Adaptation and Reconstruction of Dom Revolucije

Nikšic, Montenegro 2016

community and infrastructure

international competition, 1st prize

Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism Montenegro

Nikšic, Montenegro

Site area
23.288 m2

Building area
8.755 m2

Total floor area
21.738 m2

Renovated area
7.000 m2


cafe, education, workshops, performance, events

reinforced concrete, steel trusses, extensive glazing

prefabricated insulating panels, glazing, wood structure

SADAR+VUGA, HHF Architects and Dijana Vučinić

competition team:
SADAR+VUGA (Jurij Sadar, Boštjan Vuga, Kenneth Woods), HHF (Tilo Herlach, Simon Hartmann, Simon Frommenwiler, Mariana Santana, Matija Vukovic, Marta Malinverni), Luise Rellensmann (cultural heritage expert), Archicon (local consultant)

development team:
SADAR+VUGA (Jurij Sadar, Boštjan Vuga, Janž Omerzu, Tomaž Krištof, Tjaša Plavec, Rok Debevec), HHF Architects (Tito Herlach, Simon Hartmann, Simon Frommenwiler, Matija Vuković), Dijana Vučinić, Archicon

On the 30th anniversary for the liberation of Nikšic, the Municipal Assembly voted to build a memorial to the fallen fighters for freedom and the socialist revolution; Dom revolucije (the Home of Revolution). The project was intended to be an architectural hybrid that would represent the socio-political structure of Nikšic. Marko Mušic, a Slovenian architect, was chosen to design the project. Construction started on the 18th of September, 1978, and after eleven years of construction works were suspended. After sitting 27 years as an uncompleted shell in the middle of the urban fabric of Nikšic, the ‘Competition for the Adaptation and Reconstruction for the Home of Revolution’ is an opportunity for the transformation of the existing building and Nikšic itself.

It was decided that the main intervention should be one that would serve the city and its residents, a social activator that would represent today’s changing conditions. Through analysis and local consultation it was determined that trying to complete the existing megastructure would not work as such a project would be suited to a city more than ten times Nikšic’s size. Therefore a strategy was developed which could take the existing built structure as a starting point, and with minimal interventions and insertions a new type of urban space could be developed. With the introduction of a large underground parking, Dom becomes an urban infrastructure making it a gateway into the city. It allows the old city to become pedestrian, and frees the urban surfaces for cafe seating, pedestrian exploration and for children to play. The visitors who arrive by automobile arrive and are free to enter Dom and explore the social spaces to the north, or to exit to the south and explore the city beyond.

By treating the existing structure as an urbanscape rather than a building, SADAR+VUGA and HHF developed a 10/20/70 strategy. The 10% refers to spaces that would be acclimatized and have year-round defined functions. This manifested in the form of three plugins which could be inserted inside the existing covered urbanscape. These inserted objects contain a cafe, coworking office and gallery spaces, and educational workshops. The language for these plugins is pragmatic and their volumetrics respond to the adjacent architectural forms. The 20% refers to the promenade which transects the building north to south and east to west. The promenades connect the exterior landscape (Dom Park), the interior plugins, and the access to the underground parking infrastructure. The adjacent spaces along the promenade would be renovated and safe, but the functions are left undefined and flexible, changing to the seasons and the users’ themselves. The 70% are those spaces which are safe and secured, but not renovated. These spaces would not be used on a daily basis, but could be made available for use on special occasions.

The advantage of this approach is that it is flexible, affordable, and sustainable. This strategy has the ability to address the current socio-political environment of Nikšic, without discrediting the existing architecture and without being ignorant to its past. The new strategy is one that embraces the qualities of the existing architecture where it is pragmatic, covers it where it is dangerous, and intervenes where it is needed. It is an architecture of reuseism.