‘Revitalisation of the Črnomerec brick factory’ is a self-directed design thesis, formulated by Maja Klišanić and supervised by Dörte Kuhlmann, Ao.Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.-Ing. Maja’s design thesis is her own conclusion of the Master’s degree in architecture (Dipl.-Ing.) at the Faculty for Architecture and Planning at the Vienna University of Technology.
Maja’s thesis is about the revitalisation of the old brick factory in Zagreb’s district Črnomerec that has had a long history of success and downfall. The old brick factory used to be a family business in 1885 and was one of the most successful brick factories in south-east Europe. Today this factory represents nothing more than a leftover building like for example many buildings that are decrepit in Rijeka, Croatia.
With her design proposal, Maja proved to us that this brownfield area can be more. She proposed new functions for the brick factory — The School for Textiles and Fashion. Placing the school of fashion in the left wing and school of textile in the right wing, Maja created a connection between two wings with the ‘catwalk‘. This movement not only created a strong bridge between the schools of fashion and textiles, but also offered an invitation for the public of Črnomerec for open events offered by both schools. By involving the public in school activities, she did not only revitalised the area, but also reactivate the dead tissue of the city. Maja offered a landmark and a public hub to Zagreb’s district Črnomerec.
Her design process was a product of extensive research and long lasting brainstorming. Maja learned from various successful examples from Europe, Asia and the USA. She was particularly inspired by The MaoHause in Beijing, China by AntiStatics Architecture. She found out that ultra-high performance concrete can be used as a ‘curtain’, representing textile and fashion in her case. By mentioning the word ‘concrete’, one would never think of soft fashion materials, however Maja managed ‘to dress’ her building up in a very profound way. She recognised the complexity of the north topography and embraced it with organic garden organisation. She plugged the service boxes into the north side of the building in a structured way after which she ‘wrapped’ all the plugged boxes into concrete, treating them as fashion elements of the existing building. By adding the organic elements to the new parts of the building, Maja built a connection between organic landscape on the north side of the building and new plugged in building elements. Maja kept the plaza in the south very simple. The simplicity that she offered at the main face of the building allowed open communication between the building and the public from the main street. This approach makes the interaction, with more than 100-year-old building, very simple.
Having all the above mentioned in mind, I am very proud on the work that Maja has achieved, as well of her design.