The „Histria Aromatica“ homestead is at the centre of a unique agricultural and tourist complex planted with indigenous, medicinal and aromatic plants and herbs. The complex is located on a formerly neglected hill in the Pizanovac Bale municipality in Istria. At its highest point lies a unique micro location offering unobstructed panoramic views of the Istrian coast, from the historic town of Rovinj to the national park of the Brijuni archipelago.
The homestead consists of three programmatic units – a residence, a restaurant and a museum with educational facilities. Along with the outdoor area of the square, these spaces are designed for a range of scenarios: permanent housing, day trips to the complex, educational programs, workshops, sales of self-made products and the preparation and sales of produce grown on the property.
Fitting the usages in around the square surface has created a clearly defined space, a place for various gatherings and events. The spatial accent of this cascade square is the two-storey residential part of the complex. The fountain – as its counterpoint – actually hides the accumulation of rainwater for watering the plants.
The contemporary architectural vocabulary and palette of materials, with an emphasis on local stone excavated on site, provide a contemporary interpretation of the local architectural and urban motifs: stone walls, kažun (little stone huts), narrow passages, streets and squares. Moreover, the use of stone from the site is primarily the result of a rational decision to build with available materials, as a contribution tosustainability.
The openings are precisely positioned and dimensioned to frame the landscape, opening up vistas from inside, but also allowing indirect visual contact with the square and the surrounding landscape, thereby emphasising the strong connection between the architecture and its own environment.
Although the circumstances that affected the formation of the architecture significantly changed during the seven-year process, from general economic and social impacts to a series of quite arbitrary decisions during construction, it would appear that the concept and the basic conditions have not lost their validity and relevance.