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The Transformation of Cities’ Cultural Identities

Plenary / Panel
German and English language

Focus Transform
Cities are not static. They are subject to processes of change that affect the way in which they function, their appearance and their conception of themselves. Unlike obvious disruptions in development, processes of transformation often occur  by stealth , unnoticed by most people. A new awareness and new identities are not forged under the impact of events themselves; rather, a sensibility for the new outline conditions must be created first. How does architecture respond to such processes of transformation? Can it help to make the transformation a more cognitive event? And what landmarks does architecture create in this process?


Professor, Lehrstuhl für Industriebau und interdisziplinäre Bauplanung, Technische Universität Wien; CEO, ATP Architekten und Ingenieure, Innsbruck/Wien Abstract
Wie kommt es heute zu Transformationen von Identitäten von Städten?
Wer ist der Auslöser, wer der richtungsgebende Dirigent?
Worin besteht die kulturelle Identität einer Stadt und wie reagiert diese auf globalisierte Vereinheitlichung der meisten Spieler in der Stadt?

Anhand von Beispielen diskutiere ich die reduzierte Bedeutung bzw. Ohnmacht von Stadt- und Raumplanung, aber auch den mangelnden Willen von politischen Entscheidungsträgern klare Ziele zu formulieren. Ziele die eine kulturelle Identität ermöglichen bedeuten auch, scheinbar lukrativen Tendenzen der unmittelbaren Gegenwart bewusst zu entsagen.

Die Mittel und Methoden im globalen Umfeld spezifische kulturelle Identität zu bewahren, oder eindeutig zu formulieren, liegen in den Bereichen

-Stadt- und Raumplanung
-gelebter Zielformulierung
-architektonischer Kultur

In den Städten des neuen Europa können diese Entwicklungen, deren Auswirkungen wir insbesondere in überschaubaren Mittelstädten exemplarisch nachvollziehen können, im Zeitraffer ein zweites Mal verfolgen. Es scheint das Gesetz der Geschichte zu sein, aus der Geschichte nichts lernen zu können oder zu wollen, sondern lediglich durch andere Prozessgeschwindigkeiten zu überraschenden Ergebnisdifferenzierungen zu kommen.

Eine Stadt, die sich als gebaute Identität einer selbstbewussten Einwohnerschaft versteht, muss diese Identität mit baulichen Maßnahmen die Unterstützung suchen und für die dafür notwendigen Rahmenbedingungen, auch unter Aufgabe scheinbarer Erfolgspotentiale, kämpfen.
President, Belgrade Town Planners Association, Belgrade Abstract

The changes happening in Belgrade during last two decades, in the political, economic and institutional domain are reflected in the social and naturally in the urban matrix of the city, adapting to new circumstances. There are no radical changes in the city structure, but the image of the city is significantly changing.

By creating the physical structure man sculpts the built environment and sets up the standards (the quality) which he wants to achieve. Legal planning framework of the city of Belgrade was set up as well as a number of smale scale investments but still the demands are not met.

The paper follows these two courses of creating urban form: the effects of the urban planning and the 'real' image of the city that emerged in last years.

After year 2000 the city of Belgrade records strong urban planning activity - developing Master Plan for the year 2021, that although having certain methodological weaknesses, represents an impulse for future planning. As a follow up of the Master Plan all the important city locations were elaborated through public urban planning and architectural competitions, as a basis for planning documentation. On the downside, among other problems, the unsolved question of land property disables creation of urban form of larger scale through proper urban planning. This question of land property influenced the development and strong impact of so called 'investors urbanism' that undermines the importance of public interest and public places.

Result of urban planning is the built environment and one could 'read' the dominant impacts on its creation.
In the paper set of examples of recent built structures is showcasing the answer of the professionals to the given situation between professional Associations struggling for public competitions and project that are investors direct commission.

Keywords: city of Belgrade, urban planning, architectural competitions, changing image of the city
Assistant Dean, Berlage Institute, Rotterdam Abstract


A project Croatian Archipelago New Lighthouses deals with a fundamental issue  the creation of a sustainable coastal development strategy within the transitional socioeconomic environment. The central question answered by the project is how to create conditions for the economic development of the littoral but preserve the essential values of the landscape of the coastal region. The Lighthouses are seven projects for seven locations on the Croatian Adriatic, serving as paradigmatic examples for a different approach based on the assumption that spatial changes are an outcome of collective action resulting from the impact of the civil society on the development of the coastal area. The collective intelligence is generated through the process of overlapping political, economic, social and ecological influences on an architectural project.

