Contemporary Interventions in a Transforming City: Skopje

“The fascination exerted by post-communist places never seems to wear off. In the perspective of recently published photographic works such as Frédéric Chaubin’s Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed, Roman Bezjak’s Socialist Modernism and Jan Kempenaers‘s Spomeniks, or the latest collaborative book of Armin Linke and Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss Socialist Architecture: The Vanishing Act, the photographic work of Lorenz Bürgi on Skopje could, at first glance, illustrate further and not more than- the romantic attraction of decaying post-communist concrete architecture. But Skopje, capital of the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, bears a different past than other cities behind the Iron Gate and a particular relation to architectural and urban utopias. ” I know I’ve seen the Master Plan, MAS Context, Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, 15 / Visibility Fall 2012.

An international teaching team conducted the workshop ‘Contemporary Interventions in a Transforming City‘ with the students of the University of Sevilla and the SS Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Macedonia, addressing urban conflicts in the old city of Skopje. The outputs, installations in situ in the Ottoman urban fabric, pointed at several possible points of reflection: The ‘Urban Compass’ is a simple wood structure that functions as a viewing device, framing perspectives of the city- questioning post-communist heritage, religious symbols and the way architecture is perceived. The ‘Tribune’ is straight-forward urban furniture, filling up a gap between houses by providing much-needed shade and sitting -a result achieved with the participation of the local population. The ‘Line’ is an inspired abstract intervention, materializing drawing lines of conflict and convergence in the space of a derelict park.

2011, in collaboration with Baum Arquitectura

This workshop was continued with further research and works on Skopje: a seminar week with the students of the Architecture Department at ETHZ, and published research with MAS Context and San Rocco, in collaboration with Lorenz Bürgi.


The Urban Compass, The Tribune, The Line


Goce Delcev Dormitory, Lorenz Bürgi