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Spanjola – Turning fortress into a creative hub

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Turning Spanjola Fortress into a creative hub

Turning Spanjola Fortress into a creative hub (Herceg Novi, Montenegro)

Montenegro’s rich cultural heritage is a part of the country’s unique appeal. Herceg Novi, the city of fortresses and towers – is home to some of the most precious monuments of our history. One of its landmarks is the Spanish fortress, or locally known as Španjola. Over the past decades, negligence and the lack of investment tainted its glory – but the Ministry of Culture and UNDP joined their forces to revive it. We launched an innovation challenge to engage with architects, professional associations, institutions and companies – and give these old walls a whole new purpose.

We received 18 competition entries from over 60 architects clustered in teams, coming from Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia and Austria. The jury, professionals from different fields of architectural expertise, selected the best and most innovative solutions.

The winners availed themselves of a sizeable prize fund in the total amount of 24,000 USD:

  • I prize:  US$ 15,000.00 for the team under code 3003
  • II prize: US$ 6,000.00 for the contestant under the code URBSH0808
  • III prize: US$ 3,000.00 under code the 85340
tvrdjava spanjola herceg novi crna gora tvrđava španjola
Fortress Spanjola – the winning Creative Hub Concept

The winning team (code 3003) is comprised of architects: Nikola Novaković, Marija Novaković, Bogdan Kušević, Đina Prnjat, Nikoleta Savić, Saša Radojković, Nemaja Mitrović, Katarina Pašić – from Montenegro.

The concept is based on the overlapping and constant interaction between the future and the past, their final meeting point, where in two layers of time have been clearly defined, aiming to speak of their respective periods. This proposal presents a contemporary architectural intervention of reversible character. The originality of aesthetic expression is achieved by combining preservation of the existing structures with translucent polycarbonate defining the contours of the missing parts. The visually unimposing material is partly transparent, of great thermal and fireproof performances. It provides artists with diffused light during the day, and a constant interaction between the interior and the exterior. Users have access to infinity in a limited space, they are granted freedom!

The second prize went to code URBSH0808 – architect Ana Radovanović from Montenegro.

The originality and innovativeness of the design is reflected in the intention of the designer to retain and protect the identity of the place through preserving the authenticity of the cultural property. It ensured connection between traditional and modern architecture. It focused on the symbolic significance of the site, as well as the seamless connection between the city and the Spanjola Fortification. The author presented very good functionality and communications within the old fortress, both for the tourists and residents. The new material is corten (metal), is used only for necessary interventions and is consistent with the existing stone. This material gives significance to all traditional elements and has advantages of fast installation and durability to achieve sustainability.

The third place was taken by the team under code 85340: Marko Aracki,  Srećko Andrijanić and Katarina Nikolić, from Serbia.

Originality and innovative solution is shown through connection of three identities in to one: historical, artistic and sustainable. The authors kept the spirit of the fortress, while at the same time ensuring visibility of contemporary interventions. This solution combines restoration of the existing structures and construction of new ones. The innovative approach was achieved through the interventions that preserve cultural values of the fortress and allow for artistic identity at the same time. By using local stone, fishing rope, bales of hay and reused wood pallets for artistic environments, the authors embed sustainability in the very DNA of the fortress. These affordable, lightweight and local materials are used to turn the old fortress into a contemporary polygon of creativity.

We are looking forward to seeing the bright future of the fortress, brimming with creativity and artistic life.

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