KEYWORDS: Tourists + locals: invention of new typologies; Civic society planning; Active relation to historical infrastructure/landscape; Negotiation strategies (for urban) policies - developers, architects, governments, environmentalists

Croatia entered in a dramatic way the process what is widely named a transition. Transition in a social sense is a change from one system into another. Globally, the modernist paradigm changed to the post-modern with the disappearance of central authorities, universal dogmas and foundational ethics. The post-modern world introduced fragmentation, instability, indeterminacy and insecurity. Locally, in Croatia, transition occurred as a quantum leap from the Socialist, one-party, state-controlled market system, into a capitalist, parliamentary democracy, free-market system. The political and economic changes were paralleled with a war for independence. The market economy and parliamentary democracy that the developed countries of the West projected upon Croatia radically changed its political and economic landscape.
Croatia today is an open economy in a partly globalised market. The question of exploration of the Croatian coast, as the land s true great resource, has found itself at the centre of interest with the wider public which has suddenly become aware of the limitations and value of the coastal space and the ways in which it is being developed. There are numerous of questions to be answered without reliance on previous experiences to which the country can look: How to protect the coast while at the same time direct, curb, and occasionally redefine it so as not to lose the financial benefits accompanying large projects which are being spurred by foreign capital? How to prevent the islands from becoming tourist theme parks and retain the complex diversity of their functioning and way of life? The key problems that a project Croatian Archipelago New Lighthouses addresses are related to reconstruction of socialist heritage into new sustainable structures.

1.2 Locations of the Croatian Archipelago New Lighthouses
Powerful metaphor of the lighthouse is presenting a relation between historical heritage and a need for new visions of development. The alternative development strategy has been presented as seven Pilot Projects which introduce the urban planning policies and architectural visions that establish standards for the future coastal development. There are two main characteristics for all the seven sites chosen for a development of Pilot Projects. First, they are re-using existing urban structure. Secondly, at the chosen locations there is overlapping of the local, national and developers interests. Those patterns are repeating at every location in a various forms grouping them into three main categories: 1 Communist industrial infrastructure (Labin, Omisalj, Dugi rat) 2 Communist social infrastructure (Goli otok, Starigrad) 3 Communist state infrastructure (Zadar, Dubrovnik).

Labin - coal mine area and its over ground and underground infrastructure. The Labin case is conceptually interesting because the subterranean world is linked with the world above ground in an almost Dantesque sense, but now it all looks quite "socialist" and neglected. The multinational and bilingual status of Labin is also interesting and anticipates the new European regional image of Croatia. Is it possible to imagine an "underground" that presents programs and interiors within the allowed limits of rules and legal provisions?

Omisalj  landscape reconstruction: for the years the Municipality actively but without significant results tends to suspend the excavation activities. At the first glance, it looks like the simplest task: get rid of the quarry (nonexistent according to the territorial plans, but still operating legally for the new shipyard) and turn the location into a place for public events, fun and leisure for the wider region. However, the task requires very careful landscaping that would make the landscape "better and nicer" than the surrounding nature.

Dugi Rat - reconstruction of the heavy polluted industrial complex: the results of a public referendum show that citizens (87% of them) vote for the reconstruction of the factory into tourism and public programs. Dugi Rat looks like the ideal laboratory for testing different scenarios and valuating them in relation to economic, ecological and social contexts. Moreover, Dugi Rat is an exceptionally complex task, but this is why it requires architectural vision  to reduce its complexity. In fact, the potential of architecture lies in the possibility to show a vision of development that can motivate imaginations of the political or economic kind.

Goli otok - reconstruction of an abandoned jail complex. This island is definitely the most controversial location, considering the historic and cultural aspects of the place. On the other hand, it offers a great basis for a unique project. How can this place be used to develop a project that will turn leaden and heavy history into a lighthouse of a future democratic, cultural, enlightened Croatia? It is necessary to find new strategies for a society that has replaced the ideal of Work with an ecologically based (green) high technology, a technology reflecting a society that got rid of the "sins" of the past.

Stari grad - civic centre: reprogramming and reconstruction. This location will be the most important "small town" program over the next years. The old socialist bunker theater should be transformed into a "glowing" multimedia center. This project depends almost exclusively on the quality of the architectural intervention, which should motivate local forces to start the realization.

Zadar - reconstruction of a military camp: reprogramming and reconstruction designed to accommodate educational facilities and public services. The vitality of the university (a public space replacing the old military complex) should spatially and conceptually overlap with the vision of new urban life in the Mediterranean. The task is almost calling for the definition of a new Mediterranean city.

Dubrovnik- reconstruction of the Old Hospital complex: reprogramming and reconstruction aimed to influence the quality of public life for the citizens through the creation of new public spaces and educational facilities. Since the context of Dubrovnik is always burdened with the iconic image of the old town, this project should maybe start a dialog with the past to set up rules for the future.

