Toward A Concrete Utopia: The Monumental Beauty Of Yugoslavia Brutalist Architecture


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Laundry hangs out to dry outside of Block 23 in an apartment neighbourhood in New Belgrade, Serbia. Brutalism, an architectural style popular in the 1950s and 1960s, based on crude, block-like forms cast from concrete was popular throughout the eastern bloc.

After World War Two socialist Yugoslavia led by Josip Broz Tito set out to reconstruct a land destroyed by fighting. Residential blocks, hotels, civic centres and monuments all made of concrete shot up across the country. The architecture was supposed to show the power of a state between two worlds – Western democracy and the communist East, looking to forge its own path and create a socialist utopia.


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Garage doors are seen outside Block 23 in an apartment neighbourhood in New Belgrade, Serbia.


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A security worker walks inside Hall 1 of the Belgrade Fair in Belgrade, Serbia.


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A staircase stands within The Great Hall inside The Palata Srbija building in Belgrade, Serbia. The Palata Srbija building hosted former world leaders. Each of the former Yugoslav republics had its own salon with a central room called the hall of Yugoslavia. “It is a shame to keep such a master piece away from the eyes of the public”, said Sandra Tesla, curator of the building.


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Windows face out of the building, known as the “TV building”, on Block 28 neighbourhood in New Belgrade, Serbia.


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Clinical Hospital Dubrava stands in Zagreb, Croatia.


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Karaburma Housing Tower, also known as the “Toblerone” building, stands in the Karaburma district in Belgrade, Serbia.


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The Monument to the Uprising of the People of Kordun and Banija stands in Petrova Gora, Croatia. Examples of Yugoslav brutalism include the huge memorials commemorating the struggle against fascism, often placed in dramatic rural settings. Many of those pieces of art remain in disrepair, such as The Monument to the Uprising of the People of Kordun and Banija.


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The Eastern City Gate apartment buildings complex stands in the Konjarnik neighbourhood in Belgrade, Serbia.


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A staircase is seen inside the Block 11, apartment neighbourhood in Belgrade, Serbia.


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Genex Tower, also known as The Western City gate, stands in Belgrade, Serbia. The building consists of two soaring pillars, connected by an aerial bridge. The tower is one of the most significant examples of brutalism, an architectural style popular in the 1950s and 1960s, based on crude, block-like forms cast from concrete. “Genex tower is among the most interesting sight. People see it on their way from the airport and it immediately draws their attention”, said Vojin Muncin, manager of the Yugotour sightseeing agency which guides tourists around the Serbian capital.


Marko Djurica/Reuters

A chandelier hangs from the top of the Croatia saloon inside The Palata Srbija building in Belgrade, Serbia. The Palata Srbija building hosted former world leaders. Each of the former Yugoslav republics had its own salon with a central room called the hall of Yugoslavia. “It is a shame to keep such a master piece away from the eyes of the public”, said Sandra Tesla, curator of the building.


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A formally used Yugoslav passenger aircraft sits in front of the Aeronautical Museum in Belgrade, Serbia.

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