Visitor Centres as a Contribution to Improving Urban-Rural Relations: From Primary Needs to Landmarks

Visitor Centres as a Contribution to Improving Urban-Rural Relations: From Primary Needs to Landmarks

Aleksandar Videnovic (Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade, Serbia) and Milos Arandjelovic (Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade, Serbia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9932-6.ch010

Abstract

The architecture of public buildings in rural areas, through the advancement of skills, knowledge, technologies, and materials, has become increasingly representative in recent decades, especially considering tourism as a global theme. The work is related to the planning of visitor centers in rural areas and the main task is defined by the effort to improve the quality of life in such areas, that is, highlight the major advantages in space, such as the natural environment. The aim of the research is defined by establishing certain elements in the planning of the visitor centers within the idea of promoting local values and cultural heritage. The first part of the chapter has been defined as an analysis of the theoretical views. The second part of the study has been defined as an analysis of the visitor centers. Through a case study, in the third part of the chapter, the work presents a comparative overview of the process to achieve two individual similar investments in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
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Modern Architecture As A Prerequisite For Improvement Of Urban-Rural Relations

Rural-urban relations, when viewed, should be observed primarily through the lens of the living, housing and working styles. Life in the country is characterized by individual housing that implies free space surrounding the house - a backyard, a building (the house) and auxiliary, agriculture- related buildings. As far as the economic structure of rural communities is concerned, it should be noted that the number of non-agricultural households has been increasing in recent years, significantly impacting the changes in architecture of specific buildings.

Pointing out the similarities and differences of architecture in urban and rural areas in the research is important because it indicates the possibility of a certain cultural and thus economic cooperation between the city and the village. The result of this cooperation, on the other hand, can be a framework for improving the degree of rural development, but certainly defining the starting points in the contemporary design sense. More specifically, in which direction it is necessary to consider and develop the architecture of the Visitor Centers as tourist oriented objects. A theoretical analysis of planning and construction in the city or countryside in this regard contributes to the understanding of a way of life that largely determines the criteria for building such content. Establishing certain criteria on the other hand is important, because besides the program typology, it indicates the possibility of cooperation of similar centers in the regional - interstate framework.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Critical Regionalism: This is an approach in architecture that strives to oppose the universality and lack of meaning common in modern architecture by using the elements and influences of the environment which contribute to the feeling of belonging and meaning. It is considered a reaction to universality and standardization brought by the Modern architecture.

Istocni Drvar: A newly formed municipality in Republika Srpska (BiH), with the centre in the village of Potoci. Bigger cities are generally located at the borders between the two entities, so they have been divided into main urban areas in the territory of the Federation and smaller suburban or rural areas which settlements that do not meet the requirements of centricity and which are located in Republika Srpska.

“Staro Selo” Museum: An exhibit consisting of a reconstruction of a traditional old Serbian village in Sirogojno settlement at Zlatibor Mountain in West Serbia. Old houses and auxiliary buildings have been transplanted form different original rural settings, and thus saved from natural destruction (erosion) so they could testify on customs, vernacular, sociological and other traditional characteristics and values of life in the past in the form of a designed museological open-space exhibit. Village also provides accommodation, services and activities for the tourists.

Non-Agricultural Households: Households in rural settlements whose members do not engage in agriculture but in administrative occupations (in education, healthcare, administration, government agencies, services or crafts), so they do not work on their land or keep livestock. If, however, they do also perform these activities on their farms, these households are defined as mixed.

New Recognisability: Constructing architectural creations in immediate surroundings or in synergy – symbiosis with the existing natural or man-made sites, and in the goal of reaffirming those sites (i.e., promoting the interest in increased number of tours or re-visits), in order to raise the profits from tourism.

Entity Republika Srpska: According to the Dayton accord (i.e., the peace accords that ended the war [1992 – 1995]), Bosnia and Herzegovina was divided into two entities: Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“The Šargan Eight”: A heritage railway created on an old narrow-gauge main line between Belgrade and Dubrovnik, i.e. on the section between Užice (Serbia) and Višegrad (BiH). The railway, due to a big difference in altitude that it has to overcome during a very short section in the surroundings of Šargan village, forms a double serpentine turn by passing through a number of tunnels. Viewed from above, this section forms an eight. For the last 15 years, during the period between April and October, multiple round-trips from the village of Mokra Gora have been organized on daily basis. On this ride, the passengers can enjoy mountain landscapes with short stops in small stations in places with interesting surroundings.

Vernacular Architecture: Authentic, folk architecture that belongs to the indigenous population and which stemmed from the experience of self-taught naïve builders.

Cooperative Homes: Buildings constructed mostly according to standardized design in the Yugoslav villages after World War 2 as multipurpose social and ideological creations (they served as culture events halls, agricultural produce storages, general stores…) which were tailored to the characteristics and size of their respective settlements. They also possessed a utilitarian character and ideological task to direct the population (especially the youth) towards new (socialist) social circumstances through intensive propaganda.

Species Range: Part of the territory or aquatic surface in which a certain population performs its life processes. The shape and form of the territory covered by this range are impacted by the interaction between ecological factors and the specific population (species) and the history of it development (phylogenesis). The borders of this territory are the borders of a species distribution.

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