The Interdisciplinary Community Art Project (human-urban network) started in 2004. in order to restore commonly shared “spaces” of the residential building block in Laginjina street 7 and 9 in Zagreb (elevators, facades, roof terraces, staircases, etc.) while reflecting on its tangible and intangible heritage as resources of sustainable renovation, maintenance, and use.
Project leadership and concept: Boris Bakal
Collaborators: Martin Semenčić, Plakor Kovačević, Katarina Pejović, Stanko Juzbašić, Petar Paradžik, Jasna Juras, Vesna Prichard, Gorana Matić, Sandra Uskoković, Dražen Scholz Šolc, Adam Luka Turjak, Sonja Leboš, Anja Raičević, Vladimir Mattioni, Niko Gamulin, Mirko Bogosavac, Milan Žerjav, Srdjan Kovachevich, Krešimir Bedek, Martin Draušnik, Tamara Petir, lLinkt!, Ljiljana Zagorec, Katja Šimunić, Barbara Blasin, Luka Rukavina, Zeljko Q Blace, Damir Klemenić, Marija Županić, obitelj Šafar, [arh. Boris Magaš], Bogdan Budimirov, Jakša Zlatar, [arh. Fedor Kritovac], Jasna Marušić, Branka Cvjeticanin, Vesna Vuković, Davor Rocco, Matija Kolarić, Dijana Otročak, Ratimir Pavešić, Feđa Vukić, Maroje Mrduljaš, [Zdenka Heršak, famous Croatian actress], Tomislav Pavlić, Nenad Romić, arch. Robert Loher and many others.
International collaboration: Emilio Caravatti (IT), Rural Studio (USA), Nebojša Milikić (SRB), Emanuele Piccardo (IT), Lynn i Ned Kable (USA), Primož Vitez (SLO), Riitta Salastie (Fi), etc.
Project partners: DAZ, UHA, Multimedijalni institut/MaMa, Clubture network, Drugo More, BLOK, Multimedijalni centar Split, Infoshop škatula, Galerija Modulor/CKT, Galerija Camera Opscura (HR), Accademia delle belle arti di Genova (IT), Sveučilište Leiden (NL), NeMe (CY), REX/B92 (SRB) and many others.
Grants and support: Ured za kulturu grada Zagreba, DAZ, Ministarstvo kulture RH, HAVC, Program MEDIA EU.
Location of the building: Laginjina street 7-9, Zagreb, Croatia
Status: registered national monument (since 2005)
Duration of the project: 2003.-2015.
Date of building construction: 1956.-1962.
Author of the building: architect Ivan Vitić
Author of the renovation study: arch. Alan Braun (Architectural Faculty, Zagreb)
City of Zagreb renovation project supervisor: arch. Zrinka Paladino (Vice director of the Zagreb Bureau for the Protection of Cultural and Natural Monuments)
Representatives of co-owners: arch. Gorana Matić and Petar Paradžik
Estimated cost of renovation: 1.6 million euro
Building surface: 10.600m²
Award: main Yugoslavian architectural award for the best realization of a residential building in architecture in 1962. (award of the daily newspaper Borba)
Description: The building is comprised of 72 apartments (9 x 3.5 bedrooms; 36 x 3 bedrooms; 4 x 2 bedrooms; 20 x 1 bedroom; 3 x 2 bedrooms), arranged over 10 (3 and 4) stories in a building block of three units with the main skyscraper suspended on large piloti (stone columns). The building incorporated public and utility facilities/ workshops, including a hotel (now transformed into more apartments) and a café bar. The building also has a large basement (coal deposit), which is empty and ready for new usage. The National Bank’s Residential block in Zagreb is an extraordinary contextual example of collective housing that embraces the postulates of post-war international modernism, inspired by Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and De Stijl. Its unique quality is recognized in its urban disposition (by transforming the urban regulation of the site), its design and form with picturesque painterly characteristics, its housing typology (the organization of the building and the specific layout of its apartments), which all together underline and promote the idea of egalitarian and democratic housing of late modernist era and the living paradigm of new urban spaces and models. The architectural style of Vitić encompasses multiple layers, from contextual, social, formal and, aesthetic, morphological, to the traditional and cultural layer, thus creating an outstanding legacy of Croatian post-war architectural identity.
Chronology of the project:
2023 – April – The world premiere of the feature documentary “Vitic Dances” will be held at International Zagreb Dox Festival 2023.
2022 – (August 25) – The filming of the feature documentary “Vitic Dances” is finished, and until December 31, the whole postproduction (lasting 5 years) is completed.
2018 – (May 25) The official renovation of the Vitić’s condominium complex was declared finished.
2016 – (February 3) After more than a decade of struggle, the co-owners/ occupants of the building with the Shadow Casters have achieved the desired goal: the renovation of the building has begun and will last for almost two years.
2015 -2018 – Restoration of this residential block (funded by co-owners and the City of Zagreb) is planned.
