14th International Architecture Exhibition—Venice Biennale 2014

7 June—23 November 2014, Venice, Artiglierie, Arsenale

RepresentativeKarin Šerman

Karin Šerman graduated from the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of Architecture in 1989. In 1996, she obtained her Master’s degree at Harvard University under the mentorship of Prof. K. Michael Hays, Ph.D. She was awarded the Gerald M. McCue Medal for the highest academic achievement at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of Architecture in 2000 under the mentorship of Prof. Boris Magaš, Ph.D.

Since 1990, she has been working at the Department for Theory and History of Architecture of the Faculty of Architecture. She teaches courses in Architectural Theory in the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral study programmes of the Faculty of Architecture, University of Zagreb, as well as at the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Geodesy, University of Split. Since 2007, she has been the head of the Architectural Thought module of the doctoral programme in Architecture at the Faculty of Architecture in Zagreb. As a researcher, she has participated in the scientific project “Atlas of 20th Century Croatian Architecture”. She serves on editorial boards of the journal for architecture and urbanism “Prostor” and the scholarly journal INDECS—Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems. Since 2005, she has been a correspondent of the Swiss journal Werk, Bauen+Wohnen.

She is the author of numerous scientific and scholarly articles published in national and international scientific and scholarly journals and books, writing about modern and contemporary architecture and culture, and a recent architectural theory.

Project manager: Sanja Cvjetko Jerković, deputy representative: Igor Ekštajn

Team of authors: Zrinka Barišić Marenić, Melita Čavlović, Igor Ekštajn, Nataša Jakšić, Mojca Smode Cvitanović, Marina Smokvina, Karin Šerman

Collaborators: Nikola Brlek, Aleksandar Matijašević, Marko Mihaljević, Dino Mišković, Karlo Seitz, Matija Solomun, Sven Sorić, Hrvoje Spudić, Josip Galić

Project: Fitting Abstraction (exhibition)

The exhibition presents Croatian architecture of the last 100 years, from 1914 to 2014. It documents the time frame defined by the Biennale and provides an answer to the assigned theme—absorption of modernism in the last century. The exhibition answers the addressed issue of survival of the category of national architectural identity in the conditions of globalising modernism. The 20th century in Croatia was characterised by an early introduction and convincing continuity of the architecture of functionalism and international modernism as the expression of that very progressive modernism. However, not only did this locally accepted modernism not jeopardise a previous clear and emblematic national architectural identity, but it was precisely modernity with abstraction as its dominant conceptual and formal determinant that has helped construct and establish this crucial, yet sensitive category. Architectural modernism confirmed itself in our circumstances as a legitimate bearer of local architectural identity, essentially informing and directing the entire further architectural practice and production. This exhibition is thus dedicated to the study, revelation and presentation of circumstances and evolution of these complex processes.

Therefore, the exhibition focuses neither on certain singled out historical episodes of the last century, nor on individual opuses, authors, typologies, or examples. It rather aims to cover the widest possible insight into the entire century and provide an integral view into understanding of the complex processes addressed. To that end, the research exhibits eight specific architectural themes, which have been recognised as specific architectural values that upheld resolutely in our architecture throughout the hundred-year period. It is precisely these architectural values and qualities that represent the main displays at the exhibition.

The main elements of the exhibition are: eight fundamental attributes of Croatian architecture of the last century, eight historical backbones that provide legitimacy to their identity-relevant characteristics, and a historical timeline of those layers that enables understanding of the intense dynamics and processes addressed. Apart from serving as a functional frame for the described displays and all other ancillary segments needed, the installation also creates a specific ambient quality, communicating the starting thesis and idea to the spatial experience achieved.