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Hotel Pelegrin

Dubrovnik, Croatia
1 of 18

Hotel Pelegrin, along with Hotel Kupari, Hotel Grand, and Hotel Gorcina, are all part of the state's Kupari-Srebreno project, an estimated 200 million euro package investment in high-end tourism development.

Hotel Pelegrin was designed by the Sarajevo-based architect David Finci in 1963. The hotel's architecture drew considerable acclaim in the 1960s new tendencies, defined by creative evolution and a certain detachment from the tradition of modernism. At the same time, the process of planning and building tourist infrastructure on the Adriatic coast, in particular large hotel buildings, starts. On Hotel Pelegrin, Finci uses elements tried out on Goricina, the first object he built, but only Pelegrin will mark one of the steps of tourist architecture in Yugoslavia. In addition to the monumental form sculptured into the landscape, the building is characterized by elaborate details, such as concrete dividers on balconies. The interior of Pelegrin was later substantially altered beyond the design and without the consent of the author. For example, the project created open galleries without parapets, which were subsequently closed with glass bricks due to noise, and later, instead of glass bricks, parapets and windows were constructed.

Devastation of the Hotel

The 419-bed hotel was originally part of the Kupari holiday resort for the military elite of the Yugoslav National Army (JNA), but began welcoming foreign tourists, mainly from Northern Europe, in the early 1980s. During the Siege of Dubrovnik in 1991, the JNA shelled Hotel Pelegrin repeatedly, and the damage is still very visible today. After the attack, the hotel was used as a temporary shelter for serviceman in the Croatian Army. A considerable devastation occurred after 2000 when it was completely abandoned. above all in socially irresponsible management, thereby deliberately bringing such objects to their present state.

Yugoslav Architectural heritage

Finci's architecture is not only part of the American and Bosnian-Herzegovinian but also of Croatian cultural heritage, and his Yugoslav origins are closely related to Finci's Croatian cultural circle: "I have always appreciated Zagreb's architects for their simple architectural and functional applications. Architects Ibler, Richter, Vitic, Kauzlaric and many others have left very good projects. Likewise, Ravnikar and other Slovenian architects were successful. I have to mention Sarajevo professor Juraj Najdhart, my mentor, who spent time in the studio of Le Corbusier and later lived in Sarajevo for 45 years and left a number of written works and objects. You might find the book 'Architecture of Bosnia and the Road to Modernity' written by Juraj Najdhart and Dusan Grabrijan. " When asked what was his favorite project, David Finci replied that it was a Pelegrin he believed could be saved: "I'm subjective. It has been 26 years (2015) that Pelegrin was bombed and subsequently destroyed more and more. If it is possible to preserve the reinforced concrete structure as estimated by the structural engineer, it may be possible to save Pelegrin. "

Finci's small but important opus in Croatia is not properly valorized or treated today. The fate of Pelegrin is uncertain as it is scheduled to be demolished for the needs of the new resort planned in Kupari. With its demolition, they lost a bismuth-like part of Europe's architectural heritage. In Kupari, the architecturally insignificant Hotel Grand, as the oldest hotel there, has a formal monumental protection, while Pelegrin has undoubtedly received the most significant and internationally recognized architecture. To the cultural public, two outstanding residential villas, which, like Pelegrin, deserve the status of the immovable cultural property of the Republic of Croatia, remain to the present day, and are at the very top of Fincius' oeuvre, as well as the country architecture of the second half of the 20th century in Croatia.

While Pelegrin was presented at the exhibition dedicated to architecture in socialist Yugoslavia at the New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), it has been confirmed not only by the best experts from Croatia, but also by international experts, local conservation services, and despite the appeals of the professional and cultural public, recognized its value at all.

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bostjan, January 15th, 2021
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