Jana Konstantinova, doctoral assistant, EPFL ENAC IA LAPIS
This dissertation aims to demonstrate the development, meaning and significance of cultural infrastructure in the cities of Skopje, Belgrade and Sarajevo (1945-1991). In the historic context, culture became the fundamental critical tool with which to yield a vivid cultural scene, and it coincides with the emergence of remarkable cultural artefacts – including ‘the right architecture’. The thesis recognizes a common (Yugoslav) Creative Model behind this ‘movement’, which stimulated and anticipated the emergence of the elements that eventually form the cultural artefacts. For the purpose of studying the strengths and weaknesses of the model, the exercise investigates the extensive body of cultural creations which emerged through the model. As such, the thesis highlights the flow of creativity, and the particular understanding of creativity as a ‘life quality’ in support of the theoretical concept of balance which emerged in the local context – striving for equilibrium between the man-made, the human (civic) and the natural environment.
The aims of the research are threefold. Firstly, to understand the objectives on which the model is created; secondly, to reposition the object – cultural artefact – as a departure point of analysis of the model; and thirdly, to analyze the evolution of the cultural infrastructure in the environments to trace the transformations of the model. To that end an analysis of the entire cultural creation of the epoch has been carried out in relation with the specific interest of the thesis. The exercises are conducted by drawing from the primary data sets (the press: both architectural and cultural magazines) and the secondary sets of data (original documents and testimonials with the protagonists: wider cultural milieu).
Bridging the epistemological gap in the academic discourse, exemplifying the selected cities not as isolated case studies but in comparative synthesis, the thesis positions these rich cultural, spatial and social qualities (collected in the form of a critical archive) and their common Creative Model as the possibility to depart from the neo-liberal paradigm still affecting regions globally and to re-imagine our own current models for human settlements in ways more open to people, nature and culture.