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Architecture in Socialist Yugoslavia


MoMA presented from 15 July 2018 to 13 January 2019 “Toward a Concrete Utopia”, an extensive investigation of the architectural production of the period of intense construction between Yugoslavia’s break with the Soviet bloc in 1948 and the death of the country’s longtime leader Josip Broz Tito in 1980.

Through more than 400 drawings, models, photographs and film reels, the exhibition explored themes of large-scale urbanization, monuments and memorialization, technology in everyday life, consumerism and the global reach of Yugoslav architecture, showing the exceptional work of socialist Yugoslavia’s leading architects such as Bogdan Bogdanović, Juraj Neidhardt, Svetlana Kana Radević, Edvard Ravnikar, Vjenceslav Richter, and Milica Šterić, among others.

From the sculptural interior of the White Mosque in rural Bosnia, to the post-earthquake reconstruction of the city of Skopje based on Kenzo Tange’s Metabolist design, to the new town of New Belgrade, with its expressive large-scale housing blocks and civic buildings, it examined the unique range of forms and modes of production in Yugoslav architecture and its distinct yet multifaceted character.

Situated between the capitalist West and the socialist East, Yugoslavia’s architects responded to contradictory demands and influences, developing a postwar architecture both in line with and distinct from the approaches seen elsewhere in Europe. The architecture that emerged—from International Style skyscrapers to Brutalist “social condensers”—is a manifestation of the diversity and radical idealism that characterized the Yugoslav state itself.


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