May 27, 2016 - Nov 27, 2016


Montenegro - Biennale Architettura 2016


Near Montenegro’s most southern town Ulcinj sits the former saline “Bajo Sekulic,” a completely artificial, man-made biotope which has taken on almost global importance as a crucial node in the migratory patterns of birds. As such, the Solana Ulcinj is the front line of all kinds of conflicts: between nature and culture; the local and the global; economy and environmental awareness.Project Solana Ulcinj, commissioned by Dijana Vucinic and the Ministry of sustainable development and tourism and curated by Bart Lootsma and Katharina Weinberger, is the Montenegrin contribution to the 15th International Architecture Exhibition of the Biennale di Architettura. The Montenegrin pavilion hostsfour projects outlining four different sustainable futures for the Solana Ulcinj, developed specially for the Biennale di Architettura by four practices: ecoLogicStudio from London, LOLA form Rotterdam, LAAC from Innsbruck,and Marko Stjepčević and Nemanja Milićević from Podgorica. The last project was decided upon by a competition in Montenegro. Project Solana Ulcinj is accompanied by a series of three symposiums in Montenegro and in Venice.
Solana Open Aviary
London-based ecoLogicStudio proposes to take the artificial territory of the Solana Ulcinj, which was shaped in the twentieth century by industrial and mechanical processes, to the twenty-first century by means of the latest technologies. Their project “Solana Open Aviary”proposes to literally turn the site into an aviary with outa net, where birds and humans can explore close interaction“without being forcefully enclosed in a confined envelope; this is made possible by digital bird tracking technologies, hi-resolution satellite earth monitoring and robotically driven land sculpting.” “Open” refers in this project just as well to open systems, open source technologies, and the “open” networks of sites defined by migration. The project connects all scales, from the intercontinental scale of bird migration to the molecular scale of the salt and other chemicals that define the special landscape of the Solana Ulcinj. On the largest scale, ecoLogicStudio shows that the Solana Ulcinj is part of a larger network of other salines in Europe and northern Africa, which go through similar problems.These habitats may be scattered over many different countries, but they are all parts of a larger project when it comes to preserve the global bird population and its complex migratory behaviour. Therefore, ecoLogicStudio propose that an international NGO, with international funding, should be in charge of these places. In collaboration with ESA, ecoLogicStudio show the latest analyses of Sentinella2, a high resolution monitoring satellite, which can reveal biochemical processes onthe ground and in the water. This reveals the Solana Ulcinj as a landscape that is inextricably the product of the combination of human agency and local biological life. Similar conditions to the ones that appear in the Solana Ulcinj appear in the surrounding landscape,which might enable to virtually enlarge the field of the biotope and thus increase its capacity. At the same time an increase of the range of activities in this area enables economic development on a local scale. The tectonic of the Open Aviary becomes literally a combination of the geological tectonic and human interventions in the skin of the earth. It becomes a robotically fabricated artificial but highly differentiated landscape, capable of attracting an even wider variety of bird species and accommodating all kinds of new programs, from research to leisure and from sports to healthcare.
LOLA Landscape Architects, a Dutch practice based in Rotterdam, wants to increase the current biodiversity in the Solana Ulcinj even more in their proposal “The Saline Pyramid of Species.” They do this by activating and differentiating the salt sedimentation system in order to generate more life, more diversity of life, and new ways of experiencing the beauty of it all. They introduce more pumps in the saline and propose to pump up salt water all year, instead of just in the hot season to which the industrial salt production was originally limited. Their idea is not to produce more salt, as the Solana could never compete in price with Chinese salt, but to produce salt of a higher and more specific quality, which can be sold for higher prices. Therefore, a smaller part of the Solana Ulcinj would be used for this salt production,and it would use the latest robot technology for harvesting. The real reason for the year-round pumping is to attract even more different kinds of birds, also in periods where there are not that many present right now. These new species are attracted by a larger differentiation of the different fields, which entrepreneurs,hotel owners and farmers can use for different smalls cale leisure activities (bird watching, floating on saltwater, mud baths) or production. The existing buildings would be redeveloped for leisure activities and only a few selected buildings and machines with specific functions (floating sauna, watchtowers, overnight stay cabins, etc.) would be added. A new path system,including new waterways, would make the edges accessible,while the core would remain inaccessible. In the exhibition, the richness of the new, upgraded ecosystem will be demonstrated through a wall with 1000 laser cut contours of all species that could live in the new Solana Ulcinj, from microbes and shrimps through plants and birds to predators and finally humans. In this project, it is assumed that the (national) government of Montenegro owns the Solana Ulcinj, activates the main pumps and does basic maintenance, while encouraging and coordinating local private parties to take entrepreneurial initiatives for production or tourist activities,to increase the biodiversity and to improve the local economy.
With their project “Coexistence” Innsbruck-based practice LAAC present an animation that transcends the current reality in a more poetical and architectural way. Together with the Viennese firm artfabrik, they have made a complete 3D laser scan of the whole landscape of the Solana Ulcinj. The digital material of this laser scan,which is incredibly detailed, forms the basis for a mesmerizing series of digital metamorphoses, in which nature constantly morphs into technology and the other way round, constantly blurring the boundaries between nature and artifice, suggesting the possibility of a coexistence of the two. Proposals for a new museum on the site, dedicated to modern art and nature, and partial re-use of the existing buildings complete the project.
Marko Stjepčevic and Nemanja Milićević“The Trigger” realizes that protection of the Solana Ulcinj is a complex issue and consciously proposes a series of strategies and design principles rather than an over all design. It puts the Solana in the larger context of Montenegro and reconsiders its relationship to it indifferent ways. The project consists of three parts. In the former hangar for the storage of salt, the storage part is reduced as a smaller amount of high quality salt will be produced instead of the former large scale industrial production. The largest part of the hangar will become a covered market, where regional agricultural products and of course the products of the saline are sold to generate income. A small train line connects it to the city of Ulcinj. A grid of follies, small buildings with a particular function, is laid out over the saline and in its surroundings to generate new touristic activities, limited to small groups of people not to disturb flora and fauna, and to improve surveillance to prevent poaching. Last but not least, The Trigger questions the economical and natural sustainability of the current water management onsite and proposes a new system to bring up salt water,which would need less energy, would therefore be less polluting and cost less money.
The first symposium, “THE BRIEF” took place in Ulcinj on February 12 and 13. Here, the participants in the project got input from regional, national and international experts in the fields of planning, ecology and sustainable tourism. This resulted in the public reading and discussion of “The Brief”, which was the point of departure for both the international practices and the competition in Montenegro. The symposium was open to the general public and it was visited by a crowd of local inhabitants,people from other parts of Montenegro and politicians.The second symposium, “REPORTING FROM MONTENEGRO” took place in the Montenegrin Pavilion in Venice on May 29. It presented Project Solana Ulcinj for an international audience in Venice, addressing this years Biennale di Architettura theme.The third symposium “THE DEBATE” took place in Kotor, Montenegro, on July 24. It presented and discussed the results of Project Solana Ulcinj for the national and international audience of the KotorAPSS (Kotor Architectural Prison Summer School) -
Montenegro Pavilion 360 tour
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Credits: Story

