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Urbanism and Architecture of city of Gospić from the mid 18th century to the 1980s


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Došen, Antonia. (2018). Urbanism and Architecture of city of Gospić from the mid 18th century to the 1980s. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Art History.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij povijesti umjetnosti) [mentor Damjanović, Dragan].

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Until recently, Gospić did not have a chance to be a subject of research by scientists and experts due to its isolation, both geographically and economically. Although it is located in one of the largest Croatian counties, in whose territory it had the original role as the seat of regiment since the 18th century, and later the capital of the Lika - Krbava County, Gospić remained almost unrecognized on the art history map of Croatia. This lack of attention for the area that has been inhabited since the earliest times and on whose territory significant national historical events have taken place, created an incentive for a more detailed approach, which would also reveal artistic and historical development of the region, and would remain focused on the objective and scientific approach. In order to open and more closely explore the subject of urban development and the architectural heritage of the city of Gospić, it was necessary to define its historical frame. In the dissertation, research into the history of the development of the city of Gospić begins with the year 1712, at the time when Lika and Krbava came under the Military Frontier (Vojna Krajina) i.e. with 1720 when the first known and documented building (Capuchin hospice in Kaniţa) was erected. The reason for such timeframe is the arrival of military administration in this area and the gradual organization of settlements. All constructions before entering the Military Frontier system cannot be confirmed with certainty, nor is there more extensive documentation on them. The only exception can be called the Turkish tower - the tower of Senković aga along the Novčica River and the chapel of St. Ivan Nepomuk, which have their roots in the end of the 17th or the beginning of the 18th century. The parameter for defining the boundaries of settlements that will be covered by this research is the cross section of three main streets: Budačka, Kaniška and Bilajska Streets. Speaking about the settlement of Gospić, the concept of today's city and its integrated independent settlements that are urbanized constitute a defined city area. Although the urban settlement itself was built at the beginning of the 18th century, its first preserved buildings date back to the second half of the 18th century. Despite the fact that it is the Baroque period, buildings of particularly Baroque style characteristics cannot be found in Gospić building construction. The earliest stylistic characteristics that can be recognized on individual buildings are Classicistic and then Historicistic. The centre of the city is today marked by several Secession (Art Nouveau) family houses, which are protected as cultural property. Given that the most extensive reports about the Military Frontier came from the military authorities themselves, they have also become the main source for exploring the development of the Gospić settlement and its further expansion and transformation into the city during the Military Frontier Period. In order to gain insight into the material about the Military Frontier, it was necessary to study historical literature. There is little information left about this period, so the texts on the beginnings of history and emergence of the settlement Gospić rely mainly on cartographic sources and previous research of historians. By comprehensive and thorough research, both on the field and by reading various written sources in which, unfortunately, Gospić is mentioned rarely, almost never, an insight into the scope of the material was created that could be used as a proven scientific method to fulfil the set task. Gospić began its urban history by being named the headquarters of the Lika Regiment. The first constructions, along with existing modest wooden buildings, were military administration bungalows and two-storey buildings which marked the dimensions of first squares - Paradeplatz and Marktplatz. Buildings were mainly carried out according to typical designs of military officers, and similar objects are recorded in other military settlements of that time. By exiting the Military Frontier system in the second half of the 19th century, Gospić became the seat of the Lika - Krbava County. In order to gain insight into construction activity at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, it was necessary to research and process the material in certain archival funds. When speaking about architects or engineers as authors of construction projects and family houses erected from 1880 until the First World War, a small number of unsigned floor plans was found. Gospić had a building office at the time of the Military Frontier, which had territorial jurisdiction over the Lika Regiment, and was under the military administration under the jurisdiction of the Austrian Ministry of War. After exiting the Military Frontier, Gospić came under the direction of the Land Government headquartered in Zagreb, which also had a building service. In 1881, one of the three state building offices (Ogulin, Karlovac) was founded in Gospić, and in 1886 by dividing Croatia and Slavonia into the counties the County and District Construction Office was formed in Gospić. Considering the architectural elements used on the facades of private and public buildings, it is clear that these were educated architects and builders familiar with European stylistic changes. Although officially appointed engineers had an obligation to inspect and supervise all new buildings and annexes, they were often overlooked and local construction contractors took over construction and all other professional construction jobs. By entering the 20th century, gradual weakness of Historicistic (Secessionist) influences and modernist tendencies in Gospić architecture appear. In the literature, never before have these stylistic periods in the Gospić area been recorded. Reliable methods were