CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE IN SARAJEVO - 1918-1990
Upon termination of annexsion of Bosnia and Herzegovina and leaving of the Austro-Hungarian administration from Sarajevo, what left behind was the testimony of 40 years of civilization and cultural changes in this town. The World War I and the first decade after its end represent a noticeable restriction in the architectural and physical development in Sarajevo. This is a cut in time from some fifteen years of construction which is characterized by application of so-called "neo" styles and secession and architectural production based on the ideas of Adolf Loos and German Bauhaus. This is also a cut in time between very intensive building of many administrative buildings of hypertrophied measure in relation with the existing urban matrix of the town as "Landeshaupstadta" of Bosnia and Herzegovina and architectural activities diminish or are curtailed to smaller private investments. This was also a time when the famous architects of Sarajevo withdrew from the active scene - Josip Vancaš, Karlo Paržik, Josip Pospišil, Jan Kotera, Ćiril Iveković, Rudolf Tennies and others to be replaced by students from Prague, Vienna, and Zagreb, and young local architects.
Sarajevo town changed from the Capital of a country with specific role which was given to it by Austro-Hungarian protectorate which made significant investments in economy, industry, education, culture and administration now becoming only a seat of one of nine «banovinas» of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. With this, the city lost a lot in its spatial development and building intensity, having already incorporated in its structure many buildings necessary for work and life of the new role and function that was assigned to it.
The views of that time at architectural production in Bosnia and Herzegovina remained under influence of inherited eclectics, insisting on some new expression through artificial quazi-national style of Byzantine exemplar, which was favored by the governing regime and the king's court in the euphoria of uniting all southern Slavs. This second building trend was mostly present in architecture of orthodox churches, to be transferred later under yet stronger influence of Russian academism brought here by architects escaping from October revolution to the building of public and social buildings of the ruling regime. Fortunately for Sarajevo because of its downgrading from a capital of a province to seat of a "banovina" it was not marked with such wandering in styles as it was the case with some other smaller or bigger towns. The exceptions are Orthodox church in Novo Sarajevo, made upon the idea of Alexandar Delok from Belgrade, building of Secondary Technical School in Marin Dvor, and Hipotekarna Banka from 1932 in Titova Street, which was designed by Belgrade architect Milan Zloković, as rare examples of such approach to architecture in Sarajevo.
But still, even though Sarajevo did not have high school of architecture, modern architecture was present here with the first buildings constructed in this style only few years later than this had occurred in Zagreb, and before first appearances in Belgrade or Ljubljana, otherwise favored cities of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The first building of Sarajevo Moderna is the house of Dimić family in Radićeva street, which was built in 1927, and designed by Helena Baldasar and Dušan Smiljanić, where the street portal clearly shows the goals of architectural trends of the time. Since then onwards, the results of non-compromising and engaged positions of Sarajevo architects of the time radiated with aesthetic functionality and creative construction. Those were creations very fortunately supplemented by extraordinary organizational abilities in construction, knowledge of new building materials, constructive solutions and details of the time. The results of such completely creative people scored decisive points in fighting the eclectic attempts and favored academism in architecture of Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Their striving to modernity and realization emerged from that spirit have made the path of the future generations of architect a whole lot easier. Numerous housing and public buildings which were designed and erected during the years between the two world wars still have the mark of the modern expression of forms and functional solutions. Their rational functionality, logic of construction, reduced vocabulary of forms and surface processing of facades have resisted all temptations of time and further development of architecture.
On the houses of Mate Baylona in Obala and in Bolnička street; Dušan Smiljanić and Isa Reiss in B.Kovačevića street; houses and housing multi story buildings of Emanuel Šamanek; the Vakuf building in Bistrik as well as the lower part of the high rise building near the Land Bank (Zemaljska banka) and apartment multi story building in the extension of V. Miskina street, which belonged to Reuf and Muhamed Kadić; apartment building of Leon Kabilj and Jahiel Finci in Obala; building of Muhamed Kadić at the corner of the streets M.Tita and M. Gorkog; building by Dušan Smiljanić of vakuf apartment buildings in Titova street and in Obala as well as the public buildings by Dušan Smiljanić - General hospital in Jezero, and Pedagogic Academy in Obala; by Mate Baylon primary schools in Nemanjina St. and Vratnik; by Muhamed Kadić Pension institute, and by other architects in Sarajevo, just as though the time has stopped. These buildings still have the modern concept, both in terms of function and in terms of form, despite the fact that several decades have passed since they were build. As the followers of advanced ideas of Bauhaus, they insisted on unity of art and craftsmanship, and it is for this very reason why their building still also astonish with the perfection of the details. They have resisted the time so much that some uninformed observer might think that the work of the mentioned architect was done recently.
