Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, RS

Function: Exhibition
Country: Serbia
Category: Recollective Architecture
Architects: original authors: Ivan Antić, Ivanka Raspopović, reconstruction project: Dejan Todorović, Belgrade cultural heritage survey: Svetlana Marković, furniture design exposition area: Milena Kordić
Completion of design: 2017
Year completed: 2018
Nominated by: Grozdana Šišović PhD
The main criterion of this nomination is the great importance of the building of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Serbian and Yugoslavian architectural modernism. Because of its necessary reconstruction, the building was closed to the public between 2007 and 2017, which can be understood as a symptom of the hard conditions Serbian culture is facing in the recent decades. The reconstruction took place during these 10 years, including many years without any progress. The final part of the work was completed between 2016 and 2018 with Dejan Todorović as the lead architect in charge of the interior reconstruction and facade restoration. (Grozdana Šišović PhD)
Project Description

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade was designed by the architects Ivanka Raspopović and Ivan Antić, first prize winners at a competition held in 1959/1960. Located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, the museum was opened in 1965. The building had been declared a monument in 1987. Due to its grave need for renovation, the museum was closed in 2007. The reconstruction process began, but after the completion of a new power station near the museum building in 2010, the entire project was put under a halt due to the lack of funds. After many delays, the renovation of the museum continued in September of 2016. The new project was designed by architect Dejan Todorović in only three months. After ten years of being closed, the museum finally opened again in October 2017. The almost invisible intervention of Dejan Todorović reveals a rare but necessary approach in terms of the reconstruction, restoration, and conservation of architectural heritage. The reconstruction of the museum was a challenging project overall, as the building needed to be adapted to the latest museum standards without compromising the original materialisation and design of the iconic building. One of the most unique features of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade is its interior, which is fluid, abundant in natural light and lacks walls, so visitors can walk through all five semi-levels without losing the notion of the entire exhibition. The new materials used for the restoration had been selected carefully in order to be as close to the original ones as possible. Although the Cultural Heritage Protection Institute of the City of Belgrade set very rigid parameters for the reconstruction, the original design provided a solution for each of the obstacles. The museum's architecture is timeless and therefore continues to be contemporary even though it was designed more than fifty years ago. Its geometric and rational form has been preserved due to the architect's understanding of the building's formal articulation. The only additions to the existing building were the ramp for wheelchair access and the relocated power station, which do not disturb the ambiance of the museum and its environment. The admiration Dejan Todorović showed towards the work of Ivanka Raspopović and Ivan Antić is immense and was crucial for the overall result. The beauty of the original architecture was left intact.

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