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15 Inspiring Yugoslav Memorial Concepts that were Never Realized

Updated: Jan 2, 2021

One often forgets that for every fantastic and awe-inspiring monument and memorial complex that was built during the era of the former Yugoslavia that there were a whole multitude of alternative possibilities of how each of those monuments could have appeared. As a result of the "design competition" model employed for the vast majority of memorial projects in Yugoslavia (which sometimes accepted dozens of concept art submissions for any given design contest), a mass trove of unrealized artistic and architectural ideas were created and proposed. However, this large repository of unrealized work (each artistically meaningful in their own right) rarely, if ever, receive attention or appreciation in contemporary times. This article will highlight a few imprssive examples which no doubt will set ones imagination alight wondering what these works could have looked like if they had ever been fully realized.


1.) The Boro & Ramiz Memorial Center, Priština, Kosovo*

Concept art by Lulić & Nosso for the Boro & Ramiz Memorial Center for Priština, Kosovo*. Image credit: 'Arhitektura' journal, #106, 1972

Name: The Boro & Ramiz Memorial Center

Location: Priština, Kosovo*

Author(s): Ljerka Lulić & Jasna Nosso

Year proposed: 1970

Description: In this image we see a concept drawing of the proposal made by the architect team of Ljerka Lulić & Jasna Nosso in 1970 for the Boro and Ramiz Memorial Center which was to be built in the city center of the city of Priština. This stunning idea put forward by Lulić & Nosso is most certainly among the most daring and forward-thinking architectural ideas of the Yugoslavia, as far as pushing the envelope of design and materials. However, the commission for this design ultimately went to Živorad Janković and Halid Muhasilović, which was completed in 1977. Interestingly, the final product geared away from being a traditional 'memorial center' and evolved into a 'memorial sports center' complex. More info HERE.


2.) Monument to the Revolutionary Victory of the People of Slavonia, Kamenska, Croatia

A concept model by Živković for the monument at Kamenska, Croatia. Photo credit: Archive of Miodrag Živković

Name: Monument to the Revolutionary Victory of the People of Slavonia [profile page]

Location: Kamenska, Croatia

Author(s): Miodrag Živković

Year proposed: 1962

Description: In this image we see a concept model for the proposal submitted by Belgrade sculptor Miodrag Živković in 1962 that was to be considered for the creation of the Monument to the Revolutionary Victory of the People of Slavonia, to be built in the rural village of Kamenska, Croatia. While the commission for this project ultimately was awarded to sculptor Vojin Bakić from Zagreb (which was completed in 1968), Živković ultimately borrowed elements and ideas from this unrealized proposal and employed them for a monument submission he subsequently won and completed the following year for the Monument to Executed Children at Kragujevac, Serbia [profile page].


3.) Sremski Front monument, Adaševci, Serbia

A concept model by Džamonja of the Sremski Front monument in Adaševci, Serbia. Photo credit: Dušan Džamonja archive

Name: Sremski Front Memorial Complex

Location: Adaševci, Serbia

Author(s): Dušan Džamonja

Year proposed: 1974

Description: In this image we see an expansive concept model by forward by sculptor Dušan Džamonja in 1974 for the huge Sremski Front Memorial Complex, which was to be built on the famous Sremski Front WWII battle site near the town of Adaševci, Serbia. This submission by Džamonja actually won the design competition held to choose the monument's design and this design concept was subsequently heavily promoted, being printed in books and even included on certain maps. Džamonja's concept was enormous in scope and was characterized by its sharp geometric form that seemed to burst from the earth. However, for reasons not quite clear, the commission was taken away from Džamonja and eventually awarded instead to Vojvodina sculptor Jovan Soldatović. Not only was Džamonja distressed about this unusual decision, he was even further concerned when he observed that parts of Soldatović's design were borrowed from his design. The case was a heated and contentious on multiple fronts that went on for many years. Soldatović's completed Sremski Front Memorial Complex was finally unveiled in 1988. Info about the complex can be found on THIS profile page for the Srem region.


4.) Monument to the Revolution, Petrova Gora, Croatia

A concept model for the Monument to the Revolution at Petrova Gora, Croatia by Igor Toš. Photo credit: vintage postcard

Name: Monument to the Revolution [profile page]

Location: Petrova Gora, Croatia

Author(s): Igor Toš

Year proposed: 1970

Description: Here we see a vintage postcard depicting a concept model created by young Zagreb architect Igor Toš in 1970 for the proposed Monument to the Revolution which was to be built on the summit of the mountains of Petrova Gora, Croatia. It was this proposal that won the first design competition held in 1970, with proposal by Zagreb sculptor Vojin Bakić coming in 2nd place. The concept by Toš winning the competition explains why promotional materials such as the above postcard were produced. The design by Toš consisted of a corrugated-like spiral staircase of modern architectural styling that would ascend to a lofty viewing point overlooking the whole region. However, the committee heading the creation of the monument subsequently realized that the design by Toš, as well as by Bakić, were too costly to create. As a result, a second design competition was announced for 1974. Defiantly, Toš refused to participate, but Bakić put together a completely new design concept and submitted it, which eventually won this second competition. Tensions rose when accusations that Bakić had lifted elements of Toš's winning design from the first design for his second proposal. Bakić's winning design was eventually built and unveiled in 1981. However, it suffered great devastation in the 1990s during the Yugoslav Wars. More info is at the profile page for the monument at THIS link.


5.) Monument to the Revolution, Kozara, BiH

A concept model by Drago Tršar for the Monument to the Revolution in Kozara, BiH. Photo credit: 'Život umjetnosti' journal, #15/16, 1971

Name: Monument to the Revolution [profile page]

Location: Kozara, BiH

Author(s): Drago Tršar

Year proposed: 1970

Description: In this image we see a concept model created by Slovene sculptor Drago Tršar which was submitted to the design competition for the Monument to the Revolution which was to be built in the Kozara region of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Tršar's ambitious proposal is characterized by a large deeply-grooved central diamond form which would stand over the landscape in an regal and inspiring way. However, despite the virtues of this entry, it was a proposal made by Zagreb sculptor Dušan Džamonja that eventually won the competition. Completed in 1972, more information about the Kozara monument can be found at its profile page at THIS link.


6.) Monument to President Josip Broz Tito, Zadar, Croatia

Concept art by Dušan Džamonja for the Monument to President Josip Broz Tito in Zadar, Croatia. Photo credit: Dušan Džamonja archive

Name: Monument to President Josip Broz Tito

Location: Zadar, Croatia

Author(s): Miodrag Živković [profile page]

Year proposed: 1982

Description: After the death of President