The four years of WW II have brought new restrictions in the development of architecture in Sarajevo, and the years that followed the war have for a short time suppressed architecture in the background, to wait for better times. It was the time of speedy, improvised and irrational building in the attempt to provide the fundamentals roof above one's head; this was also a good time for further growth of the city which had again become the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Very few building attempts made during the first post-war years in Sarajevo itself have either the features of the pre-war Moderna or form which incorporated some elements of soc-realistic vocabulary of Soviet architecture. This greatly depended on the pre-war position of individual architects working in city development and the schools they had belonged to before. That is to say that the few Sarajevo architect, who were a lot more engaged elsewhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina than in Sarajevo, now had the help of architects from Belgrade, Zagreb and Ljubljana who were assigned to work there by applying the planned assignment. Their arrival meant a lot both in professional, designing sense, as well as in the overall architectural life of the town. Despite their belonging to different building environments where different influences predominated academism was more significant in Belgrade, in Zagreb was exclusively Moderna they managed to very quickly find the common language with the Sarajevo architectural circle. It was on this basis that the first significant results in formation of space and forms were achieved which attracted attention of the professional centers of Yugoslavia. A great contribution to this process gave Juraj Najthart, although, to say the truth, more with his texts in which he was explaining his idea of emergence of some kind of "Bosnian pole" of contemporary international architecture and designing ideas which served as illustration of that, than concrete realizations.
It was in such creative atmosphere that many designing and competitive ideas were created which earned the attention of the Sarajevo architectural circle, but very few of those ideas were actually turned into reality. But still, even such small number of realized ideas meant a lot for further development of architectural and urban thought among the Sarajevo builders, especially those who were just emerging or yet to come. Such importance had the apartment ensemble in Džidžikovac which was built in 1948. based on idea of Muhamed and Reuf Kadić, in an absolute Bauhaus manner; also the mountain climber's hostel in Trebević, where Juraj Najthart demonstrated his architectural thesis in the best possible way (unfortunately, this hostel was burnt to the ground due to human negligence); then the Militia House, whereby Husref Redžić has synthesized the principles of Moderna and Neidhardt's vocabulary in a harmonious wholeness; spacious and representative building of the new railway station, which was designed by Czechoslovakian architects, successfully finished by Bogdan Stojkov.
In its further post-war growth, many new buildings were built in Sarajevo which supplemented its infrastructure, function and urban picture, in spite of disharmonious or unequal formation of individual buildings. As the time went by, each of them became an integral part of a wholeness, whether if it had been influenced by soc-realistic ideas or features of Moderna. Accordingly, based on idea of Tika Ivanic, the buildings of Higijenski Zavod and «Šipad» business buildings; building complex of GP "Graditelj" was made in 1954 upon design of Zdravko Kovačević and Milivoj Peterčić; many apartment buildings as blocks or faceless interpolations which were made at the time of strict and stingy norms which were to the detriment of functionality, and the facades were made naked and unattractive. Considering the general material, economic and construction situation in Yugoslavia during those years, this can not be considered a sin, but it certainly is not something to show off. But still, two housing complexes in the city core, even with very modest form, deserve attention because of their concept and perforated ground floor. Those are the creations of Muhamed and Reuf Kadic, located the first one between the Titova Street and JNA street, with a pedestrian passage in the direction North-South, and the second wan at the corner of the JNA street and S.Principa, which was constructed around 1950.
The end of this period and beginning of affirmation of a new architecture in Sarajevo was marked by giving the 6 April award to, for the first time, architects Andri Čićin Šašin and Mirjam Baldasar for museum interior exhibition of the City Museum in Sarajevo. Since then until now, very few the annual award ceremony have happened without at least one architect being on the lists of the awarded creators.
