October 22, 2008

Modernism in Bratislava

This post is not as usual about Balkan architecture.
When I recently went to Serbia, for a short holiday with my husband and my son, we decided to visit Bratislava (Slovakia) on the way, because earlier this year my husband showed me a picture of the Radio Slovakia Building...and I got very curious about this city!
It's sure worth a visit!
To see the nice landmarks, the old town, the castle and some good architecture from the past centuries there are tones of good torurist guides. (I simply consulted this free online guide of Bratislava)

But what exited me a lot about this city and I'd like to show it in this post, is the unique modernist architecture of the city.

ome really good masterpieces of an architecture I always loved!


We stayed at Hotel Kyjev, an enormous building just in the center of Bratislava and a landmark of the city. Hotel Kyjev (built 1963 - 1973) by architekt Ivan Matusik is a reminder of the audacious communist architecture with a futurist touch.

The building is scheduled for demolishion, and a new project is planned instead. The new project should house two hotels, as well as office space and luxury apartments. Two new pedestrian promenades will be built, along with four floors of underground parking.

In the communist era the Kyjev was for a period of time one of Bratislava's nicest hotels, serving "capitalist" foreigners and communist VIPs. After the fall of Communism in 1989 the Hotel remained in service, but because of constant rumours of closure have circulated for several years, the Hotel has invested very little in upgrading its facilities recently.

pictures from this book

The management decided to cover one of the sides with a large advertising banner, obscuring the views from rooms. Like that they probably manage to keep the 180 rooms going and the staff (who is indeed very friendly, specially when they saw our serbian last name!) get paid.

The room in the 10th floor

the reception and the entrance hall

elevators in marble

Some pictures of the restaurant's website

The first building (or structure) that entering the city, fascinated me, is the Novy Most (the new Bridge) across the Danube with its futuristic UFO-like tower restaurant. The bridge is the longest cable-stayed bridge in category with one pylon and with one cable-stayed plane. It was built between 1968 and 1973 under a project by Jozef Lacko, Ladislav Kušnír and Ivan Slameň. Since 2005 the name of the restaurant is "UFO" earlier it was Bystrica. You can reach the restaurant using the elevator situated in the left pillar.or there is an emergency staircase in the right pillar.
From there you have a fantastic view allover the city.


Another interesting building is the Slovakian Broadcasting's inverted pyramid-shaped headquarters by Štefan Svetko, Štefan Ďurkovič and Barnabaš Kissling built from 1962 - 1985


Also surprising is the Kamzik TV Tower in the Koliba area of Bratislava by Stanislav Májek, Jakub Tomašák, Milan Jurica, Juraj Kozák and Ján Privitzer built 1967-1974 . The tower has an observation deck and the revolving "VEŽA"-restaurant at 70 m height, both open to visitor daily from 11.30 to 23.00.

And here some more awsome examples of Modernism in Bratislava (all pictures from this book):

University of Agriculture
Nitra Vladimír Dedeček, Rudolf Miňovsky

National Archives Bratislava
Vladimír Dedeček

National Gallery Vladimír Dedeček 1967-1979

Hotel Panorama
Štrbské Pleso and Zdenek Řihák 1965-1970

Reception lounge for Guests of State
Bratislava Airport Ján Bahna and Voitech Vilhan 1972-1973

For more pictures follow this link at Peter's "ostarchitekur"-site.

October 14, 2008

Red Star Apartments in Belgrade

The Serbian capital of Belgrade is currently experiencing a tremendous construction boom that is transforming it into an attractive, modern metropolis in south-eastern Europe.
A growing number of real estate investors are discovering Belgrade as an attractive boom market in the Balkans. Construction is taking place virtually throughout the city: from blocks of flats, prefab renovation and new apartments to sports facilities, shopping centres, business parks, logistics centres and entire new factories. Even a modern marina and an aqua park are under construction to compensate for the fact that Montenegro's independence means that Serbia no longer has access to the Adriatic, and thus no longer has a coastline.
The latest trends: there is still particularly heavy demand for new shopping and office facilities. Now that affordable mortgages have become available, residential construction and the business of renovating old prefabricated buildings are booming. At the same time, prices everywhere are exploding. And the trend is still rising.

