Touristic Development in the Istrian Peninsula, Puntizela, Croatia

Instructors: Prof. Jorge Silvetti Teaching Associate Ivan RupnikThis studio will explore the impact of contemporary large-scale tourism in Puntizela, a prime virgin location in the Croatian coast of the Adriatic Sea in the Mediterranean basin. Our research tool will be an architectural and landscape project addressing the development a large, 16 Hectares (40 acres) parcel on the waterfront where a 65.000 sq mts.(700,000 sqft) of construction of sellable/leasable/rentable spaces will be located. The seemingly inoffensive, perfunctory program – a number of free-standing villas, duplexes, a mini hotel with supporting program and a club house – will provide us with a conventional tool to explore the most pressing and volatile issues that such site, in such location at this particular time raises. Summarily, they are as follows:1. Cultural Heritage: Preservation/continuity/interpretation. The Istrian region of Croatia, where the project is located evolved over the centuries as a favorite idyllic retreat leaving an extremely rich legacy of architectural and artistic treasures. A favorite coastal region for the affluent, the powerful and the artistically inclined (i.e., from Diocletian and the rich Roman generals of his Roman imperial retinue to Marshal Tito and the communist bureaucrats, including Gustav Mahler and the Viennese cultural elite of the late Hapsburg Empire, etc.), it is dotted with the remains and vestiges of opulent maritime villas, and a wealth of urban settlements still bearing the marks of Roman urbanism, Venetian trade, Belle Ipoque hotels and all its monuments and service infrastructure. Since antiquity development has been organic and consistent but on the eve of what would be inevitable large-scale interventions it is not ready (or willing) to accept the unchecked rules of a free market development, which is looking at this prime sites with expected voracity. The Studio will pay special attention to this important formal as well as conceptual heritage in interpreting and testing the program.Native Ecological Context: a restoration of the natural Mediterranean flora, which has been obliterated in recent interventions, will be a goal of the landscape and planning strategies. With the help of consultants, we will aim at a general understanding of larger regional issues of ecology and development that would impact our site, and would allow the studio to consider alternative landscape approaches that could serve as models for this largely underdeveloped region.Architectural tourist typologies: the phenomenon of contemporary tourism, undoubtedly one of the major engines of general economic and physical development in contemporary societies would be the pervading dominant theme which will engage us all with all its cultural, critical and philosophical ramifications. Thematization, shopping, entertainement and the sex industry (the dominant factors in the touristic industry\’s imagination) are among the subjects we would like to address . Within the context of this general exploration and its polemics, each student would be expected to develop appropriate architectural typologies and to articulate a position vis a vis the iconographic programs that the tourism industry promotes. Legal framework for private and public coastal development: A new and unexplored instance of the typical tension between private development and public space would be our fourth issue that would help us frame the work of the studio. The Ministry of Environmental Protection, Physical Planning and Construction is implementing very recent new laws regulating coastal development in Croatia. With little precedent to rely on in terms of how they are to be applied, the studio will study these laws in order to generate a set of possible interpretations that will serve as foundations for the expected alternative design solutions. The design proposals advanced by the studen