SAH News

A Special Journey: The Croatia Study Tour Experience

by User Not Found | Jan 06, 2014

SAH 2nd Vice President Ken Tadashi Oshima and Study Tour Leader Boris Srdar share what's in store for the Croatia Study Tour and explain what makes this SAH tour so unique.

SAH Croatia Study Tour

The Croatia at the Crossroads of Time and Space Study Tour offers participants the chance to explore the architectural history of cities in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, and along the Adriatic coast. This land and sea tour will include three educational lectures and discussions by architect and local expert Boris Srdar and offers the opportunity to earn AIA/CES 54 HSW.

From Ken Tadashi Oshima, SAH 2nd Vice President:

Along with becoming part of the European Union as of 2013, Croatia has become one of the most sought after travel destinations in the world. The 2014 SAH Croatia Study Tour will present the many layers of this region’s rich architectural and urban history from the Ottoman and Roman Periods to the present day in harmony with its Adriatic seascapes. We begin in Sarajevo, which will be commemorating in 2014 the 1st World War Centennial with the major cultural project “Sarajevo Heart of Europe,” with a visit to the Svarazo House where Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was shot in 1914. Moreover, the tour is precisely planned to experience these riches during the balmy Mediterranean summer together with 14thVenice Architectural Biennale—arguably the largest and most prominent architectural exhibition in the world under the curatorship of Rem Koolhaas, one of architecture’s leading polemic voices.

This special tour features the precisely conceived itinerary of the most important gems of architecture and cities with the luxury and ease of traveling aboard the Corinthian cruise ship. Expert architect Boris Srdar, who has practiced in both Zagreb and the US, will lead the SAH tour. As a witness to Croatia’s transformation over many decades, he will offer his insights into the urban changes and challenges of historic preservation and adaptive reuse of landmark structures.

The study tour offers a guided first-hand experience of some of the most exemplary works of Islamic architecture such as the Gazi Husrey-bey Mosque and Stari Most ‘Old Bridge’, the ancient Roman city of Narona, the Lovrijenac Fortress built on a 37-meter high rock outcropping overlooking the sea in Dubrovnic, and the exquisite 14th-15th century Gothic Drago Palace. 

The ship voyage will take the group to such unspoiled islands as Vis, and the ancient city of Split, featuring the Roman Palace of Diocletian, which architect Robert Adam surveyed, published and became an inspiration for his new style of Neoclassical architecture. The tour features a special guided tour by the leading expert of the complex, which is a city unto itself, a UNESCO World Heritage Monument and featured on the Croatian 500 kuna banknote. In looking to the potential of adaptive reuse to resolve contemporary urban challenges, this is an unparalleled case of a continuous adaptive reuse from its origins as a Roman period palace to its present incarnation as a bustling city.

The journey terminates in Venice, where the voyagers will view the spires, domes, and towers of this magical city from ship’s deck, and then experience architects from around the world engaging the historical structures of the Arsenale and Giardini at the 2014 Venice Architectural Biennale.

This is truly once-in-a-lifetime land and sea journey spanning architecture’s origins to the present day.

SAH Croatia Study Tour

SAH Croatia Study Tour

From Tour Leader Boris Srdar:

This special journey from Sarajevo to Venice along the beautiful Adriatic Coast will present juxtapositions of different cultures and civilizations from the Roman times to the present. You will see how the remnants of bygone eras and empires have influenced every subsequent layer of built environment, forming a richness and diversity of architectural heritage, unmatched in its proximity on such a small geographic area anywhere in the world. From Sarajevo to the island of Rab, you will feel like you are passing through the vastly different time-zones and cultures, yet all of them being only a few hours’ drive from each other.

As someone who was born, raised and received a graduate architectural degree in Croatia, but also studied in the USA and has been working here for the past 23 years, I have developed a very beneficial dual perspective on the development of urban environments. I will explain the highlights of architectural challenges facing the Croatian architects at marquee buildings of the time and influences that shaped them. You will understand the mindset of a designer working on a contemporary infill project in the highly valuable historic fabric, bringing you to the critical moments from the WWII onwards, when modern architecture in Croatia gave its legitimate contribution as another layer in historical continuum.

Being fortunate to travel widely across the globe, I will be able to emphasize what is truly unique and precious in the Croatian architectural heritage. For example in Dubrovnik, in addition to the major sites we will also see my favorite less visited spaces, helping you fully understand the spatial richness of the “pearl of the Adriatic”. In Split we will be joined by prof. Marasovic, leading expert on the Diocletian palace, who will spend time with us and lead us through the parts not open to the public, as well as through the architectural office and the lecture hall operating in the north tower of the palace itself. This kind of exposure to the palace is exclusive to the SAH members and should be a feast for the eyes and the mind. At other places we will stop by the spatial gems off the beaten path, as well as the major monuments, helping you fully experience what makes these ambiences special.

I am looking forward to ample of our vigorous discussions on what you will experience, engaging our collective minds and knowledge in understanding what was possible and why in the spirit of its times.  Through revealing comparisons we will stimulate our intellects.

So enjoying famous sites will be complemented with visiting hidden jewels including places with exclusive access. The sounds, scents and colors of the crystal clear sea amid a thousand islands enables one to imagine the past and understand why Roman Emperor Diocletian chose this place for his palace. The participants will experience the Mediterranean the way it once was.

Information and Registration

For full details on the Croatia at the Crossroads of Time and Space Study Tour and to register, please visit the Study Tour Programs page.


SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
1365 N. Astor Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610
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