Hrvoje Njiriç, born in Zagreb in 1960 and graduated from the Architectural Faculty of the University of Zagreb (1986). Between 1979 and 1986 he went into a partnership with Helena Njiric in Zagreb and Graz. He has been Visiting Professor at the TU Graz, Austria, the AF Ljubljana, the Facolta di Architettura, Ferrara, Italy and at the ETSAM Madrid. He also was professor and head of the Institute for Architectural Typologies and Housing at the TU Graz (successor of Guenther Domenig).
In the times when tourism strategies are reduced to attract visitors with shallow, banal and simple-minded agendas, top-notch destinations relate their efficiency to the extent of disneyfied space they have to offer. The entire cities are turned into theme-parks full of scenic imagery and artificial constructs – Venice, Dubrovnik, xxxxx, you name it.
«Show your Disney side» suggests instant amusement, benign playfulness, innocent morality, disclosure of subliminal and surrender to the childish in you. However, studies show that Disney world reveals a number of contradictory aspects, some of them quite opposite to the well-known and so much loved ideals of the perfect world of hope and joy. Racial stereotypes, satanic imagery, subliminal messaging, awkward body-types, historical inaccuracies – all deeply embedded in the movies of Disney production. Messages such as – beauty is moral, ugliness is immoral, sexual harassment is acceptable, social status counts, everything is fluffy, all may have a serious impact on kids.
How to make an architectural agenda out of this inconsistencies? Especially bearing in mind that Disney himself, aside from the theme-parks, desperately craved to create a future city (APCOT).
The task of this educational unit is to propose a temporary housing layout for the south-eastern quadrant of the Diocletian's Palace in Split, Croatia. In this ancient, 17 centuries old palace/city a contemporary intervention should be extremely well portioned and subtle. As the palace is threatened to become a disneyfied theme-park itself, devoid of real life and work, Disney-related strategies and counter-strategies should be applied and demonstrated. Finally, a sustainable solution should be considered and driven by exceptional respect towards the historic surroundings.
The assignment is three-fold: to place the housing stock in a highly articulated historical heritage, to conceptualize the houses and their adjacent public space with Disney in mind and to figure out a sustainable design.