Demolition Threat: German Embassy
by Bogdan Ignjatovic, Belgrade, Serbia, 1974-76
The German Embassy building in Belgrade (74-76, Kneza Milosa street), designed by the Serbian architect Bogdan Ignjatovic, is at risck of replacement for a new building — international architectural design competition (Deutsche Botschaft Belgrad/Serbien-Neubau des Kanzleigebäudes) helded in 2009.
Mr. Ignjatovic had important and authentic role in developing Belgrade after the Second World War as a part of architectural modernist movement. However, only recently, his name appeared in the public as a name of the designer of several iconic buildings in Belgrade: Hotel Slavija, Belgrade Drama Theatre, one of the representative buildings of the Serbian Government in Nemanjina Street (now seat of several ministries), Gallery of Frescoes, Monument to the national heroes in WWII, Kalemegdan, Komgrap building, Terazije, residential buildings in New Belgrade and the building of the German Embassy, best known for its main street facade.
After graduating from the Technical Faculty in Belgrade in 1939 Bogdan Ignjatovic started his professional career. At the begging of WWII he was arrested, and sent to the officer military camp in Germany as a prisoner of war. There, during his imprisonment, he took part in the prison Theater Company designing scenography, but also, as an architect, he designed the chapel in Osnabrück.
He returned to Belgrade after the War and took part in the city reconstruction, working in the Technical bureau of Belgrade (1945-68) and Komgrap (1968-74), designing majority of buildings that now represent important reference points in the history of Belgrade and regional modern architecture. Mr. Bogdan Ignjatovic was one of the founders of Belgrade City Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, professor at Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade and prizewinner of many important architectural awards in Yugoslavia.
In 1970 Mr. Bogdan Ignjatovic was invited to design the building of German embassy in Belgrade. The building by itself, with its unique, concrete grid facade, is an excellent representative of the epoch, and in addition to that, it exists also as an unique landmark of Belgrade, and an important icon for the both countries and for the common cultural and political history that Germany and Serbia share.
[by Docomomo Serbia]