July 22, 2009

Itinerary fo Summer 2009

While travelling to Montenegro and Serbia, taking new pictures, sketching and making my collection of Balkan treasures for this site bigger, I share some useful links with you dear reader, if you plan to travel the Balkans or just to get you inspired:

Destination City Guides By "In your pocket" (for free download)
A nicely made Serbia tourist and travel site (panacomp)
A walking guide to Serbia
My selfmade guide to NATO souvenirs in Belgrade
A list to print out before visiting Belgrade
Ideas for Balkan-Itineraries on Balkan-Crew (the travel-album in italian)

July 16, 2009

Modern buildings in Belgrade by architect Dusan Babic

Villa Protic, 1930-1931, Belgrade

It's very difficult to find informations about the modern architect Dusan Babic, even if he was one of the founders of »Grupe arhitekata modernog pravca« (Group of Architects of the Modern Movement (GAMM), founded in 1928. Together with Milan Zlokovic and Jan Dubovy, and Branislav Kojic.

Babic was born 1896 in Banja Luka (Republika Srpska) that on those times was part of the austro-hungarian empire. He studied at the "Technische Hochschule" in Vienna, started working in Sarajevo (1923) for the municipal cunstruction bureau and arrived in Belgrade in 1928 where he died probably in 1948.

Even if there is not much information left about his life, he left some every interesting traces in the city of Belgrade.

Plans of the Villa of Karl Reich, 1930-1931 in Belgrade

The villa of Maria and Karl Reich represents the finest example of Babic's particular understanding of modern form. The most striking feature of the villa Reich are colums of gigantic order on the garden side of the house, wich support the overhanging roof.

From the analysis of the prmary volumetric,it shows that the final form and balance of solid and void is a result of voluemtric substaction from the basic parallelepiped form. The intrecate rhythm of colums and pergolas and the unfolding of terraces as the house opens toward the garden are regulated by the lines of the immaginary primary form.

While the total floor area of the villa is quiet modest, the extend of the outline points of form explicates the villa's actual and psychological domain.
In plan there is aclear distinction between representative, public spaces in teh ground floor, private quarters on the first floor, and service rooms in the ground and the basement levels.

The formal accents, such as the elaboration of the main entrance and corner loggia on the main street facade and the arrangemet of grand terraces toward the garden, follow the funtional logic of the house.

The external surface treatment refelcts the design intent to play un the relation between weight and leightness: rustication in regualr horizontal pr
ofiling is a pplied to the supporting elements, the foundation of the hosue and the squaresection columns, while the supported elements are plain and smooth. (from L.Blagojevic)

Villa of Dragutin Smejkal, 1934 in Belgrade

Babic took grate care in the elaboration of modern decoration in his projects, even if those for houses in less prestigious locations, for less demanding clients, such as the Plevan and the Smejkal Villas. These modest houses are made representative in his perspective drawings. (from L.Blagojevic)

Villa of Jelena Plevan, 1933 in Belgrade

Lektres building, 1931 in Belgrade

Another meaningful building is the "lektres" building at 21, Marsala Birjuzova. Also here he used modernist decoration elements, where he combines two different periods of architecture style in the way to lessen the power of the modern movement language and to adapt it to the older surroundings. (translated from Slobodan Maldini)

Lektres building, 1931 in Belgrade

July 12, 2009

Vidovdan 2009 in Gracanica Monastery

I made a post about Gracanica Monastery a while ago, emphasing on the archtiecture and history. But here there is even something more to say about the Gracanica Moanstery.
Every year on Vidovdan (St. Vitus day, June 28th) in the beautiful and spiritual surroundings of the monastery the celebration for this serbian religious and national holiday takes place.
Here the pictures that my friend Johanna sent me from this year's celebration. The text is from [ B92, Beta, Tanjug ]

GRAČANICA - The celebration of Vidovdan started in Kosovo this morning with the Holy Liturgy served in the Serbian Orthodox monastery of Gračanica.

Serbs mark Vidovdan (St. Vitus Day) as a religious and national holiday.

The province is calm and there are no incidents reported this Sunday, as Kosovo police, KPS, and KFOR members have visibly increased their presence near the Serb enclave of Gračanica, and also near Kosovska Mitrovica and Gazimestan.

This year's Vidovdan celebrations have gathered the largest crowd seen since 1999, with several thousand people in Gazimestan, near Priština, attending a commemoration of the anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo.

