Toward a Concrete Utopia
Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980
By: Tamara Bjazic Klarin (Text by), Vladimir Deskov (Text by), Andrew Herscher (Text by), Sanja Horvatincic (Text by), Theodossis Issaias (Text by)
Published: 1st June 2018
Number Of Pages: 228
Squeezed between the two rival Cold War blocs, Yugoslav architecture consistently adhered to a modernist trajectory. As a founding nation of the Non-Aligned Movement, Yugoslavia became a major exporter of modernist architecture to Africa and the Middle East in a postcolonial world. By merging a variety of local traditions and contemporary international influences in the context of a unique Yugoslav brand of socialism, often described as the “Third Way,” local architects produced a veritable “parallel universe” of modern architecture during the 45 years of the country’s existence. This remarkable body of work has sparked recurrent international interest, yet a rigorous interpretative study never materialized in the United States until now.
Published in conjunction with a major exhibition on the architectural production of Yugoslavia between 1948 and 1980, this is the first publication to showcase an understudied but important body of modernist architecture. Featuring new scholarship and previously unpublished archival materials, this richly illustrated publication sheds light on key ideological concepts of Yugoslav architecture, urbanism and society by delving into the exceptional projects and key figures of the era, among them Bogdan Bogdanovic, Zoran Bojovic, Drago Galic, Janko Konstantinov, Georgi Konstantinovski, Niko Kralj, Boris Magaš, Juraj Neidhardt, Jože Plecnik, Svetlana Kana Radevic, Edvard Ravnikar, Vjenceslav Richter, Milica Šteric, Ivan Štraus and Zlatko Ugljen.
Above all, the exhibition reminds us that design can be a tool of social progress.–Justin McGuirk “New Yorker “
This exceptionally designed show succeeds in distilling the architectural legacy of a country best known, in and outside of it, for falling apart.–Roko Rumora “Hyperallergic “
Astonishing structures surge with unchecked emotions of agony, sacrifice, loss and rememberance.–Julie V. Iovine “Wall Street Journal “
A manifestation of radical diversity, hybridity, and idealism that characterized the Yugoslav state iself.–Blouin Art Info
The great achievement of Yugoslavia was in being able to keep collectivism and individualism in some kind of balance.–Justin McGuirk “The New Yorker “
From housing blocks to a rural mosque, ponder marker of unity and individualism from a now-vanished postwar building culture.–Art Newspaper
These otherwordly constructions were instrumental in shaping Yugoslavia’s national identity.–Joanna Fu “Hypebeast “
Highlights architecture’s role in creating a common history and collective identity of a socialist state.–Sofia Lekka Angelopoulou “Designboom “
Abundance of beautifully hung and arranged drawings, photographs, and models of striking, and in some cases downright bizarre, buildings and monuments.–Josephine Minutillo “Architectural Record “
Highlighting a significant yet thus-far understudied body of modernist architecture, whose forward-thinking contributions still resonate today.–The Architects Newspaper
What struck me most about this long-overdue examination was that, despite economic limita-tions and the dominance of Communist Bloc aesthetics, extraordinary creativity and diversity persisted-attributes that feel in conspicuously short supply even within today’s increasingly privatized milieu.–Artforum
Tells one of the most underappreciated stories of postwar architecture: the rise of avant-garde government buildings, pie-in-the-sky apartment blocks, mod beachfront resorts and even whole new cities in the southeast corner of Europe.–Jason Farago “New York Times “
Yugoslavia’s unique position anticipated the current age of globalism, and studying its architecture will tell us more about postwar modernity than the tired old histories do.–PIN-UP
Documents how buildings and the architects behind them contribute to the modernization and social cohering of a historically multiethnic region.–Theodossis Issaias “Metropolis “
Spomenik Monument Database
By: Donald Niebyl, FUEL
Published: 1st September 2018
Number Of Pages: 208
A guidebook to the wild world of communist minimalism in Tito’s Yugoslavia.
Spomenik–the Serbo-Croat/Slovenian word for monument–refers to the memorials built in Tito’s Republic of Yugoslavia from the 1960s to the 1980s, marking the horror of the occupation and the defeat of Axis forces during World War II. Hundreds were built across the country, from coastal resorts to remote mountains. Through these imaginative forms of concrete and steel, a classless, forward-looking socialist society, free of ethnic tensions, was envisaged. Instead of looking to the ideologically aligned Soviet Union for artistic inspiration, Tito turned to the West and works of abstract expressionism and minimalism. This allowed Yugoslavia to develop its own distinct identity through the monuments, turning them into political tools, articulating Tito’s personal vision of a new tomorrow.
Today, following the breakup of the country and the subsequent Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s, some have been destroyed or abandoned. Many have suffered the consequences of ethnic tensions: once viewed as symbols of hope, they are now the focus of resentment and anger.
This book brings together the largest collection of spomeniks published to date. Each has been extensively photographed and researched by the author, making this book the most comprehensive survey of this obscure and fascinating architectural phenomenon. The inside of the book’s dust jacket opens out as a map, giving the exact geographic coordinates for each monument.
A new publication that brings together more than 80 awe-inspiring Brutalist monuments, exploring each one’s historical value, design, construction and current status.–Milly Burroughs “AnOther Man “
Niebyl is punctilious in laying out the particulars of the design and construction of these structures, whose uncanny forms create a kind of visual “vocabulary of the revolution.”–Metropolis