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TAW Report

Date: 9-13 October 2012

Location: Tirana, Albania


This year, for the first time, Tirana hosted a complete architecture week, dedicated to promotion of architecture as a social-spatial discipline in an emerging community as Albania today is. The Week itself lasted for more than a month including various workshops, exhibitions, panels and a scientific conference.



The Scientific Conference was an integral part of Tirana Architecture Week and it lasted 5 days with an impressive list of significant key-note speakers gathered at Polis University. Among the speakers were: Winy Maas, Kengo Kuma, Massimiliano Fuksas, Srdjan Jovanović Weiss, Penezić & Rogina, Bošjan Vuga.



It was a great honor for my colleague Milica Pajkić and me to be a part of that company, and to present our paper titled ”Abandoned architecture: Ghost spaces in Belgrade” in front of them.  The paper and presentation got very positive reactions which were a significant motivation for further research on this topic.



Below is the abstract of our work, that was also published in a official Conference publication (ISBN:978-9928-4053-9-5):


This research will deal with transformations of devalued and devastated spaces within the city, and possible methods of their integration in newly formed urban fabric of Belgrade. These corrupted areas of Belgrade are useful for research because of multiple changes of concepts during their development and construction. Primarily, following Le Corbusier’s directives of an ideal city and his leftist beliefs suited to political circumstances in Social Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and indirectly implied creation of city’s modern paradigm, destined to be challenged.

Numerous political, economic, social, ethnic and cultural changes in territories of former Yugoslavia directly influenced primordial discrepancy between planned, built and unfinished spaces. This is the point where we can notice a direct relationship of these layers with the formation of ghost spaces. This term can also be related to the concept of non-places that was defined by Marc Augé as a space without people, memories and identity, and that turned out to be precisely the fate that characterizes selected projects in Belgrade.

The paper questions theoretical assumptions and theses within the theory of postmodernism, through analysis of reference literature in this field and by mapping concepts of ghost spaces and non-places. These two concepts are recognized as the points where one can determine the transformational development of selected spaces and objects in Belgrade under the influences of emerging environmental conditions. The central part of the paper will address and analyze case studies of identified, neglected places of industry, transport, commercial and exhibition facilities. These non-places have become the black points of the city, because of their lack of content and applications they don’t achieve urban roles for which they were destined. Thanks to the positive regeneration example of the waterfront facility in Belgrade, paper stands the thesis that by appropriate space interventions these ghost spaces could be transformed, activated and re-programmed due to new time and it’s urban needs.

The study should help mapping the notion of ghost spaces and non-places, their conflicting links to the urban fabric, and to identify, classify, analyze, explain, and finally, position these concepts in different aspects of the contemporary architectural theories. The ultimate goal is to mark these places and objects, to state their potentials for re-programing, and finally, to indicate methods for their revival.

Key words: ghost spaces, non-places, architecture theory, urban merging, transformation, re-programing