Anti_Memorial – Museum of Destruction of Belgrade

Museum is based on the idea of architecture as a warning and criticism, but also a guardian of the people's memory.
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Designer(s) : Andrea Zobec

University : Faculty of Architecture of the University of Belgrade

Tutor(s) : Arch. Nebojša Fotirić

The wars in the area of ​​Belgrade in Serbia destroyed the architectural heritage, and the lived traumas of the people influenced the destruction of the collective social identity. As the city is located in a strategically favourable place and at the crossroads of important roads, it has been bombed throughout history by both enemies and allies. Despite numerous destructions, Belgrade is a city that has always risen from the ashes.

When it comes to the collective identity of the society, the presentation of the ruins from the time of the war in the centre of the city speaks of taking the imposed guilt without appropriate treatment and additional explanation. The huge demolished architecture at first glance leaves the impression of astonishment, but already through the second reading the question arises: “Is its place still there?”. Why does a capital like Belgrade, which is developing and prospering, nurture the aesthetics of ruins without offering an insight into the socio-historical context?

The project with the symbolic name “Anti_memorial” is based on the idea of ​​architecture as a warning and criticism, but also a guardian of the people’s memory. An anti-memorial that deals with the destruction of the city and the identity of the people and that define a clear attitude towards the past that inevitably happened, and which is a taboo topic today, would enable acceptance and forgiveness and would be a catalyst for changing society and the city. By using trauma as a narrative and locating anti-memorials in the capital, Belgrade, visitors from abroad would more closely explain the tangible and intangible heritage of people from Serbia. The problematization of the topic, among other things, is based on the analysis of the ideological construct of time and space, and the attitude of society towards collective memory and cultural identity today.

In the program sense, it is a museum-educational centre in which, in addition to the exhibition spaces, there is also a city library, a media library, an archive as well as lecture halls. The main axis of the project is a perforated sloping wall buried in the ground, which functionally divides the building into two parts – an introverted exhibition space, and an educational space facing Marina Dorćol. The shape of the building came from the concept of bridging the ruined ground, which takes on the role of open space for exhibitions and cultural events. Three plateaus at different altitudes gradually submerge during the year and participate in the formation of different spatial environments. The construction of the two tracts of the building follows their purpose. The monumental, closed exhibition space is designed in the form of concrete girders on which the coffered ceiling rests, while the other part of the building is designed in the form of a three-band steel space grid.

Understanding the museum as a kind of bridge and medium to the “other world” opens the possibility for reinterpreting its primary function, abandoning the role of archives and conservators of artefacts, and forming an attitude about the museum as a factory and industry of experience. This project is bringing us closer and explains the identity of people from this area and their past through interaction with space and architecture.