Architects as Managers of Change in Croatia
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. Architectural responses to these conditions occurred as a 'semantic nightmare' of the post-modern discourse and/or the attempted completion of 'the modern project'.
In Croatia, transition occurred as a quantum leap from the Socialist, one-party, state-controlled market system, into a capitalist, parliamentary democratic, free-market system. In 1989, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, disappeared the raison d'etre of the 'buffer zone', known as Yugoslavia. A Pandora's box of political nightmares was opened. Yugoslavia disintegrated into 5 new independent nation-states: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia- Herzegovinia, Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The surprising national optimism and excitement upon which these states were formed quickly back-fired. The war, in the beginning of the 1990s, completely destroyed the Croatian economy, especially the tourist industry. The war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the mid-1990s, transformed Croatia into an enormous refugee camp. The compounded effects of war and transition of the political and economic system, in fact, placed Croatia amongst the levels of Third World countries. A corresponding cultural transition, returned Croatia to the romantic nationalist sentiments of the mid-19th century. The transitional field within the Croatian architectural profession of the 1990s was widened to surrealistic dimensions while a simultaneous narrowing of actual realizations occurred. In order to survive, architects had to fundamentally change their status and role within society. The architect was no longer a 'gentleman' with bow-tie and cigar waiting for a patron to develop canonical national institutions of historical importance.
Randic-Turato are able to anticipate and transform this transitional atmosphere. An Architecture of Transition is a way of intervening in the new market conditions where the 'role assignments' are no longer grounded in the established state-regulated economy. The architect becomes an 'extra', a free-lance actor without a previously assigned role, without a script.
Randic-Turato are transitional architects who have fully understood and accepted these realities without 'ontological disturbances' and professional nostalgia. In the free, non-regulated market, they use even the slightest opportunity for activity. Their work is widening the traditional field of the architectural profession, whereby Randic-Turato have become dynamic managers of change.
The city of Rijeka represents the historical and conceptual background of Randic-Turato. Historically, geographically and...