Forming of the New Cemetery at the end of 1820s at the far outskirts of Belgrade, next to the Tašmajdan quarry, was part of a policy of space conquest at several levels: political – by emancipation from the Turkish political authority; cultural – by restoring the concept of positioning the cemetery next to the church; urban – by expanding the city territory to the cemetery and organizing urban space by forming of streets and residential buildings; communal – by routing and infrastructural development of roads and open market places; economic – by constructing bazaars and new business centres. Such a transformation of the area around the cemetery enriched the contents and functions of this part of the town, although it remained less attractive than neighbouring Vračar, until the Principality of Serbia acquired independence. By changing the cultural patterns of Belgrade’s middle class, the culture surrounding death also changed during the 19th century, along with the attitude towards cemeteries and its functions. After the closure of the Large Cemetery, the area was levelled and used for formation of new streets, without transferring the graves or remains of the deceased to an ossuary or to the New Cemetery. The New Cemetery, in turn, was neglected, unmaintained, had no fence nor guards and was often desecrated. However, when cultural norms changed in the second half of the 19th century, such an appearance of cemetery became inappropriate, requiring better maintenance or relocation to the outskirts. This time, remains of the deceased family members were either transferred with piety or new ossuaries were formed.
Archive for: Critical History of Transforming Belgrade Public Spaces - from the End of the 18th Century to the Beginning of the 21st Century
In this paper shopping malls are considered as a representative of modern consumer spaces and observed as places of interaction between the surrounding environment and the stakeholders, as well as places of their mutual indoor interaction. The idea of a shopping centre is the idea of compressing and intensifying a public space by placing all the necessary facilities under one roof. In this way, by providing access to all the necessary facilities, the need of the shopper to return to everyday life is lessened, shopping becomes a recreational activity and the shopping mall becomes a shelter. The aim of this paper is to compare the preferences consumers have towards shopping malls and public spaces, by determining consumers’ opinion on the (dis) advantages of the shopping malls over features of a city centre. The basic goal of the research is to improve the knowledge and experiences in an architectural research through exploring of the mutual relations between the user, architecture and the space. The paper aims to analyse the relationship between architectural creativity and broader socio-cultural changes caused by the commercialization of a modern city.
In visual culture studies, a scale model (franc. Maquette) is usually considered in two cases: as a phase in the realization of sculptural and architectural tasks or as an element of museum documentation and exhibitions. A scale model serves as a test for the development of creative ideas, while in the second case, it serves to present an existing, real, three-dimensional structure. In addition to being proportionately reduced, a model is often formally condensed, in terms of the use of details. Yet, all these losses (in scale and design) actually open up the space to another element – imagination. A model offers a visual stimulus, which by means of imagination (individual or public) completes the notion of a signified object. Located in a public space, a model becomes its part, keeping its imaginative potential. In other words, a model in a public space brings imaginative content and thus expands the existing public space. In this sense, a very specific model is a model which announces the construction of a public space: the public space represented by a scale model does not exist in reality; a model itself – though its imaginative content – is the only reality of this public space. To the public, by announcing a public space, this kind of scale model induces something that might be called “public imagination”. In this case, public imagination is seen as a process of constructing public opinion by using imaginative stimulants (primarily visual). Starting from these assumptions, this paper will analyse the scale model of the project “Belgrade Waterfront” as a generator of public imagination. This means that the “Belgrade Waterfront” scale model will not be viewed simply as an announcement for the public space, but as an original reality in a public space in which it is exhibited, and as an element in the construction of the expanded public space based on imagination. In other words, this means that the “Belgrade Waterfront” scale model is not examined as a sign that represents something else (future look of the river Sava waterfront), but as a visual structure that builds its own public space.