A significant characteristic of the sixties in Sarajevo architecture scene were: first, departure from the city of many architects who had been, in accordance with planned distribution of personnel, sent to work there from Belgrade, Zagreb and Ljubljana, among them Bogdan Stojkov, Tika Ivanović, Milivoj Peterčić, Radivoj Gibarac, Andri Čićin Šain, Žarko Turketo, Smiljan Klaić, Branko Kalajdžić and many others, whose work had contributed a great deal to reconstruction and building of Bosnia and Herzegovina; and second, the confirmation of Sarajevo as a new and equal center of architecture with already earlier noticeable building schools in Belgrade, Zagreb and Ljubljana.
Provision of a stable material basis of the city economy, significant increase in investment oriented towards lacking facilities of social standards opened a wide front for the work of architects. The result of their work definitely brought them out of anonymity and contributed to further affirmation of distinguished individuals, whether by their realized work or by their ideas winning awards in competitions. With good knowledge of the processes and organization of buildings, the modern system of competitions and new building materials, and under a strong influence of modern building trends, the Sarajevo architects have realized a whole series of noteworthy buildings, not only in their city, but also beyond its limits. The list of the works which are considered to be above the average architectural production can be started with "Energoinvest" building (nowadays: UPI) which was designed by Živorad Janković; Jugobanka building in Small Park, which was based on the idea of Zdravko Kovačević and Milan Kučan; there is also the building of Chamber of Economy of BiH, designed by Milivoj Peterčić; "Unioninvest" business building by Vladimir Zarahović; building of Faculty of Philosophy based on the idea of Juraj Neidhart; to end with exceptional architectural composition of Cultural and Sports center "Skenderija" which was made in 1969 upon design made by Živorad Janković and Halid Muhasilović, which with its numerous purposes, dimensions, construction, form and knowingly determined composition has attracted a lot of attention of the public and broader professional circles, while becoming an attractive space for meeting and use by people of Sarajevo.
In the attempts of the city authorities to deal with increasing shortage of apartments, both for the old Sarajevans and for the increased inflow of newcomers whether they were arriving as experts or as political or administrative staff coming from the provinces without any intention of going back building of whole housing neighborhoods comprising multi-story apartment buildings started. From the spatial organization of such neighborhoods, which was not more sophisticated than the simplified schemes made to suit crane movements, to neglecting incorporation of any other contents which are needed by inhabitants, to insisting on the lowest possible price of a square meter what could be achieved only by less than good and construction, made it clear from the very beginning that those neighborhood a hit well away of the target in terms of their form and organization of space. Frequent changes in the system and organization of their construction did not bring any improvement, nor was this achieved by the occasional involvement of known names in city planning and designing teams.
The seventies are happening in much better social and material conditions in the whole country as well as Sarajevo. Freed from influences of any domestic school of architecture or strong personal authority, not burdened with elements of folklore and narrow local frames, having talent and creative imagination, high artistic and technical culture, knowledge and application of complex spatial constructions and new material in construction, the Sarajevo architects successfully respond to growing requirements of the environment where they work and live, even beyond the borders of the republic and Yugoslavia. Distinguished benchmarks of this creative stage in this period are the business building of "Svjetlost" upon idea of Halid Muhasilović, Health Center in Novo Sarajevo by Zdravko Likić and Nikola Bašić, building of Electric technical faculty in Lukavica by Branko Bulić, department store "Unima" by Vladimir Zarahović, new building of Obstetrics Department upon idea of Bogoljub Kurpjel, and business and technical building of "Elektroprivreda" which was the first indication of changes which were brought to the architecture by the post-modern principles, already very much present throughout Europe.
Sarajevo architects clearly successfully worked in revitalization of facilities and environments from the rich cultural and historical heritage. What was proved by their creative approach in such complex and responsible results, the kind Enver ahić and Ahmed Đuvić implemented in the restaurant "Daire", and Mirko Ovadija in the old Jewish temple which hosts the Museum of Jews, which was also completed and even better confirmed Husref Redžić and Nedžad Kurto when adapting, reconstructing and revitalizing Morića han into an object with catering function, skillfully adjusting it to the ambiance of Baščaršija and contemporary requirements from culinary and other services.
