same as it ever was


The Croatian pavilion is an ode to ambiances of coexistence of the wild and the domesticated, natural and fabricated, inanimate and living. It originates from the Lonja wetlands in which dynamic environments evolved from centuries of symbioses between a landscape in constant flux and communities adapting their lives to it. It documents the slowness of natural change, perspectives of plants and animals, looking in the opposite direction of inevitable crises. Synchronicities of time depend on the viewpoint of the actors, measured in seasons of grazing, annual intercontinental migrations of birds, daily migrations of people, seconds of visitor’s reactions, centuries of plants growing, decades of movement of the rivers meandering. What we see is just the superficial trace of these systems.

There is no hierarchy in this flux, and the Lonja wetlands are taken as a laboratory sample, a lesson for the future, directing towards interaction and reciprocities between what comes from nature and culture, possible in various environments. This sample becomes a backdrop for the discursive segment of the pavilion, an ongoing laboratory documented in real time, exploring futures in practice and education. To effect real change, what is needed is above all continuity and coordination among those various small-scale movements. On the other hand, we are living with crises, i.e. disasters, they are increasingly becoming the new normality, realities, in which we must build new resilience. Studying autonomous resilient communities in our region gives us insight into those small communities used to living and surviving with nature, which have more chances to survive in such futures. We no longer question the supply chains of food, water, and energy, and in this way, we no longer even have an insight into how the systems work, because they become hidden from us. The laboratory of the future begins with understanding the interconnectedness of actors of all origins.

The pavilion includes a spatial installation which is a part of the bestiarium of built and unbuilt observatories in the Lonja wetlands. It evokes structures blending the natural and cultural, within a landscape which seems to stand still, yet whose seasonal changes are radical. The pavilion’s network includes workshops and discussions which test themes and future action in the education of architects. These are documented in real time, making a retroactive catalogue, a note for the future.

Authors: Mia Roth, Tonči Čerina, Ivica Mitrović