Working teams of architectural experts and representatives of non-governmental organizations have been formed on seven locations, using the initiatives of the civil society and the architectural imagination as the means of transforming space. The development of understandable and concrete proposals for programs and spaces will actualize the assumptions ranging from the public participation in space programming in an early phase to the continuous cooperation with local self-government, which should be willing to bring the draft plan to the final adoption. The working process of making proposals will include workshops, open debates and exhibitions. Considering the current media attraction of the project, they anticipate and enable the involvement of all the participants in the decision making process  from the citizens, professionals and government institutions to big capital (potential investors).
The first of several two-year activities covered by the project was the participation in the Second International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (2005), where the project received a special mention of the jury for "presenting an interesting example that shows how an untouched coast can face the growing pressure of capital". After one year, architectural concepts presented in the initial phase of the project at the Biennale have been modified in relation to the outcomes of research on real urban conditions in seven locations and presented within a single publication. Pilot projects presented in the publication and exhibition in Zagreb would function as base for a delineation of discussion on locations development potentials with an aim to develop agreed draft plan proposals that would finally be included into legally obliged spatial planning documentation for the specific location.

2.1 Pilot projects  base for a public debate, Zagreb, June 2006

Platforma 981: Labin is Mine
Public agency is the core of the strategy. It is a legal body that which should organize and animate the whole process of development. The idea is based on archaeology of collective experience of solidarity and self-management that once existed in the community in which every family had a miner. The basis of the new identity follows the historical prerequisites of coal mining: the framework of novelty is made by the cultural and industrial heritage, a commonality based on solidarity and the legacy of self-management.

Randi-Turato: A plateau for half a million people
The issue of the quarry and its conversion is not exclusively in the domain of urban planning regulations, which are the context of this project. The purposes and use of the space are determined by the regulations governed by the Physical Planning Act. The exploration of the quarry and the procedure of its closing are in the domain of other regulations, primarily the Mining Act, where the municipality has small or no influence. A project opened the possibility to harmonize the two documents, since the agreement between the Municipality and the quarry user would turn the project into the basis for determining both plans.

Ante Kuzmani d.o.o: URBOTANSCAPE © (urban  botanic  landscape)
Architects propose a strategy for Dugi Rat that would establish a coastline density level preserving the natural resources of Dalmatian islands. The project determines the network of streets and the division of fields. It  mellows or defines more precisely the urban planning rules in some parts, stressing and preserving the main concept: integrating the botanical landscape and urban structure along the main axis  the inherited infrastructural bone.

Studio UP: Re: Island 44Ú52' N/ 14Ú49' E
Because of its natural and historical features, Goli Otok as a memorial area and a  world heritage location needs to be seen as a whole, with a differentiation of the zones of memorial areas and zones of complementary contents. The newly created environment would operate as a self sustainable memorial landscape, a living museum  in situ , with national and global heritage, exploring the relationship between man, nature, society and technology, as a contribution to the sociological and economic development, humaneness and transformation of the Croatian society as a whole.

Produkcija 004: My dear water
The project proposes to reconstruct the unfinished theater from 1960 and turn it into a new town center. The architecture of the town center is another attempt to introduce the theme of water into the architecture of Stari Grad. The multifunctional nature of the structure, the combination of its commercial and non-commercial functions, should provide the Centre with a long-term way of self financing and prompt/motivate the local authorities to realize the project. The concept of water ecology applies to the architectural "internality of the structure used for developing social activism, critical discourse and various non-commercial activities.

de Architekten CIE (HR): Symbiotic Game
The working principle is a game of negotiation and strategies between 3 parties: the City of Zadar, the University of Zadar and Developer. It is a symbiotic system conditioned by the operation of different relationships: public/private partnership, high densities on locations, capital partnership models, time/space organization and management knowledge. GAME OVER? - START AGAIN! Develop University as an urban university, integrated with the city and its complementary brain-park. Support the development by implementation of individual prototypes. Challenge the interaction between them. Reach the win-win situation among the parties included involving them in a process of planning, decision making, profit and risk allocation.

3LHD: The Old Hospital / New University
The proposed strategy reconstructs the abandoned site of the hospital by introducing a new educational and public program into the unique natural park. The development of the site should be based on the preservation and protection of the identity. The organization of this new cultural and social structure should announce a new aspect of intellectual tourism, because the visitors could study in this Arcadian setting all year round.

