The architecture of everyday life
SKOPJE (MK) - The recent events within Macedonia's architectural scene have been dominated by the controversies stirred with the government-propelled plan to change the central area of the capital city, Skopje. The plan, which is well under way, proposed a considerable number of public buildings which were to be constructed in a so-called 'baroque' style preferred by the government, but also proposed 'uplifting' of existing modernist facades to comply with the arbitrary mixture of historical styles.
The 16th Biennial of Macedonian Architecture (BIMAS 2012), which took place in the first half of May, and is traditionally organized by the Association of Architects of Macedonia (AAM), was the first event of its kind after the plan for Skopje has been made public. Despite the fact that the association has already aired its view against the so-called 'Skopje 2014' plan, the biennial exhibition was the first real opportunity to weigh its impact in the field of architecture in general.
The theme of the Biennial was the 'Architecture of Everyday Life', however the theme usually serves the purpose of pointing to a certain aspect that the AAM finds professionally relevant, rather than being something that would filter the exhibited works, as there is an accepted notion that the Biennial is an overview of architecture built in the last two years. Consistent with this view, the selectors have so far dealt only with technical matters rather than evaluating the entries on their architectural merits. This time the selector, Djoko Radovanovikj, dared to decline the right to take part in the exhibition for a number of projects, including some of the recently designed governmental buildings. Although some of his decisions can be questioned, he nevertheless established the precedent of selection.
The Biennial showed that the current architectural scene in Macedonia is characterized by the parallel existence of three major streams: the government-supported 'baroque' architecture; the as yet dominant architecture of the transition period which, speculative in nature, cares more about square metres than about architectural quality; and finally, the architecture of recent years that shows a clear breach with the previous two and exposes its potential to respond with a new sensibility to different contextual, programmatic and social circumstances. The decision of the jury, headed by Goce Adzi Mitreski, managed to establish a clear relationship between these qualities and the theme of the Biennial.
The grand prize was awarded to Minas Bakalchev and Mitko Hadzi Pulja for their design of a village yard in Velmej, located in south-western Macedonia. The project, sitting on the border between the village and the picturesque landscape, succeeds in the attempt, with a reduced repertoire of interventions, to relate to the neighbouring vernacular architecture and to subtly produce a space which is simultaneously individual and public, serving both the owner and the fellow villagers.
Other awards included: 'House G' by E. Ikonomov, E. Jegeni, B. Tasev, V. Bogoevski and J. Milojkovikj, educational installations in the Skopje City Park by I. Topalovska and R. Avramovski, the exhibition design for the Holocaust Memorial Centre in Skopje by M. Berenbaum, E. Jacobs and J. Ivanovski, and the shopping centre in Prilep by M. Panovski with D. Dinovska.
Monday | 28 May | 2012 | Macedonia | Vlatko P. Korobar