September 25, 2008

Avaz Twist Tower in Sarajevo

Some readers were pretty amazed about the Project in Pristina of my last post. It seems hard to believe that in the Balkans there are some new and modern office buildings. So I decided to dedicate some attention to this peculiar buildings that grow optimistically in an area where nobody would expect economical prosperity.

The Avaz Twist Tower will be the new headquarters for Avaz, the popular Bosnian newspaper company. It’s located in Marin Dvor, Sarajevo's business district which has recently been totally renovated.
The new tower went under construction in 2006 and it is expected to be completed some time in 2008. The Avaz Twist Tower will hold the record for being the Balkan's tallest tower and the 88th highest tower in Europe.
It is made up of a twisting glass facade and will be 142 meters tall (40 floors) with a 30 meter antenna reaching a total height of 172 meters.

At a height of 100 meter there will be a panorama-restaurant.

Before the Avaz Twist Tower, the Bosmal City Center (about this later) twin towers held the record for being the tallest towers in the Balkans, standing at a height of 128 meters. Avaz's current headquarters have been turned into a 5 star hotel and offices.

The architect of this tower is Faruk Kapidžić. The panorama of Sarajevo looks funny with this Si-Fi-Tower in the middle. Where is urban planning?

September 18, 2008

Pristina - the future?

In my last post I showed some exiting buildings in Pristina.
In the comment section (and later by mail) I got into some interesting discussions about: Ehm, yes nice what's there and now what's next ?!

What I'm going to show now is a spectacular project done by the Pristina-based ANARCH architectural studio of Astrit Nixha.
It's supposed to be the highest skyscraper in the Balkans (165 m)!
Construction (as main contractor) is being performed by the Croatian firm Konstruktor (based in Split) and will employ 2,000 people. Investor is Kosovar company ENK Invest Group in cooperation with four other firms from Albania.
The costs will be around 400 milion Euro and estimated completion is in 2 phases in 2011 and 2014.

The complex is located on Bill Clinton Boulevard close to the center of Pristina (in Lakriste, an ex-industrial zone) on an area of 26,000 m2. With a floor space of 285,000 m2, the complex consists of 100 luxury apartments, a 165 m 42-story-high high-end office tower, a shopping center, a hotel and six level subterranean garages.

So far everything seems fine. The project is nice and would stand up to international standards.

But honestly, there are some questions that I have to ask myself:

• How will this construction site work, if still now electricy is not available the entire day and as much as one would like? (I'm very curious to see how a projects like that can be made with lack of energy and water...)
• Who will rent this appartments and this office-spaces and who will be using the shops? (I coul go on asking what are the shops selling, because the Kosovo region has no own production of food or any goods and importing goods will not really generate a big economy).
The ordinary inhabitants of Kosovo will hardly have the oportunity to ever step into that building, due of lack of money...and the middle class is totally missing in it will be only for the very wealthy and I don't dare to ask what kind of wealthy people.

The project is very optimistic...let's see how's going on..... I'm afraid it will be the highest empty skyscraper in the Balkans!

September 11, 2008

Modern architecture in Pristina

Most people know Pristina just in connection with war or some other problem loaded themes. For once I prefer not to write about that aspect.
But always when I saw pictures of this city I was fascinated about some peculiar modern buildings.
Pristina has some spectacular architecture - and the most amazing are the relicts from communist time!

The OSCE Headquarter looks Si-Fi like!

Shopping Center in Bregu i Diellit (an area of pristina called Sunny Hill)

The "Elektro Kosova" building, with a wonderful base in communist-time Style that looks like a transformer.

A simple but stilish building near the Skenderbeg statue

The National Library
This stunning building is the work of croatian architect Andrija Mutnjakovic and was build in 1982.
99 white glass cupolas of different sizes and an entirly covered facade in wire netting give this building a strange Space-age looks!

The library was once home to a huge depository of literature, much of wich was destroyed in the early 1990s.
The equally beguiling interior which has some fotos of old Pristina, still contains over 5'000 fime examples of old and rare books and manuscripts, dating back to 16th century.

The Palace of Youth and Sports (Rr. Luan Haradinaj)This building from 1977 is a landmark from communist time! In 1981 a shopping center and and a sport-complex were added.

Here the Rilindja-Building, one of the highest bulidngs in Pristina. Once home of a Newspaper is now cosidered a "Media House".
Next to the building a Visual of what it will look like after renovation! But so far there are still some ownership disputs going on...

September 4, 2008

Etno Selo - Sirogonjo

Sirogojno is one of the etno-villages in Serbia. It's situated about 30 km from the town of Užice and 24 km from Zlatibor Mountain and lies on the altitude of 900m. It's organized as an open air museum, realised by the plan of architect Ranko Findrik and the Republic Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments in 1980. The initial idea of the project of Sirogojno was to preserve the knowledge of domestic works.
In the course of time, the monumental complex of the St. Apostles Peter and Paul`s church from the 18th century and the open-air museum were placed under legal protection as a cultural asset.

The dinara cottages

The house style belongs to the Dinara region log cottage type. Its base is rectangular and its foundation built of stone. The walls are made of logs and with beams horizontally placed one over the other. The corners are with characteristic cross-shaped joints called "ćert". The roof is four-sided, steep and high, covered with straw, boards–shingle or stone. The opening in the sides of the roof (badža) allow channeling of smoke from the house. In the middle of the roof there is a typical chimney, the "kapić", cone-shaped with carved spindle at the top. Usually houses have two doors placed one opposite the other, the main door always facing east. Houses are divided into two rooms - `the kitchen` and `the main-room` . `The kitchen` is without attic and windows, with earthen floor.

The central place in the `kitchen` is the fireplace (a rectangular or circular surface covered with two stone stone pillars, called prijeklada, about 35 – 40cm high, built in at the edges of one of the shorter sides of the fireplace. The fireplace was used for food preparation and it was a gathering place for all the members of large family. The fireplace is also the ritual place of the house, where the most important family rites and ceremonies related to significant national holidays took place.
Today there a a few Ethno-Villages with possibility to visit, accomodation and food all around Serbia.

Here the links:

Etno Selo Trsic
Etno Selo Stanisici
Etno Selo Sirogojno
Etno Selo Latkovac
And here a post on an old forgotten cookie that you can buy in Sirogojno.