Zlatibor is a well known mountain resort in central Serbia. The surrounding area is characterised by beautiful nature and a rich cultural heritage. Over the years, however, nature and tradition have given way to dense urbanisation. The few empty plots that remain in the town centre are all marked for further expansion. The Zlatibor Residencies project is sited on one of these plots, in a pine forest adjacent to Hotel Palisad.
Both the urban plan and the wishes of the investor suggest a dense structure of individual towers which would do away with the existing pine forest completely. In order to preserve as much of the green area as possible, we propose a more classical building-block type structure. At first glance, this might seem a more suitable building typology for a heavily urbanised area but with a small modification of the volume, it allows us to accommodate the same amount of apartment units while maintaining the green and natural character of the site.
Three classical building blocks with apartments oriented on both sides are placed on the plot in a way that offers the best views while allowing for the maximum permeability of the site. In order not to block views and to enable light to enter into the apartments facing the inner courtyard of each building block, two of the corners are lowered to touch the terrain. To compensate for the space thus given up, the other two corners slightly exceed the height of the orthogonal volume originally envisaged. Where the buildings are lowered, gaps are cut into the volume to enable access to the inner courtyard. The width of the building block is adjusted to accommodate a parking garage, which is placed underneath. In contrast to a large underground garage, the new arrangement of parking spaces allows for the trees on the perimeter and within the inner courtyards to remain untouched.
The facade design and the appearance of the buildings are derived from the classic historical mountain architecture of the area. By adapting and reinterpreting the traditional techniques and materials, the Zlatibor Residencies neighbourhood gets a distinct mountain look despite the striking difference in scale compared to a typical rural building. The combination of thatched roofs and pointy volumes, which in places protrude above the existing tree line, creates a natural ambience which offers the residents and visitors a genuine contact with nature, a sine qua non for the site.