The Partner Bank office building is situated in front of the medieval gate of Rijeka’s city center. The building originates from the 18th century, when it was one of the first buildings of Civitas nova, the baroque new town erected outside the city walls. It is flanked by two higher and more recent 19th century buildings. The objective of the project was not only to increase the density and floor area of the building, but to reestablish the presence of the building within the urban skyline. The Department of Historical Building Preservation demanded that the existing three-storey building be preserved. In addition, numerous reconstruction and years of improvised additions have made the existing building and nearby department store a nearly inseparable, complex structure. The new owner admitted that the reestablishment of the building’s autonomy would be an impossible task. These facts have clearly influenced the concept of reconstruction. A new volume is placed on top of the existing one. It ‘peels-away’ from its solid base as it rises. Each successive floor has a set-back and a reduced ‘materiality’ of constructional elements, resulting in an increased transparency that culminates in the building’s roof terrace. Behind the facade’s metal screen wall the first floor has a concrete wall, the second a concrete parapet, the third a glass wall, and the fourth merely an empty frame. The main feature of the facade is a curtain of perforated panels which are placed in front of the glass. Openings inside this curtain follow the rhythm of the lower base, vanishing on the top two floors. The existing volume has been kept in its original form.
Saša Randić, Idis Turato
completed in 2005