I was in Belgrade, Serbia, last week for Belgrade Design Week. It's a brilliant place and I'll try to do a longer blog post on some of the interesting buildings I saw within the next few days. Meanwhile here's one oddity which I found particularly provocative. (My thanks to Murphy for suggesting that it get a blog post to itself.)
While taking a directionless stroll through the back-streets around Knez Mihailova, a main shopping street, an interesting glass silo caught my eye.
I went in for a closer look (clik on any of these images for a larger version) and found a rare bit of Serbian post-modernism attached to it. Belgrade doesn't have a terrific amount of architecture from the 1990s, for the obvious reasons, and consequently not a lot of pomo. But here it is in all its glory, completely with tiny balcony, wilful asymmetry, classical detail and a zigzag like a page layout from The Face in the 1980s. It's also clearly taking cues from the Tito-era apartment block on the left. But this is nothing.
Wait a second ...
Now that's something. Generally speaking this kind of plastic-glass, styrofoam-masonry jokey pastiche makes me want to vomit my eyes out, but there's a lot going on here. Look at the way the roofline of the glass atrium pick up on the pediment of the window above the cornice. Just below the cornice, look at the leftmost of the smaller windows. See the way the square of the window-panes in that window merges with the larger panes of glass in the atrium structure. Boss. It's a horrible building, but at the same time there's a lot of enjoyment to be had from its layers. I certainly stopped and stared for quite some time.