Mamutica is not alone on Novi Zagreb. On the other side of what was planned as the Central Park of Novi Zagreb (but was never built) another huge building was built – Super Andrija in Siget. In its dimensions it is similar to Mamutica but Super Andrija has smaller number of inhabitants – only a little bit over 4,000.
The beauty is similar, although Super Andrija is more pure example of the brutalist architecture – here concrete is left totally raw, making the interesting surface to the joy of its architects and to the horror of ots inhabitants.
With Mamutica and Super Andrija a heroic period of Novi Zagreb ended, and the mistakes of these huge buildings were never repeated again.
btw, Super Andrija is my age :-)
Siget is not only Super Andrija. These five buildings on the southern edge of Siget are also a symbol of this neighbourhood. Their relationship is something that you can’t miss when you approach Zagreb from the south.
And since they are located next to the main city north-south axis, the view from its top floors is one of the best views in Zagreb. For those lucky enough to live in northern flats of the building, the layers of the city – Sava river in the foreground, old Zagreb in a distance and Medvednica mountain in the background are offered like a special award.
Of course, there was a price to be paid for the large park of Travno. The program still had to house 10,000 inhabitants.
Almost all the buildings in Travno had their names assigned by architects, and the most western one was named Tratincica (Daisy). But soon after it was built, this monster-building was popularly named Mamutica (Mammoth-building).
It is the largest single building in the country. Almost half of Travno’s population – approximately 5,000 people live here. Eighteen floors built over several service levels and several undergound levels reserved for parking.
It is the first thing you’ll see if you approach Zagreb from Karlovac. It’s huge. Locating your own window is still a problem for majority of its inhabitants.
You can’t be indifferent to it. You simply must have your opinion. It is love it or hate it story.
Utrina was built after Zapruðe and the architects learnt from their mistakes. There are much more different types of buildings here, flats are better and there's different sizes of flats available. As Zapruðe - which is just across the road - has a supermarket, Utrina got a market instead. There even is a small fish market here!
Zapruðe was Novi Zagreb's first neighbourhood and its flats are the smallest and quality is lowest. I still liked it best of the ones I saw I think.
The neighbourhood has only the different types of buildings, 8 storey buildings in north-south direction, 4 storey buildings in east-west direction as well as some skyscrapers near the river. The idea was to provide every building with good views of "old" Zagreb and Medvednica Mountain behind it and not to block the view.
Underpassages connect the different neighbourhoods of Novi Zagreb so that traffic can flow. Again in Germany I would expect basically anything here and would try to avoid these places. The one we walked through in Novi Zagreb (the one between Zapruðe and Utrina) was very modern and bright though. No need to be scared here. I especially liked the cartoon drawings replacing written signs.
GREEN NOVI ZAGREB
There are small parks everywhere in Novi Zagreb. You never live too close to your neighbours and there's always some green in front of your windows or near it. In Travno there's the biggest park right next to Mamutica.
We didn't have time to see Park Mladenaca. In this park every couple of Novi Zagreb that gets married can plant a tree. What a nice idea!
THE 14TH FLOOR
We went into one of the entrances of Mamutica and took the elevator up to the top floor. From here you could have a nice view over the neighbourhoods of Novi Zagreb. As it was getting dark and foggy when we were there we didn't see much unfortunately. But if you happen to come here on a sunny day you shouldn't miss it. The doors aren't locked.
Nikša told us that there is approx. one suicide every year from Mamutica. Mostly by people who don't live here.
In order to have space for a big public park 5,000 people had to move into one big building at Travno. The building is called "Mamutica" by everybody because it fits much better than the actual name Tratincica (Daisy). It's huge! Actually it's the biggest building in Croatia.
