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Architecture | Mixed-use Buildings

Betula Design Center

Studio Synthesis Architecture & Design

Short description

Lightness, elegance and translucence of the birch-tree (lat.betula alba) inspired the design of “Betula” business building.
The designed building is located in Lješevići, Kotor Municipality, right on Kotor-Budva intercity road, on a plot size 876 sqm. The ongoing construction of facilities for business activities at the location in issue is resulting in intensified conversion of green areas into concrete and built-up areas. In that light, the design focus for the subject site was on intensified greenery through landscaping by transferring it into the very building.
This detached building with southwest-southeast orientation is comprised of ground floor and 2 upper floors with gross floor area of 870.05 sqm. The ceiling height at the ground floor is 4.5 m and 3.80 m at the first and the second floor.
The base is elongated trapezoid, transferred across all three floors. The simplified form was endowed with greened semi-atrium on the first floor viewed from majority of the premises.
Covered main entrance that leads into the showroom of the furniture store is located at the ground floor of the building, on the south-east side.
The floors are formed around the greened semi-atrium. Business function of this building is adjusted to the contemporary operating, with transformable office spaces in the upper floors.
There is an open-air terrace on the building roof.

Northeast and northwest building facades are facing the road, giving this business building its visual identity.
Given that the upper floors were designed for office spaces, the aim was to create visual barrier against the surrounding (storages, busy road) whilst allowing natural light to penetrate the interior.
This was achieved with a demi façade and façade windows made of aluminium profile, coated in semi-transparent perforated panels with round perforations in two scales.
Combination of mechanical properties of profiled sheet metals and aesthetic and functional advantages of perforated surfaces created authentic, ventilated façade surface.
This surface gives impression of a monolith structure during daytime to become transparent at night-time when the lights are on. There is a 50 cm separation between the perforated envelope and the primary façade which provides for maintenance of the primary façade coating by fitting prefabricated perforated treads over the substructure made of perforated panels.
Since the furniture store is located at the ground floor, the building had to be made open towards the passers-by, which was achieved by introducing transparent glass as envelope element on these facades.
All the facades of the building are designed to be white with black inserts, like the birch-tree bark.

Parking areas will have a finishing coating made of concrete “grass” plates to keep grassy areas in this zone. The plateau on the north-west side of the building is designed to be made of concrete pavement of irregular cone shapes and will be used as official space for «outdoor» furniture.
Because of the building orientation, darker shading and semi-shading elements were incorporated into the design to accentuate the architecture of the building. Tree alley on the front plateau will be made of birch-tree species Betula alba since its translucent tree crown will not block the building façade.

Entry details
LocationKotor, Montenegro
Lead designerPhD Sonja Radovic Jelovac, arch., Marija Lukic, arch.
Design teamDanijela Mijajlovic, arch., Maja Tisma, arch., Marko Jovic, landsc. arch.
Photography creditsRelja Ivanic
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