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Developing an Evaluation Framework and Re-Design Strategies for Modernist Housing Blocks in New Belgrade

Anica Dragutinovic promoviert im Fachbereich Detmolder Schule für Architektur und Innenarchitektur an der TH OWL in Kooperation mit der Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment an der Delft University of Technology, betreut durch Professorin Dr.-Ing. Uta Pottgiesser.

Anica Dragutinovic

Modern Movement buildings are decaying, being altered beyond recognition or even demolished, as they are an underrepresented heritage on the World Heritage List. The buildings urge re-evaluation and appropriate (re)use and repair strategies. Belgrade modern architecture, as part of this larger cultural phenomenon, will be a subject of this PhD research. More specifically, the PhD will focus on modern housing mega-blocks in New Belgrade which are not considered as architectural heritage by now.

Although in the first post-war years New Belgrade denoted the concept of a capital city, it was eventually realized as a city of housing mega-blocks in 1960s and 1970s, as an answer to the post-war housing crisis. Today, modern buildings are left to decay, while the urban pattern of New Belgrade is being altered once again, now by market-oriented urban practices.

The main research question of the PhD is how the blocks can be transformed in order to adapt to the contemporary (and constantly changing) contexts, societal and user’s needs, and yet their architectural values be preserved. The potentials of the blocks for these transformations will be identified, categorized and evaluated.

Methodology of the research is defined through a combined strategy of theoretical and empirical study with several methods: literature and archive review, case studies identification, evaluation, qualitative research with interviews and questionnaires, categorisation, international comparison and (re)design guidelines.

The PhD contributes to a better understanding of the architectural and heritage values of New Belgrade blocks, but also highlights their current condition and the need to be adapted. The main aim is to develop a set of different interventions for (re)use and repair of the blocks. Furthermore, it aims to establish a new conservation-renovation method that balances between the preservation of the identity and values of the blocks and improvement of their functionality.