Saša Randić, Idis Turato

Team members:
Leora Dražul, Marko Derenčinović, Zvonimir Sabljak

City of Krk

Krk, Island of Krk, Croatia

4.300 m²

Year designed:

completed in 2005

Robert Leš

The elementary school “Fran Krsto Frankopan” in the city of Krk is situated on the northeast corner of the medieval town.

The decision to locate the school within the medieval city was intensely discussed within the community and the city council. The central issue of the discussion was of course the dilemma of where to locate the building: within the city center, on the site of the existing school where everyone used to have the school, or in the outskirts, where the school would have a larger area and better accessibility, but it lacked the specific character of the existing location. Finally, the decision to position the school was followed by an invited competition, where the whole community participated in the choice of the project. This project is a winning entry in this competition.

The scale of the intervention in proportion to the size of the town made it an urban project.
The first important element was the relation to the city wall. The idea of replacing the existing school with the new one was in part generated by the Monument Protection Department, which wanted to change the existing skyline of the city dominated by the late 19ct school building. At the same, the construction of the new school has enabled archeological research and reconstruction of the city wall.

This context meant that the new building had to recess as much as possible from the fortification and respect the skyline where the fortification and the churches were the most important elements.

The building is following the property limits and at terrain topography resulting in a broken Z-shape. The facade has no architectural elements. It is defined with the shadow of cantilevered pre-fabricated concrete elements, creating a frame around the first floor. Classrooms are facing the city wall and the space in between: the younger ones are on the ground floor having the court in front of the classrooms, and the older ones have a view over the wall on the first floor.

The second issue concerning the positioning of the school was its relationship with the urban matrix. The size of the contemporary school in proportion to the size of the medieval city had the imminent danger that the school would be too big to fit in. For that reason the school was conceived as a part of the city, erasing the borders between the public space and school areas, making school a part of the city. Street and square are transformed into school territory: with the gym on the other side, the school opens to the street with the main entrance and its public elements: multipurpose hall and restaurant, engaging a reciprocal relationship between the street and the school. The public territory is used as a school territory at the same time. The path along the fortification, to the east of the school, is also open to the public leading from the school garden on the north to the nursery on the south.

Street façade, unlike the one facing the wall, is defined with the characteristic contextual elements: flat profilation and colored plaster, with internal colors exiting on the façade and different granulation of the plaster defining the proportion of this façade.

The roof of the building is covered with chunks of local stone that are the same size as in division walls on the island. The same stone was used for the fortification and is also used in the prefabricated elements on the school, either cast in the retaining walls or as a granulate in the façade elements, giving the concrete the same color as the stone.

Two beams of the Z-shape volume are connected in the entrance hall. Hall has double height, connecting the floors with the ramps and further to the corridors. Internal corridors, following the irregular slope of the terrain, have been interpreted as an extension of the town streets, following the conception that the school is a part of the city.