Belgrade's city administration regards the ongoing, vigorous construction boom as an indication that the Serbian capital has managed to overcome the isolation and stagnation of the past and initiate a process of urban development and renovation.

Here a Project that I personally like a lot: The Red Star Apartments

Red Star Appartments Residential complex is an already approved project, that is planned to be started in 2008/2009. It's situated near delta City Shopping Mall from the same investor (Delta Invest Group) and the famous "Crvena Zvezda" - Marakana Stadion in the Novi Beograd Area.
Arranged in one 8-floor cascading building and one 18-floor tower, the investor wanted great layouts and an abundance of daylight, so as to maximize healthy living conditions.

October 9, 2008

Bosmal City Center in Sarajevo

Bosmal City Center, is a modern, private residential building with monitored entrances, reception, luxurious apartments and common areas (lobbies, saunas, pool for adults and children and a nursery) serving the residents. it's located in the Hrasno district of Sarajevo and until now was the highest building (118m) in the Balkans (construction started in 2001).

From the pormoting firm's description:

"The Center offers 306 residential units, with 8 penthouses and 298 apartments, organised in 14 types, with areas ranging from 80 to 220 sq. m. Nine high-speed elevators connect to the garage-commercial area of the center. The residents will be absolutely secure, with special security service responsible for constant monitoring of the whole object, with 200 surveillance cameras on duty, sensors and other modern equipment. The communication areas in the center, commercial areas and the underground garage with 400 parking lots are monitored from the reception point.
A restaurant is located at the highest point of the building, giving a panoramic view of the town, including the historical districts as well as the new part of town and its surroundings. The commercial area is open to the public, with two restaurants and a meeting bar, supermarket, hair and beauty saloons, dental practice, ambulance service, ophthalmologist’s and optician’s, leather goods boutique, art sales, jewelry shop and other exclusive boutiques."

Now it would be interesting to know, who are the residents that need so much security....

Here a picture that was made a couple of weeks ago from Peter when he visited Sarajevo.

October 2, 2008

Serbian Design - VODA VODA

My first "design-impact" in Serbia was shorty after arriving in Belgrade, when I bought a bottle of water at a snackbar.
I was already very inspired just from the ride from airport to the city (the Airforce Museum, some spectacular Blocks, the Genex-Building, the amazing view to the Belgradeskyline with Kalemegdan) so really I just wanted a bottle of water ....but I got one more overhelmig sensation: the bottle was the most beautiful plastic-bottle for water I had ever seen.

A transparent, squareshaped container with relief printing of the brand. The name of the water ('voda' in serbian) is: Voda Voda - like name and last name! Since 2007 Vlade Divac (most famous NBA basketball star from Serbia) is the owner of VodaVoda Company.

The amazing design is from Branko Luka cofounder and partner of non·object (an U.S. based design company).

The inspiration for the bottle came from the water itself, since water was composed and designed by nature log before life began. Water can momentarely take any shape of any vessel in an instant. Lukic wanted to create a vessel that would become a connector between nature and oneself, an aproach he already shows with the name of his company: non-object.

asked: what is non-object? the answer is:
non-object is the space between you and the object

The square PET bottle that can fit more bottles per given footprint than common round bottle takes care of the rational and pragmatic aspects of package design.

The PET Voda Voda Bottle
Designer: Branko Lukic
Branding and graphic design: Suncica Lukic

But who is Branko Lukic? Entrepreneur and master of the unexpected, he is non·object's design experience visionary and author of non·object Design Fiction book.
Prior to non·object, Branko was a lead industrial designer at frogdesign and IDEO, where he lead projects for clients such as Nike, Adidas, Samsung, Intel, Motorola, SAP, HP, Pepsi, Starbucks, Ford, Herman Miller and other major international companies.
Branko won his first design contract at the age of 18 back in Belgrade, Serbia. Since then, he has created work in a wide variety of areas, including industrial and product design, branding, sustainable design, graphic communication, digital media, and conceptual design. He holds many patents and has won numerous national and international awards in the field of design and branding including Business Week IDEA Gold Award, Graphis Design Annual Award, International Design magazine Awards, red dot Awards, Good Design Award etc.

Branko Lukic earned a B.S. in Industrial Design from the University of Arts in Belgrade. Here in the picture next to a mobile phone he designed that has no screen....just on all sides.
Here an interview for VIRED magazine.