When devastating floods hit the Balkans in 2014, more than 80 people died.
Entire communities were left to rebuild after whole villages were washed away or damaged beyond repair — including the town of Gunja in eastern Croatia. With a population of just 5,000, it suffered estimated property damage in excess of €50 million.
Five years later, the Zagreb-based GEplus Arhitekti has finally unveiled a new incarnation of one of the village’s most important community hubs: the local football pitch. But the 337-seater stadium isn’t just designed to meet Croatian league standards. It is also a tribute to the village’s resilient spirit, using 12,000 bricks from the area’s flood-damaged houses to create a new, open structure.
“From the very beginning, architects recognised that this facility could be something more than a classic renovation,” the studio said in a press release. “The story of this place and the memory of the village has been embedded in the building itself.”
The Croatian Football Federation, FIFA, and UEFA all contributed funds to the new Luka Sokcevic Saljapin stadium, but the modest budget for the rural pitch pushed architects to look beyond the gadgets that are usually synonymous with impressive modern builds.
“Our focus was brought to the architecture itself and added value that it can bring to the local community,” the company said.