This new complex in integrates an old distillery and a storied Gorica factory into its design.

Popular Architecture have devised a master plan of boulder-like mixed-use structures for the Badel Block competition to redesign a former industrial site in the heart of Zagreb, Croatia. In keeping with the competition rules, the firm integrated both an on-site decommissioned distillery building and the preserved facade of the storied Gorica factory into their scheme, with the latter acting as the gateway to the new complex.

With this reference point established, the architects then sketched the footprints of three "micro blocks" that subdivide the flat open site into a tapestry of internal courtyards and corridors feeding into the main public space at the center of the plan.

View east



View west



Next, the architects extruded the building footprints nine stories upwards, creating a monolithic ensemble of blocs with maximum floor area and building envelope from which to chip away and freely sculpt. Both environmental factors, such as sunlight and air circulation, and programmatic concerns, like the legibility of retail and private zones or the framing of the adjacent historic structures determined–or, at least, outlined–the scope of the form-making.


The resultant archipelago-like clusters may be interpreted in several ways: the complex can be built up over time with aggregated volumes developed my multiple owners and fashioned accordingly; rendered as “ziggurats” with stepped profiles that lend themselves to ubiquitous roof gardens and terraces; or filled with voids or communal spaces, strategically placed at the junction of sloped and rectilinear volumes so as to promote inter-connectivity among the micro-blocks. “Rather than indulge in architectural specificity,” say the architects, "the design ultimately works to secure durable urban conditions supporting negotiation and participation."

This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.

About the Author

Samuel Medina

Samuel Medina is a contributor to Architizer.

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