Communicating with All Senses

architects Neno Kezić, Srđan Lukšić
project Hotel Salona Palace, Solin, Croatia
written by Emil Šverko


The complex of the archaeological park on the edge of the ruins of the Roman capital of Salona in present-day Solin is a brief that simply requires an interlocutor in an architect with a wide-ranging education and sensibility. The Hotel Salona Palace is the only part of that designed but still non-existent complex that has been completed so far. It is laid over a recess in the terrain that appears intact, like a hovering lid over an oversized bowl. In particular, the fact that the architects articulated this terrain geometrically and substantially by modifying it, with a touch of inspired consideration, into a usable terrace system does not call into question the continuity of the existing relief.


The hotel arches this configurational concave with a floor plan in the form of a Latin cross, which, with its three arms, is laid on its perimeter, while its fourth, south arm is cantilevered over a terrace with a pool at ground level. The console effect is not diminished by the two, round, dark grey support pillars, which remain irrelevant in the ambient atmosphere provided by the compelling, shaded terrace. That is, insisting on the 16-meter structurally defined console in a relatively small hotel with 44 rooms and 3 suites, the architects rather prefer an architectural interpretation of the spatial centre of gravity, in the best manner of Venturi's book, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. Just as a set of parallel lines is more readable when it is crossed and enriched with a diagonal, so the positioning of the cross supports along the upper edge of the recess brings awareness to the presence of the excavation as a potential archaeological site over which the building is located. The theme of drawing attention by a sovereign architectural gesture also runs throughout the archaeological park.


In an extremely reduced view, or rather by looking with eyes closed, the whole hotel can be presented as a unique hypertrophied artefact displayed to the public. This unexpectedness, or rather inversion, evokes Marina Abramović and Ulay’s breakup at the Great Wall of China.