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Milk: A Catalyst for Reactivating Mostar's Abandoned Core

Part 2 Project 2013
Sophie Mitchell
University of Cambridge, UK
The city centre of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), became part of the front line in the Bosnian war (1992-1995), dividing the city along ethno-national lines. Despite almost two decades elapsing since the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA), Mostar remains segregated socially, politically and economically. This project investigates the role of the urban environment in relation to Mostar’s continued segregation and economic fragility and explores the potential for a series of subtle interventions to reactivate the contested and abandoned ground of the former city centre.

The project understands the role of architecture and its impact on daily life to be essential to an exploration of the paradox presented by the abandoned, and yet fiercely political city centre. The project describes a growing metabolism stemming from the introduction of a milk market to the centre of the city. This market acts as a catalyst for shared activity, and acts as one end of a necklace of new structures that create a lateral link across the derelict territory of the ‘Neutral Zone’ imposed by the international community. The project hinges on the development of a simple timber prop, introduced to shore up and secure existing structures. This prop is assembled in a variety of ways to support an increasingly independent set of structures, allowing the project to span the spectrum of re-use and new-build form. Each new structure becomes incrementally more building-like, at each stage, lending a growing significance to the site. Each phase of the project evolves in complexity, interiority, and formality while producing an increasingly complex set of exterior public spaces. These interventions aim to strengthen connections between East and West Mostar by activating the stigmatised space at the centre of the city to create a shared centre for trade that supports daily routines that in turn may encourage dialogue between Mostar’s divided communities. The intervention is minimal but offers a means of incremental development appropriate to the condition.

Sophie Mitchell


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