Modernism in Belgrade

by Robert Burghardt

Belgrade became a metropolis following WWII, when industrialisation and urbanisation changend many cities in Yugoslavia. Belgrade, as the former capital of the federal state, was an experimental ground for a specific modern project between east and west, especially with its foundation of New Belgrade a modern city from scratch next to old-Belgrade. New Belgrade was laid out on a swampy plain on the opposite banks of the river Sava between old Belgrade and the town of Zemun. Initially intended as a new independent entity, envisioned as the capital of all Yugoslavia with important governmental and civic functions it became a mere extension of the existing city, a dormitory town with a lack in infrastructure, as the ambitious "central axis" with transport nodes, museums, shopping, entertainment, cultural facilities and administrative buildings has never been realised.

While New Belgrade was a imagined as a modernist project "from scratch", on a white piece of paper, in the old part of town many examples of context-conscious modernism can be found.

Following a small selection of my favorite modernist buildings in Belgrade. Note that this list is nost exhaustive and might be extended over time. It is not intended as a proper modern architecture guide, but rather as a small book of impressions. I have used archive material and scans from old architecture magazines.

(a) Elementary School
by Petar Petrovic (1972)
(b) Fontana Community Centre
by Uros Martinovic (1963)
(c) Town Hall Novi Beograd
by Stojan Maksimovic and Branislav Jovin
(d) Residential complex "Televizor"
by Ilja Arnautovic (1974)
(e) Residential complex blok 23
by Bozidar Jankovic, Branislav Karacic and Aleksandar Stjepanovic
(f) Sava Centar Congress Centre
by Stojan Maksimovic (1975)
(g) Sports Complex on Ada Ciganlija Island
by Jovicic
(h) Residential complex in Knezevac Kijevo
by Aleksnadar Djokic and Mihailo Canak
(i) Mostar motorway junction
by Branislav Jovin
(j) 25th Maj sport centre
by Ivan Antic
(k) Office building on Republic Square
by Rata Bogojevic, Slavka Mitic and Emil Medvescek
(l) Former ministry of defence
by Nikola Dobrovic
(m) Dom Omladine
by Dragoljub Filipovic and Zoran Tasic
(n) Mount Avala TV-tower
by Ugljesa Bogunovic and Slobodan Janjic
(o) Office building of the town-planning institute
by Branislav Jovin
(p) Warehouse at the river port
by Sima Mijlkovic
(q) Helicopter landing platform for police hq
by Spasoje Krunic
(r) Residential tower in Karaburma
by Rista Sekerinski (1963)

by Robert Burghardt
For this series I selected photographs from old architecture books and magazines and I went to these places and tried to find the standpoint form where the original photo was taken. Then I took a photo. This was a good reason to travel across Belgrade and a small quest to find the the spots from where the photos were taken.
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Fontana 2008
by Robert Burghardt

In summer 2008 I visited the community-complex Fontana in New Belgrade and took a series of documentary photographs. The building is only partly in use and in a state of decay and neglect.
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