LAUBA - Building for People and Art
The word “lauba” probably originates from the German word Laub, denoting “leaves”. It is also the children’s name for a round tree alley, a place of client's boyhood games (the sacred mission was to climb its trees and conquer the entire LAUBA without touching the ground).
The play has remained the leading motive for this house.
The building was originally erected as a manege (1910) but turned into a cotton industry plant soon after. As production gradually ceased and relocated, the building served as the factory warehouse until 2008 when the project for reconstruction was done by AGP dizajn (authors Alenka Gačić Pojatina, Branka Petković, Ana Krstulović). The architects’ solution to the client’s request of cohabitation of business and artistic operations consisted of an interpolated office cuboid raised on pillars along the southern side. During the reconstruction, the authors and conservators referred to the initial material state of the Austro-Hungarian cavalry barracks. In 2010, when Studio AGP dizajn finished the reconstruction of the building, architect Morana Vlahović took over the interior design, the system of exhibition panels and the artistic transformation of the façade.
The purpose of interior design was to preserve the existing bountiful layers and to expose them to visitors.
With the desire to simultaneously exhibit both the art collection and the very architecture, a system of aluminium panels for assembling and disassembling was designed, which enables countless possibilities for organizing space.
Each panel consists of a solid and netted, transparent part. In their starting position, the 22 panels completely cover the north wall of the hall. When they are taken off the wall, a historical brick wall is visible. Each panel that is taken off automatically becomes a part of the spatial constellations on the hall's wooden floor, where the collection is then exhibited.
This way, the house and the art collection exhibit each other, playing spatial games all the time, and thus creating ambiguity of the interior's identity – it changes both spatially and in a sense of atmosphere. Lauba transforms its interior like pleomorphic organisms capable of shape-shifting during their life spans.
The selection of materials and surfaces was done by „back to basics“ principle – with conscious effort to avoid any detailing. The idea of frozen, conserved construction site was executed by frequent and conscious cessations of construction operations, sometimes by the unavoidable, hygienic phases of artisanal activities. Thus it is possible to read every phase of the building’s life.
The memory of the stables is visible in the use of uncommon, almost anachronous materials, such as the wooden floor that recalls sand and hay by its colour and smell.
The office cuboid was covered with black reflecting glass.
The railing of the main staircase, simulating the climb through the Lauba’s tree crowns, was designed using excess materials from the construction, so-called junk. Lamellas made of glass, steel and wood were arranged in 3D, following the proscribed horizontal and vertical intervals.
The facade was coloured in glossy black, oily and thick as the hot bitumen. The black shine is simultaneously respecting and negating the profiled façade, creating an effect of estrangement.
There is no white colour in the building.
Lauba - Building for People and Art won the Bernardo Bernardi Prize of the Association of Croatian Architects for the most successful accomplishment in the field of interior design in 2011.