July 16, 2009

Modern buildings in Belgrade by architect Dusan Babic

Villa Protic, 1930-1931, Belgrade

It's very difficult to find informations about the modern architect Dusan Babic, even if he was one of the founders of »Grupe arhitekata modernog pravca« (Group of Architects of the Modern Movement (GAMM), founded in 1928. Together with Milan Zlokovic and Jan Dubovy, and Branislav Kojic.

Babic was born 1896 in Banja Luka (Republika Srpska) that on those times was part of the austro-hungarian empire. He studied at the "Technische Hochschule" in Vienna, started working in Sarajevo (1923) for the municipal cunstruction bureau and arrived in Belgrade in 1928 where he died probably in 1948.

Even if there is not much information left about his life, he left some every interesting traces in the city of Belgrade.

Plans of the Villa of Karl Reich, 1930-1931 in Belgrade

The villa of Maria and Karl Reich represents the finest example of Babic's particular understanding of modern form. The most striking feature of the villa Reich are colums of gigantic order on the garden side of the house, wich support the overhanging roof.

From the analysis of the prmary volumetric,it shows that the final form and balance of solid and void is a result of voluemtric substaction from the basic parallelepiped form. The intrecate rhythm of colums and pergolas and the unfolding of terraces as the house opens toward the garden are regulated by the lines of the immaginary primary form.

While the total floor area of the villa is quiet modest, the extend of the outline points of form explicates the villa's actual and psychological domain.
In plan there is aclear distinction between representative, public spaces in teh ground floor, private quarters on the first floor, and service rooms in the ground and the basement levels.

The formal accents, such as the elaboration of the main entrance and corner loggia on the main street facade and the arrangemet of grand terraces toward the garden, follow the funtional logic of the house.

The external surface treatment refelcts the design intent to play un the relation between weight and leightness: rustication in regualr horizontal pr
ofiling is a pplied to the supporting elements, the foundation of the hosue and the squaresection columns, while the supported elements are plain and smooth. (from L.Blagojevic)

Villa of Dragutin Smejkal, 1934 in Belgrade

Babic took grate care in the elaboration of modern decoration in his projects, even if those for houses in less prestigious locations, for less demanding clients, such as the Plevan and the Smejkal Villas. These modest houses are made representative in his perspective drawings. (from L.Blagojevic)

Villa of Jelena Plevan, 1933 in Belgrade

Lektres building, 1931 in Belgrade

Another meaningful building is the "lektres" building at 21, Marsala Birjuzova. Also here he used modernist decoration elements, where he combines two different periods of architecture style in the way to lessen the power of the modern movement language and to adapt it to the older surroundings. (translated from Slobodan Maldini)

Lektres building, 1931 in Belgrade


  1. Свака част Душану Бабићу и свака част теби за пост,многи вероватно нису никад чули за њега,ово је прилика да сазнају нешто ново.

  2. Hello

    I believe Jelena Plevan is my grandmother and I was intrigued to see her name come up on a Google search, together with her former villa in Belgrade. Unfortunately, I am not able to see the picture of the villa - would you be able to send me a copy, please?

    Many thanks in advance for your help

    Nikola Plevan

  3. Hello Nikola. I posted the picture again and send it also to your mail.

    Thank you for visitung my blog.

  4. Hello,
    I am hoping you may be able to help me: I am seeking information on the Lektres Building, Kosmajska 21, built in 1931. I am not Serbian and live in Canada: I wondered if you have or would know how to obtain the history of this particular building: who it was built for; who the owners were/residents, etc. Any information would be very much appreciated.

    Please feel free to email me at chrath01@gmail.com

    With thanks,

  5. Hello!
    Dusan Babic is my great-uncle. He was the brother of my grandfather.
    I have a few stories learned from my father about Dusan's youth and schoolyears.

    I, myself, am very interested about where you might have learned Dusan's birthdate. Did you learn this via other historian-architectural archives? I am trying to piece together family geneology and Dusan's birthdate of 1896 doesn't seem to match other info of other family members. I could be wrong about the other family members, and, as such, my question to you.

    Thank you! And thank you very much for your blog that allowed me to capture an additional glimpse of my family! I'm very grateful to you!