DIVAČA (SI) - The Karst region is a very peculiar landscape between the Gulf of Trieste and the Vipavska Valley, characterized by a distinctive landscape of water-eroded limestone, rugged nature and vernacular stone architecture. The Škratelj homestead in Divača served as an inn for travellers from the 17th century until World War I. If stone walls could talk, the most amazing story would certainly be that of Rita Ina, Slovenia's first international film star, who was born here. She inspired the farmstead's conversion into the Museum of Slovenian Film Actors.
The conversion, carried out by young architects Matjaž Bolčina, Ernest Milčinovič and Teja Savelli, thoughtfully questions the relationships between contemporary interventions and cultural heritage, as well as between built structures and the surrounding landscape. The project respects the existing footprint of the homestead within the village, while the characteristic Karst stone wall provided the main theme for the conversion. The complex is composed of three buildings: the house will host the information centre, the former stables the museum collection, and the storehouse has been turned into a multi-purpose hall. The former stables have undergone the most thorough transformation; an imposing steel structure rests on the old wall and carries the roof, walls and floor. The structure creates a U-shaped room that hovers in the space, leaving the area below without partitions.
The various parts of the complex, from street facade to inner courtyard and grass fields behind, are defined by the old stone walls, simultaneously separating and connecting the programmes with the open-air cinema. While the original walls were carefully preserved, new walls were erected using stones found on site. And the sustainable dimension of the project doesn't end here, for while the conversion of the homestead is finished, the natural surroundings still offer myriad possibilities for future scenarios. (Maja Vardjan)