Unfinished Modernisations_Between Utopia & Pragmatism

Architecture and Urban Planning in Former Yugoslavia and its Successor States 


<Unfinished Modernisations is a collaborative, long-term research platform on architecture and urban planning.  […] The project is aimed at fostering interdisciplinary research on the production of built environment in its social, political and cultural contexts. It encompasses the countries that succeeded former Yugoslavia, spanning the period from the inception of the socialist state until today.  The topic of the 14 researches is the way in which divergent concepts of modernization conditioned architecture, territorial transformations, and urban phenomena.  The project seeks to detect effective, resilient, and socially responsible models of architecture and urban planning in socialist Yugoslavia and its successor states. Special attention is going to be paid to critical re-reading of modernization processes and contextualization of local architectural and urban planning concepts within the framework of international evolution of architectural discourse. While largely unexplored and lacking appropriate interpretation, many of the models created in the region were original and experimental and may be used as inspiration for a progressive current practice both inside and beyond the regional borders. The project also seeks to reconstruct an important segment of the shared history of Central and South-Eastern Europe and to strengthen cross-cultural respect and understanding through trans-national collaboration and mobility.


Unfinished Modernisations – Between Utopia and Pragmatism will analyse and compare the production of built environment in two opposed economic and political systems: those of socialist Yugoslavia and the market-based democracies that emerged out of its collapse. The region is especially conducive to such comparative analysis because its successor states share the same heritage of a common socialist project of modernisation, but are at the same time highly divergent in terms of their social and economic development. The project will identify and interpret how the spatial politics of the two systems conditioned architectural and urban solutions and their social, ecological, and cultural impact.  It will simultaneously pay attention to unique concepts and products and to general processes and phenomena. We seek to identify the sustainable models of urban development and the possibilities of encouraging progressive architectural practises.> 


[text source: Unfinished Modernisations. Photo by Wolfgang Thaler]

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