Early eighties, in terms of architecture, were very significant for Sarajevo, thanks mostly to building a whole set of facilities which were necessary for successful holding of the Winter Olympic Games in February 1984. They responded to this rare challenge with their strong creative abilities when building the "Zetra" sports hall, three hotel buildings and new airport terminal. As a part of the sports complex in Koševo, based on the idea of Liudmilo Alikalfić and Dušan Đapo, in 1982 was finished a large sports hall where the authors skillfully used the spatial construction of the roof in non-pretentious and pure volume. New airport building in Butmir, designed by Hasan Ćemalović and Nikola Nešković, radiates with serousness, what is even more significant when one knows that this is an architectural topic where most designers try to play with simbols of flying. Fully respecting the Igman landscape, Ahmed Đuvić designed a hotel distinguishable for its clever game of confronting slants of the roof and facades and window openings on such slants; hotel "Vučko" on Jahorina, built upon idea of Zlatko Ugljen, was an exceptional example of spatial and artistic unity of external and internal architecture. In the attempts to repeat the spatial concept of Morića han from 17 century, Ivan Štraus designed «Holiday Inn» as a segment of the new city center. Initially shocking yellow color of facade of this hotel has over time blended in the environment when significant freshening up of the surrounding prominent building from Austro-Hungarian time was done, where color underlined the plastics of their façades.
Building activity in Sarajevo of the last decade this paper is dealing with started successfully even before the Olympic Games by constructing the building of Stari Grad Municipality which was very skillfully incorporated in this very sensitive city ambiance; also, the tele-communication tower on Sarajevo railway station, upon idea of Said Jamaković; complex of "Oslobođenje" printing shop and office, designed by Ahmed Kapidžić, Mladen Gvozden and Kenan Šahović; second phase of Radio-television House based on idea of Milan Kušan from the long passed 1968; and building of social and political organization of the city, which was used by Vladimir Dobrović as effective finalization of the left bank of river Miljacka.
After the Olympics, the active building continued by completion of business buildings of "Energoinvest" and «UNIS», by Alija Serdarević, and Ivan Štraus respectively, and Trauma Clinic which was organized by Branko Bulić in plan of two connected circle; building of territorial defense in «Ciglane» complex designed by Hasan Ćemalović and Nikola Nešković; building of additional wing to the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, where the architect Slobodan Jovandić, working with a group of younger architect, with a very well weighed language of post-moderna, achieved a true architectural success, the same as Mladen Gvozden and Dragan Bijedić did by completing the Pensioner Home using far more courageous moves, which were even more shocking for their co-citizens. Also during those years, the new building of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Assembly was finished, which has, together with previously built high-rise of the republic administration bodies, makes a single functional and spatial facility thought up by Juraj Neidhart.
Housing architecture of seventies and eighties continued with even more intensive building of new neighborhoods on the left bank of Miljacka river, towards Sarajevo Field, in Dobrinja, Ilidža, and in Breka. Despite the changes of the urban picture from one neighborhood to the other, or the shift in designing with more use of «eternit» attics or some elements from now passing post-modernistic manner, all this is much under the level of the previously listed benchmarks of the architecture thought in Sarajevo and its surrounding areas. Not even the rare exceptions of well interpolated apartment buildings in the city structure, free standing blocks of building constructed here and there over the last years can not improve the general picture of grayness, timidity or dictate of politicians whose only goal was to build thousands of square meters of apartment surface. The architects are also to be partly blamed for this poor impression because they have passed professional opinions when adopting the draft solutions for such neighborhood, those among them who viewed all this through business lenses of their companies and institutes, and even those architects who knew this but remained silent. We are left to hope that apartment complex "Ciglane", once it is completed and equipped, will be above the average achievements of all earlier land planning and architectural solutions.
The most progressive aspects of the contemporary Sarajevo architecture is full turn towards Western Europe and the developed world which was started in those regions by the pioneers of Moderna during thirties, and continued by many generations which followed, until now. Even if some building of a newer date can not be accepted on the basis of being considered not fitting with some imaginative overall panorama of the city, or are seen to overemphasize the features of a big city, then one should be reminded of the faith of some earlier buildings and long staying opinion about them or their locations. Only to remind of all bad opinions on Vijećnica building or its location in very fragmented structure of Baščaršija, or of some buildings with extensive dimensions and rich in ornaments of eclectic or secessionist expression, of the Vakuf high-rise at the beginning of V. Miskina street, which was built just before the World War II, and some other buildings without which it would be very difficult to imagine some streets or crossroads, passages, courts, etc. Those examples are not stated here only to justify everything that has been built since 1928, but as an argument in favor of being patient when giving opinions and for optimal passage of time which is the most impartial judge to all that has been done, including architectural work.