The project of reconstructing the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade was shortlisted for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture “Mies van der Rohe”.
The exposition emphasises that an almost invisible intervention on MoCA reveals a rare, but necessary approach to reconstruction, renewal and preservation of architectural heritage.
The MIES Prize is awarded to a project realised in the previous two years, and it represents an example of the best European architecture. Reconstruction of MoCA, signed by the architect Dejan Todorović, is the first project from Serbia nominated for the MIES Prize, the shortlist of which is comprised of 40 projects from 17 countries.
The exposition of the MoCA nomination, emphasises that this is an edifice constructed by the design of the architects Ivanka Raspopović and Ivan Antić, who won the October Prize for the project. Located on the confluence of rivers Sava and Danube, the building of MoCA was opened in 1965. The initial concept was to turn the entire park into a museum block, but this idea was never realised, hence MoCA remained a solitary example of Yugoslav Modernism in this space. The building was declared a monument of culture in 1987, however, it was closed in 2007 due to the begun reconstruction that was required, however postponed due to the lack of funds. Works on the reconstruction were continued in 2016, and MoCA was finally reopened in October 2017.
What was especially emphasised was the interior of MoCA, described as being fluid, bathed in daylight and lacking walls, which enables the visitors to retain the feeling of integrity of the exhibition while passing through five levels of the building.
“The beauty of the original architecture remains intact. New technologies have been introduced so as few as three employees can take care of the entire system”, it is stated, among other things, in the description of the project of reconstruction of MoCA.
The biggest number of shortlisted projects comes from France (seven), Spain (six), Belgium (four), Austria and Denmark (three each). There are two projects for each Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Romania, and apart from Serbia, for the first time the competition for this prize was entered into by projects from Albania (Skenderbeg Square in Tirana) and Slovakia. One shortlisted project comes respectively from Estonia, Finland, Poland and Portugal.
A seven-member jury (Dorte Mandrup, George Arbid, Angelika Fitz, Ștefan Ghenciulescu, Kamiel Klaasse, María Langarita and Frank McDonald) shortlisted 40 projects, out of which the majority in the field of culture (15 – museums, cultural centres, music theatre and a congress centre), followed by the field of education (six – schools, university buildings, libraries), while five belong to the category of group residential housing.
383 projects from 238 cities and 38 countries were nominated for the MIES Prize.
Five finalists will be declared on 13th February, and the awarding ceremony of the Prize will be held on 7th May in the Pavilion of the Foundation “Mies van der Roe” in Barcelona.