In general, shopping centers are somewhat underexposed academically speaking. With the turbulence of the transition period in the area only barely over, investigations on previous and recent developments in Croatian society are of importance as to learn how to move further from now.
As Yugoslavia tried and develop a different kind of socialism, self-government and openness to the West created a unique position in which a capitalist typology such as the shopping center could exist. By conducting a typological research of the shopping centers –Robna Kuca and Trgovacki Centar, a narrative on how the modern project developed in the Socialist Republic of Croatia can form.
Parallel to this narrative is of course CIAM and its subsequent fall. Contact between CIAM, Team 10 and Yugoslav (Croatian) architects did occur, and hints at the socialist tendencies of some of the architects of the West. Investigating the relation of Gruen’s shopping centers to CIAM and Team 10, and subsequently the relation to the Yugoslav context might give insights on how modernism was expressed in Yugoslavia/Croatia keeping of course in mind parallels might not always indicate dependence. To see how these related or developed independently can open up a conversation of how the modern project developed in Yugoslavia.
The question arises: how did the consumerist typology of the shopping center develop in the previously socialist Yugoslav Socialist Republic of Croatia and how did (or didn’t) it survive the transition to a neoliberal economy?