“There are still a few key points for the neighbourhood and Zagreb that need to be fixed: the old military hospital should be converted, the Badel block should be rebuilt and the contents in Importanne Galerija should be refreshed. Although, this is already a very pleasant and quiet neighbourhood in the centre of a big city.”
The notable architect, scientist and researcher Bojan Baletić is one of the gladly seen residents of the surroundings of Martićeva street, where he lives with his wife Zora Salopek Baletić (also an architect), their children and their dog in an extremely pleasant apartment in the freshly renovated Ibler skyscraper. It is a perfect position for a person whose daily obligations regularly bring him into a professional relationship with the problems of spatial planning, urbanism and housing.
Bojan Baletić was born in Šibenik in 1957. He graduated from the Faculty of Architecture in Zagreb in 1981. During the eighties he was employed at the Faculty as a young researcher on research projects (1983—’86 and 1987 —’91), and in 1986 and 1988 he underwent professional specialization at the Department of Architecture and Construction at Strathclyde University in Glasgow. In 1995, he obtained a Ph.D. from the Faculty of Architecture in Zagreb with the thesis “Information codes of mutant forms and their role in housing conception and evaluation.” In 1996, he was elected assistant professor in the course Application of Computers in Architecture, and founded the Computer Cabinet at the Faculty of Architecture. He has been a Full Member of the Croatian Academy of Engineering since 1997.
Baletić has authored more than sixty scientific and professional papers and participated in approximately fifty national and international symposiums. He is also the author of fifteen architectural-urbanist competitions and fourteen projects with eight realizations. Over the years he has had different responsible duties at university bodies and institutions, and he still continues with active public work today. He agreed to answer a few of our questions about his neighbourhood from his own professional perspective.
Bojan Baletić: I grew up in this neighbourhood. My parents still live here, behind the Traumatology Clinic. I spent my primary and secondary school days here. First of all, the neighbourhood has good living predispositions, so Zora and I searched for both of our apartments right here, the first one as well as the second one, and finally settled in the Wooden Skyscraper. Before that, we had lived in the eastern part of Martićeva, and when we moved to the neighbourhood together, we deliberately wanted to be in the centre of the city and not to be dependent on the car. It seems like this space was intended for us, and we are glad that our decision has lately been reinforced by the fact that the profile of the neighbourhood is currently changing through the starting of new activities, and buildings are also being renovated, like our Ibler skyscraper, whose renovation is nearly finished. The skyscraper has been improved not only in terms of aesthetics, but also in terms of energy, it has much better insulation now, etc.
The Wooden or Ibler skyscraper, as well as the “Colourful” Vitić skyscraper, are the trademarks of the neighbourhood on the urbanist-architectural level, named after their architects Drago Ibler and Ivan Vitić, and there is also the Stock Exchange Building by the architect Viktor Kovačić (today Croatian National Bank). On the hospitality level, Mali bar, Mak na konac, Mojo, Divas, Zlatna školjka and Blok bar must be mentioned, and on the commercial level, there is the telecom grupation at Ibler square and the contemporary furniture salons. On the political level, the focal spots are the headquarters of HDZ, Most and SDP. On the cultural level, there are Croatian Design Superstore, Medvešćak library and Booksa.
Martićeva should soon finish its transition from a street with car parts shops into a street with bicycle shops. Of course, there should also be nice cafes, restaurants, galleries and healthy food shops. In short, a neighbourhood that promotes sustainable lifestyles and creative entrepreneurship. Those things were present before, but the possibility of that kind of development is much bigger now. Also, the presence of bankers in the neighbourhood is shrinking. Apart from that, there are still a few key points for the neighbourhood and the city that need to be fixed: the old military hospital should be converted, the Badel block should be rebuilt and the contents in Importanne Galerija should be refreshed. Although, this is already a very pleasant and quiet neighbourhood in the very centre of a big city.