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Residential Complex Block 19A

Belgrade, Serbia
1 of 15Private collection of M. Lojanica

The residential complex Block 19a is situated in New Belgrade, part of Belgrade which was constructed in the period following World War II. New Belgrade was also planned and designed as a modern and functional city involving concept and principles of CIAM and Le Corbusier Athens Charter.

The basic concept of spatial organization of Block 19A is “orientation of residential objects towards environmentally most valuable part the center of the block in a way which renders it the character of coherent entity; visually connects it to vital spots of Belgrade landscape which have the visual root and beginnings in the sketches and silhouettes of the city. Urban matrix of New Belgrade blocks, characterized by orthogonality and harmony with directions of main traffic flows, then enclosure some sort of autonomy realized through enclosing space and directing it towards central parts of the block is being cleverly and bravely transformed here. ” (Aleksić, 1983). The whole composition of Block 19A is spatially rotated in regard to surrounding streets, creating an open disposition. The fundamental characteristic of the plan/base of the object is two-tract concept of interior organization.

The corpus of the object consists of two tracts which are interconnected by the core of vertical communications (stairways and elevators), around which four apartments are grouped. Spatial organization of apartments are based on the concept that an apartment is the field onto which numerous various and changeable needs, interests, conditions, and processes linked to family life are projected and expressed. Speaking of architectural principles executed in the residential complex Block 19A architect Milan Lojanica speaks (Lojanica, 2006) about changes in the paradigm of modern architecture and, at the same time, about the beginning of post-modern architecture in Yugoslavia. This stated indefiniteness or ambiguity of one of the authors indicates an insufficiently defined position of this residential complex in the development of modern architecture in Yugoslavia and additionally proves the statement that Block 19A represents the turning point in the development of modern architecture in Yugoslavia.

Fundamental features of Block 19A, diagonal spatial organization of the complex, then application of vernacular architecture in modern architecture, and the lack of any dialectic tension in the content of architectural form, place Block 19A between what was and what is to come.

Milentija Popovića