The town that I grew up in was one of the biggest projects in urban planning in ‘60s. It was destroyed in the earthquake in 1963 when the entire world decided to help. The UN decisively took the lead of the project. International competition was on. The United Nations set up a special fund and organized a competition for the new Master Plan of Skopje, with Kenzo Tange, one of the most prominent architects of the 20th century, as the winner. Yugoslavian architects Radovan Mischevik and Fedor Wenzler won the second prize, and it was proposed that the two winning firms collaborate in order to work out a final plan. A design-team was made up of the architects and engineers from Japan and Yugoslavia.
The idea for new Skopje was to keep old parts of the town (Carsija and Kale-fortress) visible and to be included in the city centre, to keep the river Vardar as a natural divider between two parts of the city – the one with skyscrapers, containing administration buildings, offices, educational centers etc, and the other – with one to two storey dwellings. Plan was based on the concept of “City Wall”, a very modern approach of free-designed ground floors with only pillars, so that the circulation of the fresh air could be constant and stable, and the “City Gate” – city entrances, where all transportation would be placed – new train station and a getaway for a highway.
The city became an international architectural exhibition, with multiple structures donated by various countries from both sides of the Iron Curtain. Yugoslav and foreign architects designed buildings in futuristic modern brut-art style. This huge project united professionals from the whole country on the long run.
The result was town dominantly designed in Futuristic Architecture. Some find it strange, cold, unfriendly and from”out of space”. But to me it is warm place full of craziest memories. My high school building was designed in this style, and university. Maybe that is why I wanted to study astrophysics and probably that is why I love cyberpunk so much to this day.
– Dejan Kordoski