February 27, 2008

Palata Albanija in Belgrade

The Albanija Building on Terazije was build in 1938 -1940 by Miladin Prljevic and Djordje Lazarevic (based on a Project by Branko Bon and Milan Grakalic) and was not only the first business tower in Belgrade but the highest building in the balkan before WW II.

Until 1895 the buildings at Terazije were mainly single and double-storied, major changes started in 1911 when the place was completely re-arranged. By the time the Albania Building was errected, big communist style building were constructed all around forming Marx and Engels Square (today Nikola Pasic Square) and changing the appereance of Terazije. The name "Albanija" was taken from the Kafana (Tavern) that used to be on its site. It was quite a popular place and old belgradians were not amused when it was demolished in October 17, 1936.

In 1938 Hipotekarna Banka started a competition for a business building. They required a "monumental object reguarding shape, quality and brightness and it should represent an unique place." In the jury were significant architects of that time. Insted of the first place of the competition, the 3rd place (Project by Branko Bon and Milan Grakalic) was chosen to be build (out of 84 participants).

The reason was that Hipotekarna Banka - the sponsor of the competition and owner of the land - liked that project best. They added one more floor, one more elevator, one more entrance on Kolarceva Ulica and had it build by Miladin Prljevic and Djordje Lazarevic.

An old picture from 1933 that shows the old Kafana "Albanija"

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