Working Group 4: Heritage and Identities

llf zagreb heritage visual

Zagreb team: Iva Rechner Dika, Stanko Stergaršek; LNI coordinator: tba, image source: Google Maps

Numerous studies, tenders and proposals from the first half of the twentieth century offer visions of the city of Zagreb development towards the south, to and over the Sava river. However, the new urban concept of the new center – Moscow Boulevard (later Proleterskih Brigada Street, today The City of Vukovar Street) applied in the large-scale urbanism of the Fifties has long remained a thin linear structure with vacancies gradually filled up, more in the east-west direction than towards the south and the Sava river. The strategic political decision to move the Zagreb Fair (an important international fair which, at the time of the growing non-aligned political movement, in the unprecedented manner brought together exhibitors from the west block, the east block and the third world), to the new location “across” Sava, resulted in the expansion of the city infrastructure to meet the needs of the new fair on the right bank of Sava river. The fair was built on the planned orthogonal network and has grown rapidly during the Sixties (and later) when numerous national and thematic pavilions were built, some of which are today protected as cultural heritage monuments because of their high architectural value.

The construction of the fair, which was preceded by the construction of bridges and infrastructure, was a generator for the construction of New Zagreb, a series of mutually interconnected but also differentiated residential neighborhoods, each with its own primary infrastructure (school, kindergarten, post office, health center, shopping center, public transport…) and with a proportionally large portion of articulated open and green public spaces. New Zagreb has been planned and built through several decades which allows each of the settlements to form its own identity, and their diversity simultaneously displays the transformations of the modernistic concept of residential neighbourhoods. This innovative concept is recognized as unique in several domestic and foreign research (Blau, E.; Rupnik, I.: PROJECT ZAGREB; Harvard University; 2007.).

With the disappearance of Yugoslavia and the change of other social circumstances, the significance of the Zagreb Fair is steadily declining. Some of the pavilions are being converted for other activities – mostly commercial or sporting and are even physically extrapolated from the whole. At the same time a new Museum of Contemporary Art was built  in the immediate vicinity, along the extended eastern axis of the Lower Town green horseshoe,  becoming an additional central city facility.

The position of the fair along one of the main entrances to the city center, in the vicinity of the hippodrome, park/lake Bundek and the Sava river, makes it a significant area of the city. Its internal urbanism, valuable protected modernist buildings, significant open and green surfaces require a new approach and integration into the urban tissue both in terms of purpose and in achieving the continuity of green infrastructure.

 Study area

In the narrow sense the area of the Zagreb Fair, in the wider sense its interconnection with the immediate environment of New Zagreb and the city as a whole.

Main questions are:

  • What is the identity and what are the spatial values of the urban matrix of the New Zagreb settlements and the former Zagreb Fair?
  • Which of these values ​​should be protected and treated as a valuable heritage?
  • What is the potential of the protected buildings within the Zagreb Fair complex?
  • Can these values, and to what extent, be linked to achieve new spatial, cultural and ecological qualities?

Planned results:

  • Compare the characteristics of the originally planned urban matrix and purposes with recent plans and already built areas and determine their adequacy in the context of future development of the Zagreb fair.
  • Identify the potential of individual elements within the Zagreb fair complex (individual and especially protected buildings and open areas) in relation to the already built and planned purposes in the immediate and wider area.
  • Re-think the Zagreb fair complex as the possible generator of city development using the possibility of thematic connection with the surrounding existing contents (culture, tourism, sport, recreation, trade…).