Architectural Unit


Ivana Haničar Buljan, d.i.a.
P. +385 1 6112 728

About the origins and the scope of work

The beginnings of architectural research, documenting and the production of specific architectural documentation, serving as the basis of the Institute's Architectural Plans Collection, date back to the time when scientific research was carried out within the Department of Art History at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, i.e. since the very founding of the Institute in 1961.

Already the earliest studies of old urban agglomerations on the Adriatic coast, led by Professor Milan Prelog from 1949, included the production of exact architectural plans of the monuments and historic cores in settlements included in the research. As the study of historical architecture and urbanism intensified with time, shortly after the founding of the Institute in 1961, the first architect (lab technician and draftsman) Ivan Prtenjak, at the time still an architect student, was hired. In 1966, architect Ivan Tenšek was hired in his place, with Davorin Stepinac joining the team in 1972. They brought the Institute's Architectural Unit to a high level of expertise. They have passed on their extensive experience to younger associates: Ivana Valjato-Vrus, Marie Stepinac, Sanja Štok, Damir Bakliža, Ivana Haničar Buljan, Marijana Vojtić, Danijela Šapina and Marko Ambroš, with whom the Institute's Architectural Unit team has been significantly strengthened over the years.

On methods and methodology

Great efforts by all architects have been invested in numerous architectural documentations, both for the needs of basic research as well as for applications in the conservation of monuments and for spatial planning. However, Ivan Tenšek and Davorin Stepinac are the most meritorious for the creation of valuable and unique architectural documentation of monuments, and significant contributions were made by Ivana Valjato-Vrus in the segment of architecture of the Southern coastal area and Marie Stepinac in the section of art topography.

The body of architectural plans thus created was the basis for the establishment of the Architectural Plans Collection in 1968, as part of the project “Establishment of Fundamental Documentation for the History of Art”, as well as its systematic categorization and archiving.

Currently, four graduates of architectural engineering are employed, collaborating on all Institute’s projects that focus on architectural heritage in Croatia dating from the early Middle Ages to the present day.

For the purpose of researching settlements (urban and semi-urban architectural ensembles), individual valuable historical complexes and buildings, art topography and conservation studies, methodologically specific architectural surveys and documentation are carried out through fieldwork and on the objects of study. Based on the fieldwork surveys, architectural documentation of the existing state is produced, the state of preservation is determined, and proposals for valorization and approach to restoration are made.

Architects participate in the production and preparation of graphic illustrations and other deliverables that are produced for the purposes of their display on exhibitions or their publication in titles issued by the Institute.

For the last 20 years, architectural documentation has been digitally generated using AutoCAD. The surveys are also carried out by a total station for land survey, while all processes and standard methods of documentation are improved in line with the development of technology and internationally relevant scientific approaches to architectural documentation, such as 3D scanning and production of architectural plans using point clouds. Non-invasive methods of research using thermographic cameras, drones and geo-radars are also applied.

On the topic of the implementation of new technologies visit here