Europan 17, Makarska, Croazia, 2023

The project it's about the urban regeneration of part of the city of Makarska , today in a state of decay and abandonment:  the old fruit and vegetable market, the old fish market and the parking areas in front of it. The topographical characteristics and the marginality and poor accessibility of the site resulted in their poor integration into the urban and social fabric of the city. The city of Makarska is, nowadays, a popular summer tourist destination, due to the quality of its coastline, but it aim to become a place where to  live a slow life, throughout the whole year. Makarska future development must be inspired by sustainable and long-lasting local development, based on strong local identity.

The territory of Makarska is marked by the strong and unique presence of two natural and landscape elements: the sea and the mountain, squeezed between these two elements the city develops in a linear way. Makarska was born around the port and immediately developed along the coast line and parallel to the contour lines. The historic center is spread over an area of about 6500 square meters and is enclosed between the seafront and Stjiepana Ivicevica street: this street is the main urban road axis and connects it with the other coastal centers of the Makarska Riviera. Along this axis and on the edge of the seafront there is a series of collective facilities constituting the welfare system of the city. The market area lies at the intersection of the main mountain route and the aforementioned Stjiepana Ivicevica street and overlooks the main square of the city and from this it connects with Kalargara street, the main pedestrian street in the center, as well as with the seafront. The historic center of the city of Makarsca, except for the main square and the current cathedral which are from the eighteenth century, presents itself with the typical medieval articulation of public spaces and streets, exacerbated by the topographical characteristics. The built environment characterized by small and medium-sized buildings defines a dense fabric that is structured through a system of characteristic streets and passages, as well as urban voids which articulate clusters of buildings. This isotropic and porous network (marked in gray on the map) allows you to slowly cross the entire city center by walking.

The public car parks are located on the edge of the historic center near the Town hall and the city Stadium, on the other hand the main beaches are located northwest of the center, while the hotels and accommodation facilities that spreads over the whole city are now expanding towards the mountain from which you can enjoy a view of the whole makarska bay. This situation could define a potential pedestrian flow that could be welcomed by the project site. Furthermore, the green system (marked in yellow on the map) is expelled from the city fabric with the exception of the gardens around the cemetery and some residual areas that seem to descend from Biokovo mountain towards the city. On the edge of the port, however, the two capes host large equipped wooded areas: the park of St. Peter and the Osejava’s ones. The historic center is therefore presented as a predominantly mineral surface suggesting the creation of green areas and aggregation in the project site.  Finally, the strategic position of the project areas as an urban gateway between the mountains and the historic center, as a stitching element between the mountain city and the marine city, impose an implementation of the pedestrian system and the expansion of the relationships between these two components through cultural connections, uses such as urban gardens or cultural or folk activities, and visual through platforms and visual cones.
The territorial intervention strategies can be summarizzed as follow:
•Reconnect the system of public spaces of the project areas to the existing network of walkways and squares, which characterizes the historical center for its porosity;
• Stitching together the mountain city and the seaside city through the project site, creating an infrastructural system that becomes a new urban gateway to the historic center
• Reducing and slowing vehicular flow and promote pedestrian flow and equipment for foot users.
• Equip the urban space with greenery by reducing the mineral surface and improving the local microclimate.

The case of makarska, tells of a damaged, partially abandoned and disused urban fabric. A piece of city that due to its topographical characteristics has never been properly transformed, becoming unattractive for local development stakeholders. The vitality of a portion of territory is closely linked to its accessibility and functionality, therefore if we want a territory to be vital it is essential that it is accessible and interconnected to the local and territorial urban system, both phisically and culturally.
The project areas are therefore characterized by a low quality of the urban space, which makes them low livable and marginally part of the city life: the areas of the mediterranean center and the new cultural center of makarska are residual areas, badly connected to the local pedestrian system and currently host public parking; while the topo design of the current fruit and vegetable market makes it not very functional and less adaptable to host different events and functions.
In general, for the three sites, there is a need to increase accessibility to the project areas and to design both the open space and the architecture in a way that could transforms these portions of the territory into places, i.e. inhabited spaces rich in activities and semantic values constituting the local communities .
The followings are the objectives and strategies are proposed aiming to regenerate this portion of the territory:
• Increase accessibility to project areas through the reconstruction of the road/block relationship, through the expansion of pedestrian walkways, ground floor uses of buildings, and access systems such as ramps, stairs or platforms;
• Defining in the project areas elements like visual cones and uses (local cuisine clusters, and exhibition spaces) that root the sea/mountain relationship characteristic of the city of Makarska;
• Increase the permeability of the blocks while maintaining the cloistered identity of the historic centre;
• Activate the courtyards of the blocks and mediate the relationship between the existing buildings and the new functions by inserting urban gardens in the in-between areas between the new and the existing;
• Use architectural expedients such as the use of pitched roofs, the scale of the proposed project volumes and the rhythm between full and empty, which do not alter the local identity of the city, but rather enrich it with new meanings.
As previously mentioned, the existing topography opens up problems, linked to the accessibility of the project areas, but also potentiality. Finally, the design choices on the three different areas use these conStreet/ plot relationship sectioncs straints as project elements, leading to 3 different solutions.

