Ada Felice-Rošić and Nada Šilović

Korzo - opening, 1968 Photo: legacy of Ada Felica-Rošić (courtesy of Lidija Butković Mićin)

1922 – 2013; 1924 – 2009 

Ada Felice-Rošić and Nada Šilović played an integral part in shaping Rijeka’s contemporary panorama. They contributed to the post-war reconstruction works in Yugoslavia, as well as to the acknowledgement of women in architecture.

Ada Felice-Rošić was born in 1922 in Sušak, and Nada Šilović was born in 1924 in Zagreb. Both had earned their degrees at a time of a significant rise in the number of young women architects, which corresponded to the growing emancipation and support for women to become economically independent. Both graduated from the Architecture Department at the Faculty of Engineering in Zagreb, and later they both worked at the Construction Management Institute in Rijeka.

During World War II, Rijeka had endured considerable damage, which is why the 1950s were a prolific period for architects to design new residential buildings.

Ada designed a series of buildings in Istria and along the Kvarner Riviera, many of which are yet to be attributed to her. In Rijeka, she worked on parts of the old town, Kozala and Sušak and thereby played a part in shaping the everyday life of Rijeka’s citizens. Some of her projects include the high-rise apartment buildings in Janko Polić Kamov Street and Strossmayer Street; the Osvit apartment building at the Pauline Square; the towers of the Turnić neighbourhood; Krimeja, Kantrida Highway, the Trade and Textile School in Vončinina Street; the community centres in Vežica and Svilno, etc.

After leaving the Construction Management Institute, Felice-Rošić took post at the city’s utilities department and later got hired at the Primorje construction company, where she would remain a prolific architect until her retirement in 1975. In her youth, she participated in the National Liberation effort and was a member of the Young Communist League of Yugoslavia – Gornja Vežica unit, which supported the local partisans. 

Nada Šilović became well-known as a freelance architect capable of handling complex projects. In 1956, she moved from Rijeka to Šibenik, where she continued her career. She worked at the City Institute for Urban Development in Zagreb from the 1960s to the 1980s, when she retired, having executed a series of successful projects.

Some of her notable works include the adaptation of the former school at Dolac for the purposes of the University Library and the Gallery of Fine Arts; the high-rise apartment buildings in Strossmayer Street and Janko Polić Kamov Street (together with Felice-Rošić); apartment buildings along the Zvonimir, Liburnia and Zamet roads on Krnjevo; the Maritime district apartment building on Pećine; the residential and commercial corner-house in Račićeva Street; the Medical Centre in Umag; the pavilion restaurant at Punta; the forestry service in Buzet; the building in Sarajevska Street in Šibenik; the residential and commercial building in Primorska Street in Zagreb, and urban plans of the Črnomerec, Podsused and Špansko neighbourhoods in Zagreb.

Ada Felice-Rošić died in 2013 in Rijeka, and Nada Šilović died in Zagreb in 2009. Both of them, along with other women architects of the time, paved the way for women in this still predominantly male field, leaving behind an indelible mark in the urban space of Rijeka.

Korzo Shopping Mall, Ivan Kobler Square, Rijeka

The Korzo Shopping Mall, designed by Ada Felice-Rošić, was the first contemporary shopping mall in Rijeka in the 1970s. Integration of new facilities in the city centre was part of the broader economic and urban planning strategy designed to reinforce Rijeka’s economy and revitalize the old town.