As part of the CONNECTING SEPATARED project, a multidisciplinary student workshop was held in Ljubuški from 2 to 6 March 2016 with a goal to design an urban intervention for the access road to the Roman military camp in Gračine. The task was to add a spatial and social value to the almost forgotten and neglected locality, which could trigger broader changes with an adequate archeological presentation of this valuable archeological site.
A total of 20 students of different disciplines - architecture, visual arts and archeology attended the workshop, coming from Arts Academy in Široki Brijeg (ALU), Faculty of Civil engineering, Architecture and Geodesy in Split (FGAG), Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Mostar (FF) and Faculty of Architecture in Zagreb (AF). Students from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina worked in 4 groups composed of 5 members. The division was carried out according to the principle of uniform allocation of participants depending on the partner state they come from, the professional orientation and degree of the previous education (2nd to 5th year), all with the aim of mutual networking on the mentioned dimensions. The process of analyzing the broader and narrow context, combined with the prepared materials of historical, cultural and social significance of the location itself, but also of the wider environment in which geomorphological, climatological and sociological data are presented, has resulted in development of four different concepts. Each concept established the relationship between past and present. Furthermore, the established correlation is adequately accompanied by innovative designs of individual urban interventions with clear spatial aspects and responses to location data.
On a public presentation, held on the last day of the workshop in Ljubuški City Hall, each group presented a spatially-conceptual proposal that would in a creative and inspirational way memorize the Roman military camp at Gračine and attract local and temporary visitors. According to the votes of the audience and the jury, the group of authors with concept named SpomenArh was the most successful one. Its construction was funded from the project CONNECTING SEPARATED together with the newly renovated walkway to the Roman military camp on Gračine.
Authors: Srećko Babić (ALU Široki Brijeg, 3rd year, graphics studies), Marin Bodrožić (FGAG Split, 2nd year of graduate studies of architecture), Iva Džaja (UMAS, 4th year, painting studies), Zdravka Džajić (FGAG, 3rd year of graduate studies of architecture), Kristina Livančić (ALU Široki Brijeg, 4th year, sculpture studies)
Archaeological heritage, regardless of the period in which it belongs, is part of our total cultural identity. However, due to economic, intellectual and / or other disadvantages, there is a lack of emotional attachment, discouragement and even destruction of the local population towards cultural goods as a potential for social and economic development. SpomenArh thus represents multiple values, most of which manifest the attempt to divert the attention from the diversity of heritage to its specific social and cultural landscape. The archeological site of Gračine almost does not exist on the imaginary mental map of the citizens, therefore the project suggests a significant narrative turnaround - by revalorizing almost century-old activity of amateur archaeologists along the Trebižat valley. That is the move in which the project eludes from public space issues into the public domain, and the issue of history is translated into the sphere of collective memory. This opens the real possibility for the site to be re-entered into the mental map of the local population, and then gaining wider recognition and purpose.
The authors' proposal is a multilayered one, but in the formative sense it starts with clear spatial data and simple formative characteristics adapted to the natural environment. The project is complementary to the existing promenade and intervenes as its end, as a stopping point, or a memorial finalization through which it enters the site. The entrance is articulated with a deliberate fracture of the view and of the possible movement towards the site. Within the circle, the authors create a memorial section made up of upright metal plates containing information about the findings and discoverers, and of the years pointing to the dynamics of artifact discovery. Part of the monumental circle is confronted with a part of the seating circle, i.e bench, so we can say that in the space there is a confrontation between two verticals - amateur archaeologists who are no longer alive and the living visitors. This gesture invokes responsibility for our own heritage, but also a deeper look at the dynamic history of the community formed around the Roman military camp.