Momentum: Contemporary Rijeka Architecture Through the Camera of David Šegić

The Momentum series of photographs shows selected objects of contemporary Rijeka architecture.

The selection covers a wide city area: from the Astronomical Centre and the buildings of the University Campus in the east, to the Central building of the City Cemetery in Drenova, and the Islamic Centre and the Zamet Hall in the west of the city. It is interesting that they were all built in a period of only seven years, between 2007 and 2013, obviously at a time very fruitful for the architecture of Rijeka. Their appearance in the city still inspires today.

The selected buildings are monumental (with the exception of the Astronomical Centre) and stand out from their surroundings, not only in size and public purpose, but also in design.

Their unusualness and deviation from standard urban spaces are further emphasised by the selection of photographic motifs that concentrate on the relationship of light and shadow, light and materiality, and the details of the architectural form. The secret life of these public buildings, such as abandoned spaces in time, was recorded. Namely, they were photographed in moments of rest when they were relaxed, caught only in a short moment of waiting for their visitors to return.

Most of the citizens do not go to some of the buildings so often, so the photos of the emptied interiors create a special atmosphere. Seemingly familiar places through a different view of the camera open up to a new world.

A somewhat surreal impression is created, and the spaces of the photographs move somewhere between the interior of the play, the scenery and the reality. It’s as if they’re telling us that a different city is possible.

Ana Orlić, curator of the exhibition

Astronomical Centre I Arhitektonsko-građevinski atelje (Architectural-building studio), 2009

Astronomical Centre was created by reconstructing an old military fort from the World War II, located at the top of the hill on the edge of Rijeka. Building spaces are divided in areas for educational programs (classroom, planetarium hall for digital projections of space, exhibition areas), scientific programs (observatory with a telescope, computer works hop, areas for scientific conferences) and leisure areas (coffee shop and a terrace with a viewpoint). The complex was shaped through interpolation of a new planetarium hall into the existing fort with the observatory. The new hall is shaped like a stylised meteorite, accentuated into an irregular poliedar executed in reinforced concrete.  Interior of the building hides a semi-sphere of the projection dome and a theatrical auditorium.

Drenova City Cemetery

Central building at Drenova city cemetery I Dinko Kovačić, 2007

The Central building is located at the southern edge of the contemporary city cemetery, the largest one  in Rijeka. The building is placed at the end of the axis of the central pedestrian route surrounded with greenery. At the southern part, the building opens towards wide seascape, while sliding glass panels allow for the space to lengthen to adjoining squares with porches, thus creating a unique ceremonial area. Two-level building is functionally separated into the ceremonial spaces – large and small mortuaries with accompanying funeral and administrative contents. The entire building is shaped with white rock, blue glass, colored concrete and olive wood.

Islamic Centre

Islamic Centre I Dušan Džamonja, Darko Vlahović, Branko Vučinović, 2013

Rijeka’s Islamic Centre is located on an isolated plateau next to the western exit from the city bypass, in the part of the city which is gradually being developed after the long period of disorder. While the drive on the city bypass unveils an unexpected vista of the mosque, the building is completely revealed upon arriving to its wide entrance square with views onto the Kvarner Bay. The building was constructed following the conceptual design of sculptor Dušan Džamonja, whose sculptural form is created from six sections of a sphere turned into an architectural volume. Designed as a place of gathering and religious and cultural ceremonies, as well as a place of meeting and connecting members of different religions and cultures, the Islamic Centre, apart from religious spaces of the mosque, also has offices, a restaurant, a coffee shop, meeting hall, conversation room, classrooms for Religious education and guest rooms. Praying area is covered with rounded reinforced concrete vaults that overlap, thus enabling basilica lighting and creating the illusion of the firmament.

University Campus

University Departments building, University Campus I Dario Gabrić, 2010

University Departments building is located behind the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and Faculty of Teacher Education building. It houses Department of Physics, Mathematics, Informatics and Biotechnology. Apart from University departments, the building also houses the Centre for micro- and nano-sciences and technologies, Centre for advanced computing and modelling and Learning and Teaching Support Centre. The building respects the characteristics of the terrain and fits into the whole of the surrounding build. Relationship between the building and the surroundings is also achieved through planned walking lines, which also improves the pedestrian flow of the entire campus.  

Zamet Hall

Zamet Hall I 3LHD, 2009

Zamet Hall is a part of the new Zamet Centre complex which unites its primary sports hall purpose and the public area containing local government offices, a branch of the city library, shops, cafes and a public garage located in the basement level. The acclaimed architectural studio 3LHD adjusted the plans to the terrain, forming irregular bands-volumes inspired by the traditional dry-stone walls. A dynamic facade formed with the use of 51000 ceramic tiles made exclusively for the coating of the Centre is a unique element of the project. From the urban viewpoint, Zamet Centre was designed in a way which minimally interrupts the existing urban structure, at the same time forming a connection between the parts of the neighbourhood. Today, the complex functions precisely as it was envisaged – it has become the centre of communal life.