February 4, 2008

SIV Building in Belgrade

One of the first buildings errected in Novi Beograd was the Palata Federacije (also called SIV for Savezno izvršno veće) wich is one of the most astonishing buildings of Serbia. After the terrain was evenly covered with sand from the Sava and the Danube rivers in an effort to dry out the land and raise it above the reach of flooding , construction started in 1947 and went through 1954. The building was designed by an architectural team from Zagreb: Vladimir Potočnjak, Zlatko Neumann, Anton Urlich and Dragica Perak. Actually the building was only completed in 1961 by belgradian architect Mihailo Jankovic, for the occasion of the first Conference of Non-Aligned Heads of State or Government. When it was designed New Belgrade had the symbolic function of a new capital city of the new Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia. Its concept follows the plans for radical modernisation and urbanisation of the country. So the project asked for a monumental and representativ architecure (that shows political power!). The style is related to the modernist architecture (elimination of ornaments and unnecessary details, rejection of historical styles, and adoption of expressed structure) but the strong symmetry and monumental stucture remind the classical style. Even if it's said that the SIV-Building represents the ultimate failure of the strategy of hegemony and centralisation, the overall impression has a captivating charme and surely doesn't get unnoticed! (on the street and on the map!) The building has been preserved and is in the list of cultural properties of the Cultural Heritage Preservation Institute of Belgrade , is currently unused and officially not open to the public. Howewer it was (for the first time) re-opened for Belgrade Design Week in 2007 where the conferences took place in the biggest auditorium "The Jugoslavija Salon". Here the reportage from cicciosax (burekeaters) a lucky guy who actually was there.
And here an old picture of the same saloon where at his golden time Tito met people like Jimmy Carter, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, Margaret Thatcher and Nicolae Ceauşescu.

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