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Block on Wall

New holiday retreat studios, scheme design

Vrboska, Island of Hvar, Croatia, 2017

By moving through private, semi-private and public spaces, exploring the many layers of stone walls, the guests adjust the intensity of socializing with one another.




The project for new holiday studios is located in the town of Vrboska on the island of Hvar, on the northern slope of the bay. The main feature of the relatively narrow site is the sloping terrain facing south, with narrow and rare views towards the sea. The plot itself is surrounded with detached, multi floored, compact apartment houses of various typologies, located on separated terraced plots. Having all these site conditions in mind, we proposed an introverted spatial scenario where stone walls, like an onion with many layers, surround the plot, opening only where beautiful vistas to the sea or immediate surroundings are possible.


The proposed scheme design encourages coexistence of guests and collective use of common facilities of the site, instigating site exploration and interaction with both unintentional and planned run-ins of guests. By layering successive stone walls that have precisely located openings, it is possible to move from public to ever more private space. By doing so we created several layers of diverse ambiances and programs around each central living unit.


The semi-public programs are distributed along the slope starting on top with a small gym and sauna, connected to the pool deck, followed by the children’s playground, underground, naturally ventilated common parking garage, beach volleyball court, a small outdoor gym, night cinema, picnic area, sunbathing and hammock decks,

a swimming pool in the olive groove, etc. By moving through private, semi-private, semi-public and public spaces the guests can adjust the intensity of socializing with other guests.


The scenario of ‘coexistence’ favors common spaces to private spaces, located in the upper floors. The private living units are comprised of four compact, horizontal, concrete volumes with gabled roofs that are, like blocks, placed on the ground floor stone walls. There is no additional vertical support, therefore the existing structural scheme acts like a bridge, enabling vast indoor living area underneath.


Aside from the most inner living areas in the top floor, the remaining program stays either indoors or outdoors between the stone walls under the pergolas and canopies. The common spaces allow for maximum interaction between users and explore the boundaries of privacy. The living unit is not understood as a classic private house, but as a ‘living field’ where the living space can extend along the entire plot.


Location: Vrboska, Hvar Island, Croatia

Project date: 2017
Completion date: -

Site area: 2.483 m2

Building area: 547 m2

Total floor area: 1.157 m2 

Type: residential/holiday/leisure/sport

Client: Private


Project team: SVET VMES, d.o.o.: Jure Hrovat, Ana Kreč, Žiga Rošer, Marko Kavčič

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