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Belgrade's New Lives

Part 2 Project 2001
Sinisa Rodic
Esther Waterfield
Architectural Association, UK
The project is arranged around the aim of providing an architectural response to the economic and social crisis that follows a war. It is situated in Belgrade, capital of Yugoslavia, which has experienced a rapid influx of refugees following the actions of NATO in 1999.
The project looks into the urban infrastructure of Belgrade to facilitate the construction of refugee housing blocks. No government investment is expected to be directed towards rehousing the refugees, who are currently squatting the wastelands under motorways and around the semi-productive industrial plants in the city.
The project was therefore to find an alternative building infrastructure to build with and alternative building materials to build from. By following the redirection of the economy towards recycling, the project identifies a number of materials consumed by society that, due to its particular structures, are useless after use (BUILDING MATERIALS FREE OF CHARGE). By looking at the native industrial complexes that are having to cope with the onslaught of western globalisation, a semi-productive industrial plant was identified (BUILDING TOOLS FREE OF CHARGE).
The design solution for the refugee housing was then challenged against the city’s new masterplan which has proved to make no compromise with Belgrade’s new citizens.

Sinisa Rodic
Esther Waterfield

This is a highly intelligent scheme for the impossible task of rehousing those that have been displaced by the recent civil war in Yugoslavia.
The rigorous exploration of the technique of re-using scrap materials in an eradicated economy results in a proposal that provides a completely fresh solution to the problem.
The beauty of the proposal rests in the author's control of reinventing uses for the products and processes of Belgrade's industrial infrastructure. It is a project that works within the provocations of the brief and produces a result.
The architecture as a result solves the practical problems of shelter at minimum cost and spatially reinforces a past tradition of community by reinventing the housing block as a self-help tool for the recent urban squatters to build their future in their own way.
A leap in the right direction!

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