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Investor: The National Museum of Zadar
Architects: Iva Letilović and Igor Pedišić
Photographer: Miljenko Bernfest
Contractor: Duca, Stipčević, Ploter, Franto, and others
Total layout area: 200 m²
Duke’s Palace and Providure in Zadar are the largest preserved historical complexes within the City nucleus that remained standing after the devastating allied bombing during the World War II.
In 1991 Duke’s Palace became a target of heavy bombing from one of the City’s barracks. It was demolished, so as to become unusable.
However, several years ago a static and constructional rebuilding was undertaken and completed. Since 2011 the works have begun on the design projects for the Heritage Museum (Baštinski muzej) which is to be situated within the Duke’s Palace and adjacent Palace Providura with which it forms a single urban structure.
Recession kept moving the expected deadlines for the project, the curators were left without the exhibition space, and the Palace remained deserted, like frozen building site.
At present, Duke’s Palace is a skeleton of a building, in its interior completely bare, with visible stone and brick walls with wooden ceiling beams and barreled vaults. The floors were dug up and stand as a reminder of the conducted archeological researches.
The exposed interior of the Palace is an interesting exhibit to be shown to the visitors as it reveals the story of its existence through the centuries. Now, and never again, its hidden face can be seen, for as soon as the Museum is realized this constructional skeleton will have its new skin and the story of the history of this significant building will be a tale on paper.
We used this extraordinary present state of affairs, its strangeness and its appealing force to realize an exhibition space within its frozen site. Project of “Temporary exhibition halls” is really just a big cleaning of the site: pipes, tubes, scaffolding, capes, boards, nets etc. occupy new positions and create new forms.
Inside the enfilade of halls of the Palace new enfilade of “cages” is formed. A series of exhibition pontoons were created. They are dilated away from the walls, ceilings and also the floors and are connected with each other with wooden footways, tunnels. These “lake dwellings” create a new volumes inside the volume of the Palace hall.
The project was realized solely through donations. Each “cage” was built by one of many construction companies from Zadar. They were built from the recycled building materials, and, when the time comes to implement the Museum, each constructor will dismantle its “cage” and the material may be even used on the same site again.