December 28, 2008

The Archangel Michael Cathedral in Begrade

The Cathedral as seen from Kneza Sime Markovica

Though the St. Sava Temple is the biggest sacral building in Belgrade there is a church, that made the Belgrade Skyline very typical with its baroque belltower: the Church of the Holy Archangel Michael (Saborna Crkva) on Kneza Sime Markovica.

The unique skyline of Belgrade's old city

The church was errected from 1837 to 1840 by order of prince Miloš Obrenović, according to the design and plans of Adam Fridrih Kverfeld, a builder from Pančevo,in a classical style with baroque elements. The interior is richly decorated.

The gold-plated carved iconostasis was made by the sculptor Dimitrije Petrović, while the icons on the iconostasis, thrones, choirs and pulpits, as well as those on the walls and arches were painted by Dimitrije Avramović, one of the most distinguished Serbian painters of the XIX century. The tombs of the Serbian sovereigns Miloš and Mihailo Obrenović are housed in the church. In the churchyard are buried two giants of Serbian culture - Dositej Obradović and Vuk Stefanović Karadžić. Also the relics of Serbian saints king Uroš and despot Stefan Štiljanović are housed in this church.

December 24, 2008

St.Sava Temple in Belgrade

The largest orthodox church building in the world is in Belgrade, it’s the St.Sava’s Temple (Hram Svetog Save) situated in the Vracar District. The church holds a dominant position in Belgrade's cityscape and is visible from all approaches to the city. Indeed its place is well choosen, as it finishes the line of landmarks kalamegdan (the city fortress)-trg republike (the main square)-beogradjanka (the tower building)-slavija circle (a main juncition) and the Svetosavski Trg with the Temple. Here a picture of the church taken from our terrasse in Novi Beograd. The construction preparations have lasted for a very long time, ever since 1894 and until now the construction was financed only by dionations. In 1905 a architectural competition was launched, but all 3 aplications were rejected as judged not good enough for such an important building. At an open competition in 1926 the architectural design of Bogdan Nestorović was selected among the 22 entries, with later incorporation of several elements of the project of another architect: Aleksandar Deroko. Construction was interrupted by German attacks on Yugoslavia on April 6, 1941. It was not until the summer 1984 that the state permission was obtained to continue the construction works, so on April 30, 1985, the temple, thorn by war and human negligence, was conscrated again. The works were directed by Branko Pešić, an architect and university professor. The interior is far from being finished. Here a picture I made in 2005, I was pretty surprised to find some trucks inside the church. Here current pictures from the main website of the temple, but still a lot of works needs to be done.

In 2004 an open town planning and architectural design competition was held, and I would like to mention the entry from ARCSV that proposes an interesting aproach illuminating the temple from a skyscraper.

December 5, 2008

Dragiša Brašovan - Modern Architecture in Serbia

Dragiša Brašovan (1887-1965) is considered as the one who introduced Modern Architecture in the Balkans. He studied in Budapest and after working for 6 years in Budapest in 1920 he founded an architecture firm in Belgrade with Milan Sekulić (this lasted until 1225 after that he went on on its own). After 1945 he worked for state commissions.

Until 1929 he made projects in an eclectic style that was popular between the two World Wars. Around this time he made:
- Rabatt-Bank, ulica Nušićeva 4, Belgrade 1921-23
- Genčić-Villa, ulica Proleterskih brigada 55, Belgrade 1929

- Škarkin-Villa, ulica Deligradskoj 12, Belgrade 1927-29

After 1929 he started modern style architecture and joined the group " Arhitekata modernog pravca". However he was not a strictly functionalist architect (like most of the modern architects), in the modern language of his buildings there was always some place for decoration or expressionistic elements in his works.

The printing company earlier and today

One outstanding work of this time is the Zgrada Državne štamparije (today called BIGZ) projected and build between1934-1941
, bulevar Vojvode Mišić 17 in Belgrade the former state printing company.

Some works that got im international recognition where the yugoslavian Pavillons for the World Trade Fairs and International Exhibitions. 1929 in Barcelona (for that he got the big Architectural prize) 1931 in Milano, 1932 in Thessaloniki, 1953 in Damascus and Izmir.

Two extraordinary edifices signed by this architect
were the victims of NATO bombings in 1999.

Komanda Vazduhoplovstva (Yugoslavian Airforces Headquarter) in Zemun of 1939 (together with the sculpture of Icarus on the front - a masterpiece of Novi Sad's sculptor Karlo Baranji). The building was totally destroyed.(I wrote about it here)

Zgrada Dunavske banovine (today Izvršno veće Vojvodine, in english Building of Executive Council of Vojvodina Province (Banovina) of 1939 in Novi Sad that is listed in all world architectural cyclopedias, under the protection of UNESCO as an valuable art heritage, was bombed in the night of April 19, 1999. (I wrote about it here)

After 1945 he made a couple of bulidings in socio-realism style, where he combined modern style with ethnic and monumental elements.

The most famous is probably Hotel "Metropol" in Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra in Belgrade, a building from 1953.
The Hotel before renovation

The Hotel is currently undergoing extensive restauration and refurbishment, and is anticipated to be reopened in May 2009.

Visualisation of the project

Other Works:

Zgrada Srpske banke (Bank Building), renovation ca.1920 in Zrenjanin

(Photos from Alex_ZR on Skyscrapercity)

Crkva Vavedenja Bogorodice (Church), 1924-1927 in Orlovat

Sokolski dom, 1927 in Zrenjanin

(Photo from Alex_ZR on Skyscrapercity)

Radnička komora
(Work Chamber), 1931 in Novi Sad

Zgrada Muzeja Nikole Tesle (Nikola Tesla Museum Building) 1932, in Belgrade

Residence in Ulica Francuska 5 in Belgrade, build in the 30's
Residence in Bulevar Oslobođenja 2, in Belgrade, build in the 30's

Residence in Bulevar Despota Stefana 8 in Belgrade, build in the 30's

One of the 30's building in Belgrade
by Dragisa Brasovan
(Photo Rascian at Skyscarapercity)

Residence Blocks for Fabrike Kablova Svetozarevo in Jagodina, build in the 50's Glavna pošta (Main Post Office) in Novi Sad, 1961

Brasovan died in 1965 in Belgrade. He was a pen pal member of Serbian Academy of Science and Arts and a member of British Royal Institute of Architecture. He left a print as one of the most famous Serbian architects of the century, distinguished connoisseur of the age of baroque and introduced modern style architecture to the Balkans.