Every city is a mirror of society and societal activities throughout its history. In its past, Belgrade has witnessed great changes. Over a few decades in the 19th century, it has been transformed from an unarranged town into the capital city of Serbia. Together with the development of the state, inspirations grew to step up with the global developments which involved nurturing of sports disciplines. The sports architecture of Belgrade started in mid-19th century and developed from the first public bathing sites at the Sava river bank, the shooting range at Topčider and the football fields at the Horse Racing Track, changing the shapes and purposes to suit the needs of the city. In the first few decades of the 20th century, tennis court and ice-skating ranks, swimming pools and big stadiums were built, later to be followed by modern sports halls. Through development of sports facilities architecture we can follow a whole series of changes and transformations where some architectural shapes were lost and some new appeared, all while history unravelled in its own inevitable pace.
After a short afterwar period of the Marxist radicalism, in the 1950s and the 1960s, a correction of antibourgeois Marxist revolution occurred in Serbia by practicing a “relentless critique of everything that exists”. At the end of the 1960s and in the 1970s, this political strategy was transposed into a specific civil-democratic model of critique involving “society versus state”. In the architecture of the 1970s, the understanding of the traditional creative practices and the traditional images of heritage was marked by a certain civic model of critique which, based on the understanding of national tradition founded on internal emotional, ideological-political, historical and interest-driven diffusions, can be grouped into radical, conservative or liberal. The open call for an urbanistic arrangement of the Marx and Engel’s Square (Trg Marksa i Engelsa) in Belgrade, was open from June to November 15, 1975. It coincided with the transition from “a social-planning radicalism” to “the evolutionist perspectives” in the development of the city. With adoption of an enforcable planning-strategic documentation for the development and arrangement of city spaces, at the end of the 1960s which redefined an intuitive influence of architects on the city image, this evolutionary perspectivism, however, gave birth to a contradictory voluntarism and a culture of losing the architectural synthesis of the city. Faced with the perspective of a disoriented, long lasting and partial evolutionism, the eminent actors in the field of architecture searched for solutions in a new authoritarianism, in broad arrangement strokes and robust accentuations which departed from the old model of spatial planning by switching from a class-revolutionary to a state-revolutionary mythology.
As noted by Walter Benjamin, the spatial phenomenon of a covered glass-roofed passage, stretched between two streets and inserted inside a city block, encapsulated the extreme cultural ambivalence: by expressing repression through the ideology of consumerism and expressing freedom through the utopia of abundance. The hidden emancipatory potentials of the city passages, observed closely in a particular case, represent the subject of this paper and the analytical probe that examines the historical conditions of a particular enterprise. When the Passage of Nikola Spasić was constructed in the main pedestrian and shopping street of Belgrade in 1912, the époque of Parisian-style arcades had already passed. Observed in this broader perspective, the construction of the Passage, according to the project of Nikola Nestorović, one of the most prominent Serbian architects of the period, was only a late echo of the Parisian 18th century invention. The comparison and contention between the three chosen, realized and unrealized, transpositions of the Passage in Belgrade, designed by different prime architects of the time, in relation to Benjamin’s idea of space with emancipative potential, correspondingly point out the protean capacity and open up new alternatives in the context of contemporary production of space, particularly important in the light of a changing global culture.
As the first sports premises built in Belgrade, the Sokol gym halls have a significant place in the urbanistic development of the city in between the two world wars. The question of building a Sokol gym hall was not only relevant to the Sokol gym society, but also to the population at large. Thanks to available archive documents and periodical magazines, we now know that the people of Belgrade took active part in building the Sokol gym society halls and stadiums. This makes research of the Sokol gym halls architecture important not only for the social history of architectural and urbanistic development of Belgrade, but also for the society history in general. In addition to the Sokol gym halls, a significant role in transformation of the public Belgrade spaces belongs to their stadiums i.e. exercising fields. Through an analysis of architectural projects realized under the auspices of Belgrade Sokol gym societies and clubs, we will try to determine their role and significance for the architecture and urban planning of the city, and also determine the manners in which these public spaces contributed to the spread of Yugoslav ideology, as part of a compulsory gymnastic culture and mission aiming at emancipation and modernization of society.