On this day 620 years ago, the Serb army, led by Lazar Hrebeljanović, confronted the invading Ottoman Turks.

Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Patriarch Pavle's emissary Metropolitan Amfilohije and bishops Artemije, Filaret and Teodosije served a religious ceremony dedicated to the souls of the fallen soldiers of the medieval Serbian empire - commonly referred to as the Kosovo heroes.

After the ceremony, Bishop Artemije told the crowd that "the Kosovo heroes have given their lives so that we can live in Kosovo and Metohija today."

The Serbs have gathered in Gazimestan, the bishop continued, to pray to the Lord and tell themselves and others that this is the holy Serb land, soaked with blood and tears of our ancestors.

"Kosovo was and will be the heart of Serbia, just as it was 620 years ago," he said.

The participants in the ceremonies today arrived in some 60 buses and several hundred private vehicles from all over Serbia, but also from Montenegro and the Republic of Srpska. KPS members and Czech KFOR soldiers secured the area close to the Gazimestan monument.

Unlike in previous years, this time a stage was set up, while the monument was draped with a huge Serbian national flag and a canvass with the fresco image of Holy Tsar Lazar.

Both the Gazimestan commemoration, and the one earlier in the day in the monastery of Gračanica were attended by government ministers Bogoljub Šijaković, Goran Bogdanović and Nebojša Bradić, and Crown Prince Aleksandar Karađorđević and his wife Katarina.

Johanna and her husband Nenad making the church greeting

Some even better information about Vidovdan 2009 here at de[construct].net

July 8, 2009

PTT Museum by Momir Korunovic in Belgrade

There are some buildings in Belgrade that fascinate with their eye-catching shapes, colors, and decorations. One of this, is a building right next to the former main telephone exchange building (my post here), it's the PTT museum by Momir Korunovic (1883-1969) from 1929.

On this building you can find elements of expressionism, european romanticism, viennese secessionism and elements from the serbian middle-age architecture, this combination is also known as Serbian national style architecture.

Serbian-national style in architecture
(here a link in serbian)

Style carachteristics are elements of the serbian-byzantine style that were created first for church architecture. The church architecture was always a symbol also for national identity. With the serbian-national style this byzantine elements found its place also in profane architecture.

Momir Korunovic used this style for several wellknown buildings (Sokolski Dom, Post Building near the Main Station) and this one, when built was one of the biggest buildings at its time in Serbia. The facade shows a rich decoration with middle-age signs and a lot of masonic symbols. There are also statues with church style composition made by Stamenko Djurevic.
(color pictures by Rascian at skyscrapercity) PTT Museum, Palmotićeva 2 in Belgrade

July 3, 2009

"Mihailo Petrović Alas" House in Belgrade

In Belgrade guides I often saw the pictures of this interesting window with checker-board rondelle above, and I always kept in mind, that I wanted to know more about it.

Mihailo Petrovic House in
Kosancicev Venac

The window belongs to the House of Mihailo Petrovic (Mihailo Alas) and is located in the Kosancicev Venac neighbourhood of Belgrade.
This was the neighborhood where Mihailo Petrovic lived his whole life. He was a famous Serbian mathematician, one of the pioneers of cybernetics whose work significantly contributed to the construction of the calculator.
Modest in his private life, Petrovic who was also a professor, was well known and respected in Belgrade.
As an enthusiastic angler he was nicknamed Mika Alas. His home (Kosancicev Venac street 22) was designed by architect Petar Bajalovic in a spirit of symbiosis blending secessionist floral motifs with elements of Serbo-Byzantine style. The only condition Petrovic set for the architect was for his room to have a balcony with a view of the Sava river.

This is the story behind this peculiar balcony!

pictures from inocha

Petar Bajalovic who designed this house in 1910, was a violinist and photographer by avocation; as an architect he remained loyal to the principles of Eclectic-Renaissance-Secession architecture.

He built the Serbian pavilion for the International Exhibition of Liberal Arts in Rome in 1912 and design
ed also some other wellknown buildings:

The Kolarac Foundation (Kolarceva zaduzbina)

The building on Studentski trg 5 in Belgrade, was erected by the great Belgrade philanthropist Ilija Milosavljevic Kolarac (here the website of the foundation). Here Bajalovic experimented with Academic style. A large concert hall with excellent acoustics is located in there, and also an art gallery.

The beautiful interiors of the foundation

The faculty of law building of the university of Belgrade

Also this building was made in academic style with classic elements (built in 1941).