In Germany I wouldn't want to go near a building like this because I would expect drug addicts and petty thiefs behind every corner. It's different here. As in socialist times people were given a flat "normal" people moved here - mostly young families. So this isn't a social blackspot and people are happy living here. I bet they have nice views, I still wouldn't want to live in a building that large. Imagine saying "Hello" to all your neighbours when moving in ;)
When Travno was planned the inhabitants of the already existant neighbourhoods were asked what they are missing in their neighbourhood. A great majority said that the parks were too small and that buildings were too close to each other. They wanted a big public park.
As they still had to build flats for 10,000 inhabitants architects had the idea to put half of them into one big building so that they had space enough for a wide park. This is why there's Mamutica (see next tip), large green areas and even some bungalows here!
The people who planned Novi Zagreb had some nice ideas for it:
Every neighbourhood was planned to have approx. 6-10,000 inhabitants so that one elementary school per neighbourhood would have enough space for all the kids.
Every neighbourhood has two kindergartens.
In every neighbourhood there is some shopping (supermarket or market) and there are cafés, restaurants, cultural centres, parks etc.
To let traffic flow better than in "old" Zagreb there are hardly any zebra crossings but underpassages under the main roads.
The tram has its own tramline in the middle of the roads so it doesn't get stuck.
Architects that built Travno had the same program as everywhere else - it was to house 10,000 inhabitants within a rather limited area defined by large roads. Most of the inhabitants of older neighbourhoods complained that they lack public spaces, and that the density is high, despite the large number of trees and green spaces. (In fact, there was a strict program requirement that set the number of trees per inhabitant.)
So when they started to draw Travno on the drawing board, the main idea was to create a large open space, a public park set in the middle of the neighbourhood. It became a green oasis of children playgrounds, sports terrains and groups of seating arrangements, surrounded by school, kindergartens and other public amenities (library, cultural centre, shopping centre, cafes and restaurants). This is still the largest neighbourhood park in Novi Zagreb.
Novi Zagreb neighbourhoods
Most neigbourhoods that were built shortly after Zaprudje – Utrina, Siget, Sopot etc. did not reach building speeds of Zaprudje, but quality of flats and buildings was greatly improved.
Each neighbourhood was dimensioned after an elementary school – so the number of inhabitants varies between 6,000 and 10,000, which is enough to have enough students in elementary school.
Since they were built at the same time, and the young families that moved in were very similar, schools of Novi Zagreb have sinus-lines of number of pupils. A decade ago school in Zaprudje was almost closed (at the time when most of the first-generation children went to studies or to work). Now it is full again, most of today’s pupils being children of the people who were born and raised in the neigbourhoods of Novi Zagreb.
Although always set in green environment, people saw no real parks in the anonymous greenery that surrounded their buildings. That’s why in the building of Travno neighbourhood there was a different approach.
Low rises at Siget
Not everyone is crazy about great views and some people still prefer the contact with the ground. Although in general the buildings of Novi Zagreb are high-rise, there are some examples of different building types.
One of the most beautiful examples are these row houses in Siget. Already at the time when they were built they were reserved for the wealthier people. Since they are very close to Super Andrija they make an interesting inversion where the poorer people live up, and the richer are left down.
Recently there was an article in Saturday edition of the local newspaper about Mamutica. One couple who met in Mamutica are now married and were unhappy while living in Zaprudje that they had to go back to Mamutica. It is the environment they were used to.
In the labyrinth of its undergound storeys there are not only garages – garages are rented to rock bands and to various local craftsmen who have their small workshops here.
In average there is one suicide per year from Mamutica. (Some people proudly say they are almost never locals – they are simply attracted by the size of the building).
It is very solid and proved to be quite stabile in recent earthquakes. Its concrete walls are so thick, that you have no chance if you want to hang a painting in your living room by your hands and simple hammer – you need special machines to put a nail in the wall.
The elevators in Mamutica have more passengers per day than the Zagreb airport. If only Mamutica had the same amount of investments for general repairs.
Today Travno has about 15,000 inhabitants. At the moment there's a research project "Urban anthropology of Novi Zagreb neighbourhood - Everyday culture in Travno".
Follow the link for details (In Croatian). It will be interesting to hear the results from the local people!