Motel Trogir was built in 1965 and designed by one of the leading architects of the Socialist Yugoslavia – Ivan Vitić. It is situated at the western entrance to the city of Trogir in Southern Croatia, on the Adriatic coast (25km from the city of Split). Today it marks one of the neuralgic points of the town since for many years it has been standing devastated due to unresolved ownership issues (due to the criminal privatization of what once was ‘social(ized) property’, in the beginning of the 1990s). Built at a time when the character of tourism in Trogir was mostly transitory, the motel was conceived in parallel with the construction of the Adriatic Highway. At the time it has been seen as one of the “performative ” elements that would fit into the utopian vision of this road imagined as a feature film that would be “shown to the passengers on the screen of their car window.” The motel is, in general, an exception to the typology of Adriatic tourism, and it is argued that the idea of such buildings in the Yugoslav socialist society came through American movies.
The Motel in Trogir is one in the series of Vitić’s Adriatic motels, two being planned for Trieste and Umag, and two more being built in Rijeka and Biograd, each similar but different. It consists of several characteristic buildings arranged within a clear and spacious orthogonal system: the main building connected by a promenade with two annexes, while on the southern part of the plot, close to the coastline, there are six typical bungalows stretched. It is the size of the plot, and to a lesser extent the architecture of the relatively small motel, that has caused an increased interest in the ownership of it, and by examining of the condition of the property today, one can speculate about “strategies of decay” employed in order to set the plot “free” or open it to a new construction business.
In the beginning of 2013, a group of citizens gathered around Slobodne veze/Loose Associations platform started the campaign for the formal protection of the Motel as part of the architectural heritage. Wide international support and a significant media echo, along with numerous activities in the course of the campaign, led to the inscription of the Motel in the Registry of Protected Cultural Goods by the Ministry of Culture of Croatia, at the end of 2013. The same process was initiated for the motel in Rijeka too and is expected to result in it’s formal protection too. However, this is just a first step towards the real protection of this building.
Text by Nataša Bodrožić & Saša Šimpraga / Photo credits: Duška Boban
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