Introducing Zadar


Of course a lot of people have felt over time that the buildings designed by Rašica and Milić were mistakes, concrete eyesores that took the heart and soul out of a historical city. However they were a logical response to Zadar’s wartime destruction, and nowadays have become classics in their own right.

They also fit in rather well with Zadar’s current transformation into an innovative Adriatic city of the present day, a place in which a piece of centuries-old masonry can stand alongside a sound-and-light installation like Greeting to the Sun. The so-called Rašica building, the pale concrete slab that runs along one side of the Forum, looks just as serene and well-proportioned as its significantly older neighbours, especially now that the Forum area has been thoroughly renovated and re-landscaped by architect Ante Uglešić.

Zadar’s Boutique Hostel, a modern-interior headline-grabber designed by Studio Up and Damir Gamulin Gamba, is an adaptation of one of Bruno Milić’s modernist blocks on the Kalelarga. An important aspect of the project was that Milić’s original façade had to remain unchanged.

Incomplete and controversial though it is, the modernist projects of the Fifties and Sixties have had a profound effect on Zadar’s urban look. The upcoming projects of the future, such as the ambitious Gates of Zadar project entrusted to Sea-Organ author Nikola Bašić, can only be seen in the context of these earlier utopian predecessors.

Jonathan Bousfield

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