Long-awaited city cultural centre RiHub has been officially opened for all interested visitors on 25 September. Following the designation of the European Capital of Culture, the Ex Bernardi is becoming a nursery for innovative and creative work.
RiHub remodelling construction works began in September 2017 and they have been concluded just before the summer of 2018. Value of the redevelopment works was somewhat greater than EUR 500,000 and the works were fully funded by the City of Rijeka. The premises were remodelled in accordance with the design developed by Ida Križaj Leko and Ana Boljar who also developed the furnishing design. A part of the exterior space has been developed by Icelandic designers Ari Marteinsson and Arnar Omarsson within the framework of the residential programme financed by the Aarhus Foundation in 2017, while the remainder was developed by the Čistoća utility company.
RiHub’s manager Bernard Koludrović claims it will be a challenge to repurpose the space and develop new awareness of citizens.
– In the early 20th century, RiHub was a kindergarten and after the Second World War it was transformed into a textile shop. All premises have a definite life span and it is normal that their purpose changes, just as habits of people evolve – Koludrović said.
The new city’s cultural centre is a venue for citizens’ participation in projects, joint creations, work, study and volunteering. The first great opportunity for action starts shortly through “Uključi se” (Become Involved) campaign which is pointed out as the most important segment of RiHub’s operation. It comprises citizen involvement programmes, the participatory programmes of Civil Initiatives, Green Wave and Citizens’ Council, affording the citizens to directly propose, decide upon and implement activities related to the Rijeka 2020 – the European Capital of Culture project.
The head of the RiHub gave us a tour of the remodelled spaces and explained that the space should be contemplated in the way it appears architecturally.
– There is an information centre at the entrance. It has a dual function. On one hand, that shall be the place where the citizens will find information on the European Capital of Culture programmes, but on the other hand the information desk will also serve as a form of living room of culture, inviting people to stay there instead of merely obtain information and go home. Since the space expands into its depth, it extends into professionals’ co-working space opening up as space for temporary and intermittent work of culture workers and professionals, followed by a multifunctional hall capable of hosting any discursive educational and cultural programme within the European Capital of Culture project while the gallery will be used by a part of Rijeka 2020 employees who will organise participatory programmes – Bernard Koludrović explains.
It will be possible to use the first coworking space in Rijeka for free without any prior booking and there are 35 workplaces there for now. In order to adequately address the needs of the culture workers who will use the space and who have no real working hours due to precarious nature of their work, RiHub shall be open Mondays through Saturdays, from 8 in the morning to 8 in the evening. These working hours are also convenient for cultural programmes which largely take places in late afternoons.
Visit the RiHub!