used to select buildings that bore characteristics of style on the international level as well as architectural features of valuable for local construction. Conclusions derived through a careful study of this period are the basis for future research that could possibly be complemented with some of the information on interpreted buildings. In the period from 1920 to 1929 in the area Gospić Construction Section (GraĎevinska sekcija) operated which along Gospić included another eight districts, and it was headed by an engineer or chief architect. Despite the already present Modernist direction in European architecture, Gospić's newly built 1920s buildings were shaped in the spirit of eclectic neoClassicism. Although new materials such as concrete were being used, their application was still not widely spread and restricted to occasions when traditional materials (wood, stone, and brick) could not achieve the desired effect. In the first years after the end of the First World War not many buildings were built in Gospić. Attention was pointed towards construction of the future railway track (Ogulin - Gospić - Knin) as well as on railway station buildings. On the outskirts of the city, in the streets leading to surrounding countryside villages, very simple ground-floor houses are built, mostly with two or three window openings to the road, side main entrance and very steep sloping roofs, which were appropriate for the given climatic conditions. In the pre-war and war period, the building of the State Real Gymnasium, the State Forestry Building and two residential buildings of the State Peasant Economics School were erected. There was also a grain storage facility (silos) built along the railway line in Bilajska Street. In the first years after the Second World War, the most attention was paid to renewal of the old buildings, whereas in the 1950s new ones were built. In the district of Gospić and wider area, two local construction and project companies Lika and Projektbiro operated. Some of the most reputable Gospić buildings survived war damage and, given the occupation of the city during the Second World War, the centre retained the former appearance of without major changes. The establishment of the Department of Housing professionalised the construction activities by setting up the services with tasks to identify the most economical and most rational solutions. The high level of architectural production is reflected in fastgrowing residential buildings, characterized by a height of up to three storeys, elongated rectangular floor plan and later in the eighties, a somewhat more complex closed plan (U or L shape) with intent to create a relatively isolated yard as a private space of tenants and raising the height of the crown on four storeys. Functionalism taken from the pre-war era was still accepted among the architects however the application of ideas in shaping the outer surface of the building was very similar among the post-war architects. General shortage and impoverishment of the population seemed to be reflected on the facades where all traces of decorativeness disappeared completely as a sign of wealthier families. The first housing units that were being set up were primarily intended for the active officers as a reward for participation in National Liberation Movement as well as civilian working population for which the accommodation was provided by the company employing them. In the interest of the new government apart from housing construction was the construction of health facilities, sports facilities, and creating all the necessary conditions for modern living. Facilities for military personnel were located in the very centre of the city, positioned as main verticals along the frequent roads and squares (Budačka Street, Korzo, Nikola Tesla Square). The second group of residential buildings intended for employees of a given company was raised as close as possible to the location of the company that built them. In Gospić architecture of this time there was no experimentation, new buildings were strategically placed according to the requirements of a particular company that erected them for their employees often on nationalized plots located in attractive locations in the very centre of the city. Luxury was avoided because it was recognized as a complex of the pre-war times. For this reason, most building facilities were of unified appearance without any special features. However, despite all this, it is not possible to talk about uninventive architecture as it is primarily a reflection of a specific time in which a new city emerged, whose inhabitants' demands were in front of architectural concepts and inventiveness, which manifested itself in the ability to build within limited possibilities and stereotypical solutions. Throughout the work, an insight into Gospić public sculpture was made and elaborated, depending on the public space it belongs to. Apart from sculptures and monuments raised on public surfaces, works i.e. reliefs related to architecture are also highlighted. The work is concluded with the year 1990, which announced the arrival of political changes at local and national level. Until this time, despite the earlier war damage, Gospić managed to maintain continuity in its construction. This all-encompassing and extremely demanding topic, through reliable methods of selection of buildings, inventorying of the collected material, stratification in the organization of materials in multiple units, ultimately resulted in the researching and processing of more than a hundred individual buildings, and a series of interpretations and contextualization of the influence and circumstances of their construction. An insightful and clear content is created that could serve in composing the first monograph of Gospić in the future.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: Gospić, arhitektura, urbanizam, 18. stoljeće, 19. stoljeće, 20. stoljeće, vojne graĎevine, historicizam, meĎuratno razdoblje, stambena arhitektura
Subjects: History of art
Departments: Department of Art History
Supervisor: Damjanović, Dragan
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij povijesti umjetnosti
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2019 12:25
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2019 07:35

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