The previous area of the market was characterized by the presence of various platforms connected by stairs which descend from the level of the road + 14.7 m to the level of approximately 12.0 m. The activity of the market took place mainly at 12 m platform and the relationship with the road was not very fluid. The proposal is to facilitate the practicability of the market space through a single inclined surface with a slope of about 5% which solves the difference in height between the road and the lower side of the lot where it is necessary to preserve the accesses to the existing commercial and residential buildings. The path of the outdoor market takes place in an L shape and communicates directly with the main road, keeping many of the stations in the previous platform facing the indoor market. The closed volume of the market instead becomes a panoramic terrace at an altitude of 18 m, aligned with the roof of the facing commercial volume, from which it is possible to enjoy the views of the sea and the mountains of Makarska. This same element also becomes a place to stop and sit by activating the project site even at different hours than those of the market activity. In the case of cultural or musical events, this element could be understood as a sort of open-air auditorium with the visual cone directed towards the street.
The permanent sales point in the open part are equiped with an additional canopy for a better protection from rain and they are left open so they can be used for other uses, while the seasonal one can be removed after market close.
The edge area in-between the market and the existings blocks are equipped with urban gardens and outdoor furniturs to become a community center for the neighborhood during all hours of the day. The roof of the market follows the profile of the surrounding pitched roofs, seeking a dialogue with the surrounding context, where, due to the orientation of the pitches, the archetypal shape of the house can be read. A stairway facing the roof of the covered market volume connects, together with an elevator located in the northwest corner of the covered market, to a panoramic terrace at an altitude of 20.8 m., where a small bar is located and which overlooks the gulf of makarska. Through this stair the project aim to achieve the feeling of the connection between mountain and see mentioned before. Going back to the Canopy, its shape has been studied not only to dialogue with the surrounding context but also to allow light to illuminate the market area. In fact, the eaves line does not follow the slope of the land, therefore the height to the south of the plot is greater than that to the north, optimizing the amount of light and protection from wind.

 The center for Mediterranean cuisine and the cultural center are conceived and designed together, their functions are complementary and the two lots are connected through the basement. With regard to the urban accessibility strategies, as previously anticipated, two different strategies are entweened, corresponding to the different features of the two lots.
As far as the Mediterranean Center area is concerned, it was decided to rebuild the urban front and resolve the difference in height through the ground floor, which hosts public functions and a bar, as well as the hall of the Mediterranean Center.
A staircase and a ramp are settled for direct access to the internal courtyard of the block. However the yard is seen more as a semi-public element used by the meditarranean center, but necessarilly can become an integral part of the system of pubblic spaces of the old town. The urban front is divided into two volumes connected by a large glass surface, while the connection with the old volume of the fish market takes place in an element which set back from the road and hosts the vertical circulation, helping to solve the difference in height between the two buildings . There are three macro functions: On the ground floor, the main access facing the street and an area dedicated to the cafeteria and the preparation of local desserts, such as the makarana cake, the traditional cake of the city. However, on the first floor there are two other areas for preparing food. In the previous fish market, an open kitchen is inserted in the center of the space to stage the preparation of local dishes from the sea. However, on the first floor of the new volume, similarlly then the previous one, an open kitchen is located for the preparation of traditional mountain dishes. Finally, the courtyard space is shared for the consumption of food with a mountain view.
Finally, as regards accessibility to the new cultural center area, it was decided to adopt a hybrid strategy between the two previously stated and to re-build the urban front on the road, opening at the same time a square facing the old fish market. This void tends to enhance the presence of the existing building, and definitively roots it in the urban fabric, connecting it to the existing passage to historic centre. Furthermore, the ground floor of the new buildings is partially emptied, leaving a visual permeability towards the end of the plot where the creation of a garden and urban vegetable gardens is proposed in front of the ancient stone wall, giving the perception of an empty space from the street, while maintaining a front.
The main function, i.e. the exhibition/cultural one, is in this case pulled down on the first basement floor, precisely with the intention of leaving most of the lot opened. On the ground floor the accesses to auditorium and a cafeteria, consolidate the relationship with the street. Instead, on the first floor has been settled a space to hosts workshops, conferences and educational and cultural activities for local producers, or students.