same as it ever was

Lonja wetlands visitor infrastructure

In an effort to expose the continuous changes this environment goes through even closer, a visitor infrastructure was planned to raise awareness of its value to the survival of the many species inhabiting it. A visitor centre and a network of observatories serve as devices for learning about the phenomena, as markers and vistas for viewing birds, free-range livestock, wildlife and waters. The project draws from the familiar, sampling rural morphologies, creating a new social focus. The visitor centre tells the stories of the flora, fauna and cultural heritage. Two buildings frame a square defined by deep trapezoid porticos and denivelations, initiating rural communal life. The observatories of the Lonja wetlands embody centuries of this cultivated landscape, of anthropogenic and natural symbioses, of a border condition. The verticals of past watchtowers placed along the divides of two empires, hunting box-stands and old observatories made up a distinct layer of this territory whose shapes communicated in their own distinct upright language. The new observatories enable a view of the horizontal wetland and its diverse lifeforms, in which the visitors remain hidden to the wildlife and livestock passing by.

They are a ludic element of the landscape, a new species which connotes various creatures and forms. Their biomorphic shapes are not explicit, yet embody movement, traditional tools, echoing the locally familiar. They refer to the plants and animals surrounding them, the landscape of Moslavina which has evolved over centuries through a fusion of natural changes and human labour. In their own dialogue, free from direct references, they speak a unique language: from afar they seem like a part of the landscape, mythologized local beings, frozen in their movement. In a non-hierarchical environment these new points provide a fleeting identity, become gravitational sources, attractors and measuring devices. They mark the territory as once the watchtowers used to do, but without the need for borders, enable a view of animals but without the hunt, make us participants of the landscape without being noticed. These beings blur the borders between languages of the anthropogenic and the natural, facilitating a tacit understanding, a device for raising awareness.

The authors of the visitor centre and observatories are Mia Roth and Tonči Čerina with collaborators: Larisa Čišić, Luka Fatović, Karla Jelić Balta, Tajana Jaklenec, Neven Vlahović. Product design by Clinica studio: Ozana Ursić i Vedran Kasap. Graphic design is by Niko Mihaljević, illustration by Franka Tretinjak, interpretation by Iva Fabrio, multimedia art-director Vanja Cuculić, multimedia concept by Novena. Structure: Ivan Ljubimir i Alen Batista. Built by: Binđo, Tehno-elektro, Vios, Pegra i Primat 3D.