EXPOSING
EAST AND CENTRAL
EUROPEAN

ARCHITECTURE

Location: Zagreb, Croatia
Architecture Studio: NOP Studio/ NOPS
Author: Ivan Galic
Collaborators: Drazen Bankovic, Sasa Kalanj
Construction: Kresimir Tarnik – Gif Studio
Client: Zagorjegradnja doo
Function: collective housing
Site area: 950 sqm
Built area: 600 sqm
Construction: 2007 – 2008
Photographs: Robert Leš
Text by Maroje Mrduljaš (Oris magazine responsible editor, Mies van der Rohe prize – independent expert): FN house – Together and yet apart

FN House in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, is an example of residential architecture that combines the subjects of common living and a family house. This sensitive subject is one of the leading determinants of higher level housing construction in the Croatian suburbs, especially in Zagreb. Project was approached rationally in order to satisfy the market demands of building for an unknown user while at the same time achieving high architectural and residential quality through inventive concepts of houses. The project also entered into critical polemics with the expansion typical for all Croatian suburban areas and articulated building as a cluster of many individualized elements.

Moreover, it is an extension of the tradition of modernist buildings that have been very common in Zagreb since the 1930s and thus establishes a cultural continuity and converts healthy principles of building heritage into a contemporary situation.

It is especially important to note that the building relates to the surrounding public space in a harmonious and logical way. Zoning conditions such as keeping the street corridor free have been interpreted in the sense of a correct relationship to the public domain and in the sense of developing the functioning of the house on a topographically complicated location. The organization of the plot has been intelligently thought through: open space is retracted in the borders of the building beneath which the terrain freely flows and so the body of the house creates its own micro-urban context.

The house consists of 4 residential units integrated by a common entrance area. One residential unit stretches through the “floating” elevated ground floor while the other three are situated in separate mini towers whose height is two and three floors respectively. The basic concept of the apartments in towers is simply and consequently carried out: in the lower, entrance floor there is the area with bedrooms and bathrooms while upper floors have been used for attractive living rooms with kitchens and dining room areas, which are oriented to both sides. Frontal sides of these apartments are of glass and adequately use the favorable position on a hill in order to enable nice views towards the picturesque surrounding and Zagreb. All the apartments have loggias or spacious terraces whose intimacy has been preserved by protecting them from the neighbors’ views. Even though the disposition of the house is relatively simple, a whole series of different relationship between the open interior space has been achieved and thus each residential unit opens up differently towards its own outer extensions, which are situated on the ground floor, on the flat roof of the first floor and the roof of the mid and highest block.

The look of the house is geometrically simple as well as specific because it introduces an
urban identity into a suburban ambiance. The compositional concept directly stems from the disposition of residential units and the supporting system. Closed sides of the prism function statically as high-walled girders, which enabled the console projection of the volume above the hill.

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