January 26, 2008

GENEX Building in Belgrade

One of the first things people can see arriving from Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport is the GENEX Tower or Western City Gate. The 115 meters skyscraper located in Novi Beograd municipality, consists of two tower-buildings connected on top by a bridge and a revolving restaurant. One is an Office tower and 26 storey high and the other is a Residential tower and 30 storey high. It was designed in 1977 by Mihajlo Mitrovic and was completed in 1980.

The GENEX tower is build in Brutalist-style, a popular style in architecture between 1950 and 1970, the name comes from the french „beton brut“ (raw concrete) as concrete is openly showed in his raw state in the facades. Such features though, as the bridge that joins the office tower to the residential tower and the keyholes in the sides of one of the towers, indicate a playfulness not always found in late modernist architecture.

Windows like keyholes (picture from http://www.ostarchitektur.com)

Another interesting aspect for me is, how they use this building as a carrier for advertisement. The Norwegian Mobile company „Telenor“ added a „trompe-l’oeil“-style add to the entire facade that looks again like a gate.

On the little round tower toward E-75 highway the sponsor changed during time: so there was Yugotours in the 80is (like in this picture from 1980) and now it’s Komercijalna Banka.

In the 1980s, Genex was a corporate empire, with an annual $6 billion in sales from its dealings in hotels, travel, electronics, aviation and pharmaceuticals, as well as other businesses. In 1989, Milosevic fired Genex’s popular director, Milorad Savicevic, and placed political allies in top company posts. International sanctions against Yugoslavia began to take a heavy toll on Genex in the mid to late 1990s. Bozovic, a former Serbian prime minister and speaker of federal parliament who was appointed by Milosevic in March 1999, began selling key company assets and ordered hundreds of lay-offs.I’m not sure what’s in the office tower now.

Today the revolving restaurant (it made one round in one hour) is closed, even if there are some plans to re-open it.

The two idiots
There is a saying that someone is “standing alone like an idiot”. That’s why people call these two buildings “idiots”.

No comments:

Post a Comment