 1987, where he also took his doctorate in Ottoman urban design and planning. He is associate professor at the Urban Planning and Design Chair; he is scientific adviser, member of the doctoral course council and vice dean for science at the AF in Zagreb. He is also a member of Zagreb University Senate and the Technical Area Council. He has also taught at the Civil Engineering and the Forestry faculties, the Engineering Polytechnic in Zagreb and several post-graduate specialist and doctoral courses. In the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science he founded and is now in charge of the Islamic architecture and art course. He deals with urban and physical planning, in particular with issues of conservation and heritage protection, the history of Croatian architecture and urban development. He has published more than 500 academic, specialised and popular works, including books, chapters in proceedings and monographs, entries in encyclopaedias, articles, communications at conferences, TV scenarios. He won the State Prize for Science in 2012, and, in 2016 and 2018, the international Ranko Radović prize for a theoretical contribution to architecture. He was head of publishing at the AF, has edited numbers of textbooks and books in the area of architecture; he is editor-in-chief of the academic journal Prostor (Space) [indexed in WoS/SCOPUS] and editorial member of the restoration journal Portal. He is editor for the architecture in the Islamic Encyclopaedic Almanac. His designs have won prizes and been purchased at public competitions; he has exhibited at the Zagreb Salon, Exhibitions of Annual Works of the CAA and others. He is also active in several professional associations (architects, archaeologists, art historians and conservators), is an authorised architect of the CCA, was a member of the Professional Council of the CAA, the Croatian Council for Cultural Properties, of the Croatian UNESCO Commission and the Commissions for the Evaluation of Architectural Designs of the City of Zagreb and Vukovar. 
Alen Žunić, PhD, MSc, was born in Zagreb in 1989 and took BA and MArch degrees at the Architecture Faculty (AF) of Zagreb University in 2013 (both degrees summa cum laude and top grade averages) followed by a doctorate in 2016; he is now research associate and t. assistant professor at the Urban Planning and Design Chair. He did a post-graduate study in the History and Philosophy of Design at GSD, Harvard University 2013-2015, and went on to do postdoctoral research during 2017-2018 at ETH Zürich – Institut für Geschichte und Theorie der Architektur. During his student years he attended numerous international architectural workshops – AA London Visiting School, Dubrovnik; ETH Summer Academy, Zurich; and others. Marking the 90th anniversary of the AF he won the Dean’s Award. He won the Zdenko Strižić Prize of the AF for the best design for complex housing; won the Rector’s Prize for a scholarly study of modern and contemporary Islamic architecture in Croatia, and as part of a team of students won the Rector’s Special Prize. He has published more than 280 papers, mainly about 20th and 21st century architecture, and 14 books, either authored or edited, presentations at symposia and entries in the Islamic Encyclopaedia. He writes articles for the MIT journal Design Issues, for Oris, Art Kontura, Prostor, ČIP, Kvartal, Projekt and Presjek. He ran an architectural column ‘[Con]text of Architecture’ in the journal Vijenac (also published in book form). He is a winner of the international Ranko Radović Prize for a theoretical contribution to architecture 2016 and 2018. He founded the Matica Hrvatska architecture department; he has been among the winners at open architectural competitions, he exhibits at professional exhibitions at home (Zagreb Salon, Exhibitions of Annual Works of the CAA) and abroad. He is the leader of an architectural panel discussions in Zagreb’s Cultural Information Centre. Zunic was a guest lecturer at the Architecture Faculties of Ljubljana and Zagreb, and at the Faculties of Humanities and Social Science at the Universities of Belgrade and Zagreb.