May 27, 2010

Zvezdara Observatory - the first Modernism Monument in Belgrade

When Swiss architect Le Corbusier visited Belgrade in 1911 during his travels across Europe, he dismissed the city calling it “ridiculous capital, worse even: a dishonest city, dirty, and disorganized.” and in a 1955 he commented on pictures of Belgrade’s most outstanding buildings: “Good God, how ugly!” He blamed Belgrade's modern architects of "superficial understanding of modern urban planning".
I can not really agree with him (and I was tortured with Le Corbusier's works my entire course of studies at the ETH Zurich) and I'd like to show this masterpiece of modern architecture that is considered the first monument of Modernism in Belgrade: the Zvezdara Observatory designed by Jan Dubovy (1892-1969) built in the early 1930's.
Following Le Corbusiers citation: "soleil, espace, verdure" (architecture needs sun, clearance and greenery) Dubovy planned the observatory buildings as a loose composition of pavillions settled in a park. Each single building is designed with great attention to make it unique yet is related to the others. In the design he paid much attention on strict functionality (some extremely valuable optical and precision astronomical instruments had to find place in some of the buildings) and a simple modern form. 

The building when it was built
(picture from the zvezdarskasuma.blogspot)
The building today
(picture from the zvezdarskasuma.blogspot)
The construction is logical and pragmatic:A brickwork construction with structural elements in reinforced concrete and domes in steel, wood lining on the inside and sheet metal covering the outside surfaces.

Here the front side of the main building as it looks today
(picture from the Observatory website)

And here the back side of the main building
(picture from the Observatory website)
The Observatory in on Zvezdara Hill

Volgina 7, 
P.O.Box 74 
11060 Belgrade, Serbia
tel. +381-(0)11-3088-062 / 3088-073 / 2419-357   
fax. +381-(0)11-2419-553

May 20, 2010

3 Villas of Dusan Babic Today

Last summer I made a post about the modernist architect Dusan Babic and showed some of his interesting projects. Now i run into some pictures at skyscrapercity of pictures of the actual villas.

The Villa of Karl Reich (1930-1931)
This is how it looked in the plans:

Now it looks like this (picture from francuz 4556 at skyscrapercity):

The villa is at Ulica Sanje Zivanovica number 2 in Belgrade

Villa Protic (1930-1931)

Address: Ulica Zanke Stokic number 5 in Belgrade

And here some apictures from these days (picture from francuz 4556 at skyscrapercity)

As I mentioned in my earlier post, it's rather difficult to find information about Dusan Babic and his projects. And thanks to mmilovan at skyscrapercity I found one more villa that Babic built: Dr. Milutin Ivkovic's Villa from 1937. Here some pictures from the time it was built:

Dusan Babic (1986 -1948) was one of the 4 founders of the group of "Architect of the Modern Movement in Belgrade"(together with Jan Dubovy,, Milan Zlokovic and Branislav Kojic) he was a Serb from Banja Luka and graduated at the Technische Hochschule in Vienna in 1923 and moved to belgarde in 1928. At the time of the group founding Babic was employed in the Department of Architecture in the Ministry of Construction. 
He made also a church in Doboj (couldn't find out anything about it).
More about Babic here in my earlier post.

May 8, 2010

The Krusevo Makedonium

Not so long ago I made a post about some fantastic buildings in Skopje, unfortunately I still didn't visit Macedonia yet, but I discovered another exiting building that is worth mentioning here and I'll plan to visit: the Makedonium or Ilinden-Memorial in Krusevo. (Picture from

This museum and memorial is the work of the famous sculptor Jordan Grabulovski and his spouse Iskra. Its construction started in 1972 and the monument was formally opened on Ilinden (St. Eljah's day) two years later. The stain glass works are made by famous painter Borko Lazeski, and the ceramics works iare by Petar Mazev.
(picture by Jarko on Panoramio)

The monument contains the tomb of Nikola Karaev, who was made president of the Republic of Krusevo in 1903 after the Ilinden uprising against the Ottomans.
The artistic and aesthetic expression of the monument complex, which covers 16 hectares, starts with broken chains, continues with a crypt and a colorful mosaic of ceramic material, ending with a building placed 1'320 m above sea level.

The spot offers a wonderful view of the town of Krusevo, Pelagonija, and Meckin Kamen.

The last two pictures are from Daniel Ursprung.

The touristic site of Krusevo (here)