- Project team: Josip Mičetić, Miro Roman, Luka Vlahović
- Collaborators: Iva Baljkas, Luka Franješević, Sanja Horvatinčić, Nikša Laušin, Petra Tomljanović, Ivan Viđen
- Year: 12/2011
- Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Area: 23 500 m²
- Type: urban adaptation
How to enhance the urbanity of a preserved historic city without menacing its vitality and capacity to blend different lifestyles? The Dubrovnik Pacemaker project is governed by the idea of negotiating the coexistence of the radical change (active) and the radical stasis (passive). The radical change is necessary in a city where life is made difficult by the factors such as an inadequate infrastructure, the lack of public space and a very high influx of visitors, while at the same time it is necessary to preserve invaluable cultural wealth of the old Dubrovnik.
The Renaissance 15th and 16th century Dubrovnik was a powerful trading center, one of the world's capitals; today, under UNESCO protection, it is known as one of the world's biggest museums. Dubrovnik of tomorrow will no longer be perceived so unambiguously; it is now crossing the walls and becoming a modern city embellished by a large museum.
The key element of the Dubrovnik Pacemaker project is conceived through the concept of implants. The implant, an invisible element embedded in the body of the city, is aimed at strengthening the heartbeat of the city, solving the problem of the spiraling population by establishing connections and circulation within the city. The implant successfully manipulates and transforms the already inadequate parts of the city, while its basic mechanism remains hidden. The Dubrovnik Pacemaker project is an infrastructure-oriented project which offers a radical rethinking of the city moat, the walls and the contact zone. Historical continuity reveals constant changes in the area below the walls: during the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy the Renaissance moat had been transformed into today's transport belt, thus changing the ambient of the walls. Dubrovnik Pacemaker envisions complete affirmation of the space by transforming the hidden implant into a green area – the park Dubrovnik cooler.
LAZARETI VS. DUBROVNIK PACEMAKER
Lazareti, the key infrastructural element of the Renaissance city, is taken as a thinking point in the development of the Dubrovnik Pacemaker project. The area of Lazareti used to be an urban waiting-room, a transitory space which required a 40-day detention before entering the city. The idea of Dubrovnik Pacemaker is similar in its origin, but with the basic strategy of implanting and minimizing the apparent intervention. Today's utilitarian infrastructural elements effectively minimize the amount of time spent in them - it is now reduced to "40 seconds".
By removing the existing traffic, the moat area is transformed into the park Dubrovnik cooler. It is the final capping of the implant in form of a park. The greenery around the walls functions as an intermission before entering the city. The so-called Dubrovnik cooler – a cleanup space, relaxation area – is exactly the green public space which the city desperately needs. It enriches the city by dignifying its monumental walls, while offering an integrated view and gathering spot for visitors before entering the city. Dubrovnik cooler is a vague reference to the local cultural topos – Renaissance summer house gardens, as a space of pastoral tranquility and deep shade, where nature becomes a skillfully decorated area identified with the notion of order, freedom, beauty, sublimity. The function of the cooler is in fact utilitarian, enriched with different thematic garden elements: Mediterranean and aromatic plant garden, children's games, music, sports, meditation, gourmet delights ... Dubrovnik cooler is an attempt to activate the quality of life outside the walls where each citizens can feel like owning their private garden.
DESIGNING PROCESS - STARTING EVOLUTION
The Dubrovnik Pacemaker project is a process which serves to create Dubrovnik's identity outside the walls. It also creates public urban spaces such as forecourts and rings of greenery. The project pays special attention to the scale and the importance of the city, which is no longer perceived as a closed and archived city-museum. On the contrary, it rethinks the concept of the city-museum and affirms the idea of "the city outside the city". At the same time, is provides a necessary development strategy on several levels: the implementation of infrastructure elements, highlighting the natural aspect and encouraging the variety of its contents, and the affirmation of the city walls.