Commissioner: Dijana Vučinić
Curator: Bart Lootsma
Co-Curator: Katharina Weinberger
Editors: Dijana Vučinić, Bart Lootsma, Katharina Weinberger
Graphic design: Luka Bošković
Photography: Luka Bošković, Bart Lootsma
Website design & development: Petar Đurić
Organization: Dijana Vučinić, Bart Lootsma, Katharina Weinberger, Laura Sattin,
Ana Dobrašinović, Andrijana Sekulić, Besnik Derviši, Zoja Leković, Marko Batrićević,
Marina Spahić, Željka Čurović

ecoLogicSTUDIO: Claudia Pasquero, Marco Poletto, Terezia Greskova, Vlad Daraban
LAAC Architects: Kathrin Aste, Frank Ludin, Benjamin Ennemoser, Alois Hehenberger,
Cenk Güzelis, Lino Lanzmaier, Marco Russo, Ufuk Sagir, Fabien Stoque, Ferdinand Rubach,
Will Stafford, Kristaps Andris Austers, Joseph Matthias Mittermeier.
in Cooperation with Artfabrik: Matthias Hosp, Harald Koell, Alexander Senfter, Martin Kohlert
LOLA Landscape Architects: Eric-Jan Pleijster, Peter Veenstra, Brigitta van Weeren,
Simon Verbeeck, Marco Peruzzi.
The Trigger 50/50: Marko Stjepčević, Nemanja Milićević.

Advisory Board: Dragana Čenić, Jelena Knežević, Azra Vuković, Anja Amidžić, Marina Spahić,
Darko Saveljić, Vasilije Bušković, Slavko Burzan, Andrej Nikolaidis, Selim Rasulbegović,
Radosav Čović, Miloš Janković, Robert Schäfer, Bernd Upmeyer.

Credits: All media
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