Text topic: Architect Nikola Dobrović (1897–1967) – Fifty Years Later
Text author: Владимир Митровић
In between the two World Wars, it was practice in Novi Sad, and in other cities across the country, to have open calls for the design of facilities which were deemed of certain value not just to their immediate users, but also to something we could call the overall architectural aesthetics of a city. One of them was the open competition with terms of reference for a new building of the Serbian National Theatre (SNP), which was launched at the end of 1928 and remained open for the first half of 1929. A large number of architects from over the country applied, including some who lived abroad, like Nikola Dobrović who happened to live in Prague at the time. The competition never closed properly and the idea of building a new theatre was soon to be abandoned. Still, what has remained is a description and a commentary by Kosta Strajnić, as well as visual evidence of some of the architectural solutions which were evaluated as most successful. The top of the list was a solution by the architect Nikola Dobrović, which in addition to evident quality and the first place in evaluation, was also marked as “insufficiently modern for the Novi Sad environment” by circles that made decisions. The location intended for the theatre soon became a crossroads with many examples of modern Serbian architecture, which are today considered as classic pieces of architecture. Due to an intricate net of historic circumstances, Novi Sad thus remained deprived not only of a new seat of the Serbian National Theatre, but also deprived of a building by a great master of modern Serbian architecture, Nikola Dobrović.