“TOWARD A CONTRETE UTOPIA” ARCHITECTURE IN YUGOSLAVIA 1948-80
Situated between the capitalist West and the socialist East, Yugoslavia’s architects responded to contradictory demands and influences, developing a postwar architecture both in line with and distinct from the design approaches seen elsewhere in Europe and beyond.
The architecture that emerged—from International Style skyscrapers to Brutalist “social condensers”—is a manifestation of the radical diversity, hybridity, and idealism that characterized the Yugoslav state itself. “Toward a Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948–1980” introduces the exceptional work of socialist Yugoslavia’s leading architects to an international audience for the first time, highlighting a significant yet thus-far understudied body of modernist architecture, whose forward-thinking contributions still resonate today.
This exceptional publication explores themes of large-scale urbanization, technology in everyday life, consumerism, monuments and memorialization, and the global reach of Yugoslav architecture. A coinciding exhibition at the MoMA New York brought together more than 400 drawings, models, photographs, and film reels from an array of municipal archives, family-held collections, and museums across the region – featuring work by important architects including Bogdan Bogdanović, Juraj Neidhardt, Svetlana Kana Radević, Edvard Ravnikar, Vjenceslav Richter, and Milica Šterić. Nearly all of these exhibitis are also presented in the book.
From the sculptural interior of the White Mosque in rural Bosnia, to the post-earthquake reconstruction of the city of Skopje based on Kenzo Tange’s Metabolist design, to the new town of New Belgrade, with its expressive large-scale housing blocks and civic buildings, the exhibition examines the unique range of forms and modes of production in Yugoslav architecture and its distinct yet multifaceted character.
The publication features also new scholarship and previously unpublished archival materials. Richly illustrated it sheds light on key ideological concepts of Yugoslav architecture, urbanism and society by delving into the exceptional projects and key figures of the era.
TOWARD A CONCRETE UTOPIA BY MARTINO STIERLI & VLADIMIR KULIC HARDCOVER, 228 pages MOMA PUBLICATIONS store.moma.org
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