Croatian Archipelago New Lighthouses is a project created jointly by the Berlage Institute and the Croatian Architects Association, financed by the Matra Programme of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
[1] S. Zanko:  Matra Project Programme, application for a grant  project Croatian Archipelago New Lighthouses , September 2004

[2]  Croatian Archipelago New Lighthouses, edited by Vladimir Mattioni, Zagreb, Kratis, 2006, pp. 146  398
Chefarchitekt, Stadt Bratislava
Consulting editor, Der Standard, Wien Chair

Dipl.-Ing. Christoph M. ACHAMMER

Professor, Lehrstuhl für Industriebau und interdisziplinäre Bauplanung, Technische Universität Wien; CEO, ATP Architekten und Ingenieure, Innsbruck/Wien

1977-1983 Studium der Architektur an der Technischen Universität Wien
1983-1987 Lehr- und Wanderjahre in Europa, Mittel- und Fernost und in den Vereinigten Staaten
1987 Eintritt als Architekturpartner bei ATP Achammer Tritthart & Partner, 1999 Gründungsgesellschafter und Vorstand, ATP Planungs- und Beteiligungs AG, Holding des architekturgeführten Gesamtplanungsunternehmens ATP Achammer-Tritthart & Partner, Architekten und Ingenieure, Innsbruck, Wien, München, Frankfurt, Zagreb, Prag
 Christoph Achammer ist CEO des Gesamtplanungsbüros ATP Architekten und Ingenieure, welches (nach gewonnenem Wettbewerb) das erste Hochbauprojekt in der Seestadt - ein Technologiezentrum, das aspern iq - umsetzt.
2001 Berufung zum Univ.-Professor für Industriebau und interdisziplinäre Bauplanung an die Technische Universität Wien, Institut für interdisziplinäres Bauprozessmanagement


President, Belgrade Town Planners Association, Belgrade

 Dr. Ruzica Bogdanovi holds BSc, Specialization, MS and Ph.D. in Urban and Spatial Planning from the University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia (Serbia).
1969 Dr. Bogdanovic obtained a BSc degree, with a thesis: "Preliminary Town Planning Design and a Detailed Plan for Reconstruction of Trstenik on Peljesac".
1969-1972 She worked first as a trainee and then as an architect in the design and construction company Invest Biro, on designing and implementing a number of architectural projects, town planning solutions, programs and competitions.
1973 She obtained a Specialization, with a research: "Elements for Urban Monograph of Pristina".
1978 She obtained a MSc degree, with a thesis: "Possibility of Semiological Research - Case Study of Belgrade, Investigating the Transformation of Traditional Heritage and its Participation in the Formation of the Contemporary City", at the University of Belgrade.
1975 She took up the position as Assistant in the Department for Urbanism and Traffic, at the Faculty of Transport in Belgrade, where she nowadays holds a Professorial position in Urbanism.
1987 She obtained her Ph.D., with a dissertation: "Streets - Structure and Typology: Case study of Belgrade Streets" at the University of Belgrade.
1995-2001 She has also taught Urbanism at the Faculty of Forestry, The University of Belgrade, both undergraduate and graduate courses.

Arch. Vedran MIMICA

Assistant Dean, Berlage Institute, Rotterdam

1979 Diploma as an architect-engineer, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Architecture
1979-1981 Post-graduate course, Diocletian Palace, Split
1984 Post-graduate course in Plecnik's Ljubljana
1985-1986 (and 1990-1991) Post-graduate Course, University of Delft
1979-1990 Architect, Researcher and Lecturer at the Faculty for Architecture, Zagreb
 Vedran has been lecturer, visiting critic and examiner at numerous schools of architecture all over the world. He organized serious of workshops and project in Zagreb, Split, Sarajevo, Ljubljana, Belgrade, and Tirana, as an attempt to develop cities in southeast Europe after a large-scale catastrophe caused by the war in former Yugoslavia.
 Currently he is a project leader of Matra Social Transformation Programme for Central and Eastern Europe of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a project "Croatian Archipelago New Lighthouses".
 Vedran is extensively engaged in the curatorial activities, currently curetting Croatian exhibition as well as the Berlage Institute exhibition at Venice Biennale.
 He is a head of the curatorial team for the 3rd International architecture Rotterdam Biennale 2007.
since 1991 Berlage Institute, Amsterdam: Vedran Mimica joined the Berlage Institute as Project Co-ordinator, by the invitation from Herman Hertzberger who was the founder and the first Dean of the Institute. Currently he is Associate Dean at the Berlage Institute responsible for creating the educational programme, composing the curriculum and guiding research activities.

Arch. Stefan SLACHTA

Chefarchitekt, Stadt Bratislava

1995 Professor an der Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Bratislava
1994-2000 Rektor der Akademie der Bildenden Künste
1998-2002 Abgesandter des Slow. Nationalrates
2002 Vorsitzender Slowakische Architektenvereinigung

Dr. Gerfried SPERL

Consulting editor, Der Standard, Wien

 Studium der Germanistik, Anglistik und Philosophie an der Universität Graz
bis 1982 Journalist der "Kleinen Zeitung"
1982-1987 Chefredakteur der "Südost-Tagespost"
1987-1988 Stellvertretender Chefredakteur des "Kurier"
1988 Mitbegründer des "Standard"
1992-2007 Geschäftsführender Chefredakteur der Tageszeitung "Der Standard"