The Journey of Kosovo Modernism: A Process of Metamorphosis
Flaka Xërxa Beqiri,
Affiliation: University of Prishtina, Kosovo
Keywords: architecture, modernism, Kosovo, socialist modernism, modernist heritage
Categories: Visual Arts, Architecture and Design
Kosovo Modernism counts a significant number of good architecture examples, easily compered with the construction activity of the socialist modernism in the region. Yet, compered to the architecture of the same period of other countries of Yugoslavia, it remains a ‘grey area’. It is less analysed and documented compared with the Byzantine and Islamic Architecture, whose conquest counts a significant influence on building urban and architectonic identity of the country. Modernism in Kosovo came in the name of prosperity and progress. But this meant that a number of traditional buildings and old city cores were erased following the maxim ‘destroy the old, place the new’, to make place for new modernist structures. Major cities of Kosovo witnessed major transformations. Also, these transformations were not led by the local authorities, but were mostly imposed from outside. Consequently, for many reasons, modernist architecture has enjoyed a negative reputation in Kosovo as being foreign and imposed. As a result of this negative reputation,as well as other significant factors – such as political and social changes after ‘99s war in Kosovo, mostly connected with the process of privatization – the second urban and architectural destruction in Kosovo started in the beginning of the 21st century. This time not the destruction of the traditional structures, but of the modernist heritage. With the evaluation of certain examples of material production of Kosovo modernism, using the comprehension methodology of the initial and the current state, this paper intends to bringlight to the journey of the modernist architecture of Kosovo, its construction and deconstruction phases and the reasons after the neglected appreciation of its values. It aims to show the hidden values of Kosovo modernist architecture and the urge for its valuation, documentation and preservation.