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Spomen dom

Kolašin, Montenegro
1 of 16Jan Kempenaers

Spomen Dom was built in 1976. It is located in the city center of Kolašin, in the northern part of Montengro. It was built to commemorate the first assembly of the National Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Montenegro and Boka (the southern region of Montenegro). In the following years, Spomen Dom was used as a cultural and administrative center for Kolašin and the surrounding area. Up until the early nineties, local authorities were in charge of the building’s maintenance. Now that its maintenance has been removed from the region’s budget, Spomen Dom is no longer looked after and has fallen into disrepair. A few years ago, the local authorities considered demolishing it in order to build a new tourist complex on the site. However, the plan to demolish Spomen Dom has been stalled by the economic crisis. The building is still used today for municipal administration and by local political parties. It is also considered one of Montenegro’s most beautiful examples of post-war architecture.

Although it was built to mark the 30th anniversary of the First session of the Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation, Memorial hall in Kolašin represents a sublimation of the commemoration of the World War II events that took place in Kolašin as a "libertarian partisan territory". The official opening of the Memorial took place on November 15, 1975. It is located on the main town square in the city center (Lower town square). On the green area right next to the square, there is also the Monument to the Victims of Fascism (1952), designed by the sculptor Vojin Bakić.

The Memorial hall complex has two constitutive parts with a total size of ~ 100x40m: memorial, which also has a central hall for both large and small scale meetings, and administrative, which is used for different municipal and socio-political organizations. In terms of their design, these two parts are structured in different ways. With a sculptural form, different contents, and interior design (so-called "event cells"), the memorial part is a set of standardized volumes representing the basic program and symbolic structures. The administrative part, which is still the home of the municipal administration, is a one-volume horizontal structure. The characteristic design of the memorial part was inspired by the traditional slope roofs typical for Kolašin and this region (vernacular architecture of Dinaric houses), and then transposed into a new, group form. Due to the specific architectural design, the time period when it was built, and, above all, the expressive use of unpainted, raw concrete, the building is an example of Brutalist architecture.

The memorial premises of the building and the multi-purpose hall do not meet functional requirements anymore. Some parts of the complex, which had been earlier used as the museum units, are now in the administrative function (used by some political parties, institutions, etc.). The rest of the building complex is unfortunately closed off.

In 1976, Memorial Hall was awarded the Prešeren Foundation prize for Architecture in Ljubljana and the Federal prize "July 4” in Belgrade. As a significant work of Yugoslav architecture, it was presented at the exhibition "Toward Concrete Utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia, 1948-1980" (MOMA, New York, July 2018 - January 2019). For the purposes of obtaining reconstruction funds, the memorial was also on the World Monuments Fund platform.

Sources: Slavica Stamatović Vučković: "Arhitektonska komunikacija: objekti kulture u Crnoj Gori (1945-2000)" (Univerzitet Crne Gore, 2018)