palace kaštela – former hotel turns public space

palace kaštela – former hotel turns public space
Former Hotel Palace © Patricia Pervan, 2023
palace kaštela explores and imagines the vacant Hotel Palace and abandoned park, as a vibrant public space for the citizens of Kaštela, Croatia.

Patricia Pervan
Berlin, Germany
Team members
Patricia Pervan
Field of work
Architecture, Design, Research
Project category
Public space
Project submitted

Patricia is a trained architect, currently working on small scale projects in the cultural sector in Berlin and Zürich, with Croatian roots. Along her engagement in collectives, she has contributed to the Oslo Triennale with TEN Studio (2022), help build for floating University in Berlin (2021) and Horst Arts&Music in Brussels (2022). For Summer Camp she has designed and build the exterior space twice (2021, 2022).

Gaining experience with participatory and transdisciplinary processes while designing small interventions have become one focus of her work since graduating.
Another one is following up on ideas of Design Justice, Third Places and post-capitalism and implementing them into her work.

The hotel compound, formerly known throughout Europe as Hotel Palace, has been without prospect since 2006. Situated in a dense neighborhood in the outskirts of the second-largest city in Croatia – Split, in the municipality of Kaštela, the site has been the center of many political debates in the past few years.

2017, a strategic plan was commissioned by the city to analyze Kaštela's cultural sector and point out its potentials. It was noted that, specifically, the loss of social and cultural spaces have negative effects on the interaction and networking of citizens of all ages and local associations such as sports and music clubs. The central location in the city and the considerable size of the building and outdoor spaces, makes palace kaštela a suitable fit – and was listed as a potential space to be used and converted into a public space.

The building has lived a multitude of lives thus far – what started off as a luxury hotel, aiming for western European tourists (1928), turned into a resort for the members of the Union of the Consumer Cooperatives, during SFR Yugoslavian (1937-1955). Later, during the Croatian war for independence, refugees used the hotel rooms as shelter until 1998. Since then, its rooms have served as a nightclub, later as a children's daycare, whereas its park is still used as a playground. The current plans for the plot are unknown.

The lack of perspective for a site this big and significant, and the willingness of its investors to speculate on its future, leaves room to imagine a different future.
Is privatization the only option? Is a hotel the appropriate function in an already saturated market for touristic means? How do we define community in the countries' post-yugolav era?
The project aims to shed light on the sites' potential with the urge to start the conversation. Exploring ideas of Design Justice while starting a dialogue with citizens and local administrations, are necessary to shape an alternative common vision.