2015 – The representatives of the Shadow Casters, Sandra Uskoković and Boris Bakal present the projects, initiatives, realizations, and methodology of their and their partners’ work through four lectures at the University of Copenhagen.
2014 – (November 9-14) The Shadow Casters (Sandra Uskoković and Boris Bakal) present the project to renovate the National Bank’s Residential Block by the architect Ivan Vitić at the ICOMOS General Conference in Florence, with the overall process that led to the renovation. This is a part of the conference that is specifically concerned with restoration and heritage projects initiated by the local community. They also highlight the importance of recognizing such an artistic and grass-root initiative by the professional community and responsible institutions in the city and country. This is the beginning of the initiative and the contribution of the Shadow Casters to the complex interdisciplinary European process of restoring modern and contemporary architecture and architectural heritage. The introductory speeches (Salvatore Settis, Monica Pasqua Recchia) and announcements of individual conference sessions (Amerigo Restucci, Paolo Salonia, and Sheridan Burke to name a few), have already shown that this is a fundamental shift in thinking about heritage, that there are pretty strong tendencies according to a holistic approach and a serious exchange of knowledge at the planetary level. ICOMOS Italy already offered in this introductory session its Wiki page with various examples of traditional knowledge from all over the world that they consider possible to be applied very successfully on a planetary level, especially in the so-called developed world, which often has an invasive approach solving problems, without the fundamental principle of regionality, without thinking about specificity; whether political, geographical or climatic. At this part of the General Assembly, the linking of material heritage and landscape preservation (landscape, environment, environment) is also presented.
2014 – (September 15 – October 12) Presentation of the Vitić Dances project at the International Festival of Architecture and Urbanism in Prague, Czech Republic. Sandra Uskoković and the intermediate artist Boris Bakal presented the work and life of one of the most important and prolific representatives of Croatian modern architecture – Ivo Vitić. The theme of one of the segments of this year’s festival is Architectural Heritage and World Architectural Icons; therefore, the Shadow Casters were invited to exhibit and present Ivo Vitić’s entire oeuvre, with particular emphasis on 1958/61 National Bank Block in Laginjina Street in Zagreb, but also the whole ten-year effort of the Shadow Casters advocating the restoration of this cultural monument of the Republic of Croatia and the masterpiece of post-war modernism of domestic and world architecture. The Shadow Casters presented a model of the skyscraper in Laginjina Street (the author of the model is architect Marko Ambruš) at the festival, with also the photographs of other representative architectural buildings of Ivo Vitić (from the archive of the Shadow Casters, Unknown Zagreb, Loose Associations and fellow architects) and a short film about Vitić, the building in Laginjina street and its restoration. This is the greatest presentation of the work of the architect Ivo Vitić since his death in 1986.
2014 – (May 28) International workshop(s) on the project Vitić Dances (Society of Architects, Zagreb). The project is a platform for discussion and encouragement of interdisciplinary thinking and reflection beyond classical or traditional heritage concepts and categories to meet more alternative methodological frameworks oriented toward fundamental reconceptualization and reconstruction of the foundations of heritage values, practices, and ethics. A community art project focuses on Vitić’s skyscraper in Laginjina street 7-9 in Zagreb, which is a masterpiece of modern architecture, created in the late 1950s and registered as a cultural property but has been in a very poor state of neglect and decay for decades, threatening lives of its tenants as well as citizens/passers-by of the city of Zagreb. The announced renovation of Vitić’s skyscraper in 2015. represents one of the largest investments in the area of residential architecture in Croatia (funded by co-owners and the City of Zagreb).
2014 – (February 27) The Society of Architects of Zagreb and the artistic organization The Shadow Casters held a panel: Will Vitić’s Skyscraper Dance Again? The panel was moderated by the director Mario Kovač and participated by: Alan Braun, Krešimir Galović, Sandra Uskoković, Marko Sančanin, representatives of the co-owners of the building in Laginjina 9 and 7, Zrinka Paladino of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Boris Bakal of the Shadow Casters.
Other participants: Petar Paradžik, representative of the co-owners of the building, Zlatko Uzelac from the IPU, and the former co-minister of culture.
The initial topics of conversation were: Methodology and challenges of the renovation and revitalization of modern architecture residential buildings, Energy efficiency and sustainable development of buildings, The artistic value and importance of Vitić’s skyscraper, Financial aspects of renovation, The role and involvement of the local community in the preservation of tangible and intangible heritage.
Since this is not a renovation of an abandoned medieval castle, the administrative building of a state, or a city institution, but of the building where people currently live, the challenges are much greater. If this renovation is successfully carried out, it will become a successful example to all buildings, both in Zagreb and in Croatia, because, as experts say, “apart from the well-known ancient buildings of which our tourism lives, Zagreb and Croatia have something to show when it comes to contemporary works of architecture.” The tenants of these valuable buildings are often unaware of this, as was the case with Vitić’s skyscraper.
2013 – The documentary film “Vitic Dances” won grants from HAVC (Croatian audiovisual center), the City of Zagreb Audiovisual Board, the EU Media Program and got co-production proposals from Croatian and Polish TV, as well as from the Al-Jazeera Network.
