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Women In Architecture, Modernism, Postwar Modernism

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2013 – 2014


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A Woman's Touch in Architectural History of Rijeka

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Article last edited by Bostjan on
April 10th, 2019

Ada Felice-Rošić and Nada Šilović Change this

"Ada Felice-Rošić and Nada Šilović; a Woman’s Touch in A ...

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The book "Ada Felice-Rošić and Nada Šilović; a Woman's Touch in Architectural History of Rijeka" and the exhibition of the same title, organized at Rijeka City Museum from November 2013 until January 2014, are dedicated to architects who have made an important contribution to Rijeka's construction after the Second World War. As the author Lidija Butković Mićin writes in the exhibition catalog:

"The contribution of women to the field of architecture, like in many other fields, came significantly later in comparison with their male counterparts, and is still under-researched. In Croatia, more women gained access to architectural education as a result of a post-1945 wider support to their economical emancipation and more prominent participation in the public domain. Nada Šilović (1924-2009) and Ada Felice-Rošić (1922-2013) were one of those post-war female pioneers who, after graduation from the Technical Faculty’s Architecture Department in Zagreb, began their respectable careers as the associates of Architectural and Engineering Design Office in Rijeka. The town of Rijeka was still recovering from the war-inflicted severe material damage of its infrastructure and industry, while at the same time undergoing the demographic fluctuations due to the massive emigration of the Italian citizens. The efforts of a small group of professionals to bring change to a socially decimated town had a side effect of more egalitarian attitude towards female architects, who, under the circumstances of dynamic rebuilding and urban expansion, had a greater chance to work on their own. Both Felice and Šilović “broke the ice” and seized the opportunity. Šilović must have been particularly busy, considering the number of projects she did during her short stay in Rijeka (1948 – 1956). During 1950’s they designed high quality, contemporary blocks of flats in attractive locations, balancing subtly the acquired architectural premises of the modernist tradition and the restrictions of post-war social housing projects. Nada Šilović also designed the adaptation of the former Italian school building in Dolac, Rijeka to Modern Art Gallery and University Library, which was the biggest cultural investment of that period. Both institutions have shared that same building ever since. However, that was the last project that Nada Šilović did in the area of Rijeka because she moved back to her hometown Zagreb, where she continued her career in town planning. On the other hand, Ada Felice-Rošić started working in the project bureau for the building company “Primorje”, where she kept creating her varied oeuvre until she retired in the mid 1970’s. The building of Trade School for Shop-keeping and Textile Industry, the only post-war high school building, and the first modern department store Korzo, opened in the 1970’s, stand out among her projects in Rijeka.
Nevertheless, her project of skyscrapers in Kozala defined the town skyline and they are still the first thing that visitors see upon arriving in Rijeka. Thus, in the long history of male architects designing the town urbanity on the banks of the river Rječina, Ada Felice-Rošić and Nada Šilović were the first to bring a woman’s touch.


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