Thoughtfully and with Love

authors Svebor Andrijević, Luka Korlaet
project Residential Building Veslačka, Zagreb, Croatia
written by Vera Grimmer


It is a well-known historical fact that social processes and their changes are manifested precisely in the area of housing development, whereby the task of architecture should be to execute structural and spatial qualities at the level of the city and buildings. It is exactly the multi-residential buildings that will contribute most to the densification of cities. The relation to public space will be important, as well as the efficiency of resources in terms of sustainability, not to mention the possibility of a satisfactory cohabitation in urban agglomerations, contributed by social sensitivity and the cultural value of constructed residential buildings. However, residential buildings are the most common typology we find both in the city centre and suburban neighbourhoods, creating the backdrop for urban lifestyle.

With an active programme, they can foster and even enhance it, though unfortunately, this does not happen very often. As a significant number of urban densification projects are undertaken by private entrepreneurs, it is interesting to think about the typologies that would consider improving the quality of public space for the benefit of the community. With larger projects, the focus is too often on maximizing efficiency and profit, without the necessary differentiation of space quality. It was precisely the differentiation between private, semi-public and public space that the architects Andrijević and Korlaet managed to achieve in their Veslačka project, where they could count on their private client’s support. The plot was demanding, at the same time remote but central in relation to the city, located between an important urban road and the greenery of a river bank, surrounded by high-quality residential buildings of late modernism - Milan Žerjavić’s elongated residential blocks and the famous Slavko Jelinek’s towers, both from 1974. In terms of modernist urbanism, these buildings are freely positioned on the ground, so the architects’ primary task was to respond to the context of the acclaimed architecture on the one side and the free riverfront space on the other.