From the end of the nineteenth century, the urban development of Belgrade tended to communicate political and national ideas through articulation of public spaces. However, the state monopoly caused an excessive subordination to political events and bureaucratic mechanisms, so that the execution of urban plans was usually incomplete, due to changes of power or competences of various administrative institutions. One of the few most complete urban areas, which has retained the same purpose until this day, is the University Centre along the Boulevard of King Alexander in Belgrade. The history of this location began in the second half of the 19th century, when Prince Mihailo Obrenović organized the first gallop races in Belgrade on that site. Towards the outbreak of the First World War, the Belgrade University was given this area for the location of a new University Centre. Development of the complex began during the interwar period, with edifices designed by eminent Belgrade architects, but based on two different urban concepts and plans: one was legal and valid but the other was actually implemented in practice. In spite of being harshly criticized by socialist authorities, the same principle persisted after the Second World War. Although it was perhaps one of the most successful complexes built in Belgrade over several decades, the University Centre is not recognized as such in the visual perception of citizens, mostly because of the lack of blending or a high-quality urban concept. The transformation of this area reflects all the phenomena that dominated over urban development of Belgrade in the last 150 years, and illustrates refraction of different professional premises and political attitudes and desires.
Following the transformation of the urban area of Belgrade from a provincial Ottoman city to the capital city of Serbia, ideas for the architectural design for the Palace of the Serbian Royal Academy in Knez Mihailova Street which started to develop at the turn of the 20th century, mirrored a change of taste and influences in the style of architecture. Dominant at the time of the proclamation of the Kingdom of Serbia, the design and building projects of the architect Konstantin Jovanović represented a culminating impact of the Vienna Ringstrasse architecture. Rejecting the concept of Viennese academicism at the time of political confrontation of the Serbian Kingdom with the Dual Monarchy towards the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, was followed by а search for a modern architectural approach. A new design with architectural elements of the Viennese Fin-de-Siécle, Paris Art Nouveau and the prevalent spirit of Belle Époque appeared with the projects by the architects Andra Stevanović and Dragutin Đorđević. Suspension of constructions due to the outbreak of the WWI and changes in the architectural climate in Belgrade after the war have led to a rapid devaluation of modernity of the buildings whose construction was completed in 1924. However, bringing an echo of modern consumerism with the shopping passage and elegant stores on the ground floor, coated with abundance of its Belle Époque façades, the Palace of the Serbian Royal Academy became a symbol of Knez Mihailova Street in the main promenade of Belgrade, as a unique public space.
Architect Danilo Vladisavljević belongs to the generation of architects who, at the turn of the XIX century, left a significant mark in the Serbian architecture. His public buildings in Belgrade, which were mainly designed in cooperation with other architects, contributed to the representativeness of the city, which, at that time, began to intensively take on the characteristics of major European centres. The main feature of his work was a pluralist style, which involved evoking romanticism, use of academic postulates and art nouveau facades. He built various residential buildings for influential citizens and implemented pioneering urban projects on the territory of Belgrade, Military Hospital Complex in Vračar. He also built facilities for military purposes such as the military barracks in Niš, Valjevo and Smederevska Palanka and two hotels in a prestigious location at the very centre of Belgrade – the “Splendid” and the “Union”. Especially fruitful was his collaboration with the engineer Miloš Savčić on multi-storey outlet buildings such as The Trade and Export Bank, Vračar Savings Bank and the industrial complex of the Belgrade Slaughterhouse. During this cooperation, Danilo Vladisavljević was responsible for the facades and for further development of Miloš Savčić’s designs. His collaboration with architect Svetozar Jovanović on the Officers’ Cooperative Building produced one of the most representative examples of secession architecture in Belgrade. In the process of transforming public spaces in Belgrade, architect Vladisavljević particularly gave important contribution through cooperation with Milo Savčić in realization of the complex of the Belgrade Slaughterhouse, as well as the pioneering urban complex of the Military Hospital in Belgrade. As an important architect from the turn of the XIX century, Danilo Vladisavljević deserves contextualization and actualization in Serbian architectural historiography, and his structures should be treated as an important part of the Serbian architectural heritage.