2012-2013 – The documentary film “Vitic Dances” is invited for the one-year development program Ex-Oriente in the Czech Republic.
2012 – Second pitching of the movie “Vitic Dances” at the Zagreb Documentary Film Festival – ZGDOX.
2011 – (December) Decision on co-financing of the building restoration by the City of Zagreb.
2007 – 2022 – Filming of the documentary movie about the project Vitić Dances.
2007 – First pitching of the movie “Vitic Dances” at the Zagreb Documentary Film Festival.
2006 – Video and photo documentation of the project ‘Vitić Dances’ became a documentary movie called Concrete Love.
2006 – Creation of the Architects in Residence program (in one of the building’s apartments).
2006-2014 – Man is Space: Vitić Dances – presentations and lectures (Limassol, Prague, Belgrade, Split, Genoa, Amsterdam, Dubrovnik, Hamburg, Manchester…).
2006-2007 – Man is Space: Other Architecture – workshop and lectures (Limassol, Prague, Belgrade, Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Genova, Amsterdam, Dubrovnik…).
2006 -2007 – Restoration of the building elevators.
2005-2008 – Creation of the building memory archive and the neighborhood memory archive.
2005-2006 – Numerous multidisciplinary research programs, lectures, and cultural and artistic activities (concerts, performances) in and around the building.
2005 – Workshop Vitić Dances: second circle – methodology of the human-urban network (Zagreb, Split, Rijeka).
2005 – Exhibition Vitić Dances – presentation of this multilayered project (Zagreb, Split, Rijeka).
2004 – 2006 – Creation of the human-urban interdisciplinary network (Shadow Casters with: co-owners, larger neighborhood community, city and state institutions, professional associations, and NGOs).
2004 -2007 – Creation of the building’s history archive and activation of its co-owners.
2004 -2005 – Extended house council meetings (architects, writers, and artists acting as inhabitants and co-owners – using Augusto Boal’s theater of oppressed techniques).
2004 – Working methods: open offices (a tent in front of the building or in the neighborhood with activists and artists explaining the project and making inquiries).
2004 – Re-conceptualization of the project in order to save and restore this masterpiece of modern architecture that was in a deteriorating state and threatened the lives of its 256 inhabitants.
2004 – Croatian artist Boris Bakal (Shadow Casters) moved into the building and started a complex interdisciplinary endeavor (permanent artistic interventions and programs in and around the building, with consistent social engagement) while aiming to raise public awareness of its tenants and the local community.
2003 – Preparation of the international interdisciplinary site-specific and community project – Vitić dances.
You can see the media presence of the project here.
Collaborators on community Art project "Vitić Dances": Plakor Kovačević, Katarina Pejović, Stanko Juzbašić, Petar Paradžik, Jasna Juras, Vesna Prichard, Gorana Matić, Sandra Uskoković, Dražen Scholz Šolc, Adam Luka Turjak, Sonja Leboš, Anja Raičević, Vladimir Mattioni, Niko Gamulin, Mirko Bogosavac, Milan Žerjav, Srdjan Kovachevich, Krešimir Bedek, Martin Draušnik, Tamara Petir, lLinkt!, Ljiljana Zagorec, Katja Šimunić, Barbara Blasin, Luka Rukavina, Zeljko Q Blace, Damir Klemenić, Marija Županić, obitelj Šafar, [arh. Boris Magaš], Bogdan Budimirov, Jakša Zlatar, [arh. Fedor Kritovac], Jasna Marušić, Branka Cvjetičanin, Vesna Vuković, Davor Rocco, Matija Kolarić, Dijana Otročak, Ratimir Pavešić, Feđa Vukić, Maroje Mrduljaš, Zdenka Heršak, Tomislav Pavlić, Nenad Romić, Robert Loher and many others
International Collaborators: Emilio Caravatti (IT), Rural Studio (USA), Nebojša Milikić (SRB), Emanuele Piccardo (IT), Lynn i Ned Kable (USA), Primož Vitez (SLO), Riitta Salastie (FI).
Partners: DAZ, UHA, Multimedijalni institut/MaMa, Clubture network, Drugo More, BLOK, Multimedijalni centar Split, Infoshop škatula, Galerija Modulor/CKT, Galerija Camera Opscura (HR), Accademia delle belle arti di Genova (IT), Sveučilište Leiden (NL), NeMe (CY), REX/B92 (SRB) and many others.
Grants for Comunity Art project "Vitić Dances": Zagreb Citi Council for Arts and Culture, DAZ/UHA (Zagreb and Croatian Associations for architects), Ministry for Culture and Media of Republic of Croatia
Grants for feature documentary film "Vitić Dances": HAVC (Croatian audiovisual center), Program MEDIA EU, Croatian National TV,
The film was also developed through: Zagreb Dox Festival Pro workshops (2007 and 2012), Program Ex-Oriente (2012-2013), and Raw Cut Liburnia film festival workshop (2021-2022)