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Designers & Creators Directory

Svetlana Kana Radević

(SVET-lana KA-na RAD-eh-vich)

Birthplace: Cetinje, Montenegro

Heritage: Montenegrin

Date born: November 21st, 1937

Date of death: November 8th, 2000

Education: University of Belgrade - Faculty of Architecture


Svetlana Kana Radević was born in the present-day town of Cetinje, Montenegro in 1937, which was during that time part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. She attended high school in the nearby city of Podgorica and graduated around 1955, after which point she travelled to Belgrade to attend the univesity there. She then proceeded to enroll in the university's Faculty of Architecture, a field which few women were studying in Yugoslavia during the period of the 1950s. She was so ambitious while at university, she also did a dual enrollment at the Faculty of Philosphy so she could also study Art History. By 1960 she had graduated from Belgrade.


After gradutating, Radević returned to Montenegro, and it was during this time in the early 1960s that she began to establish herself as a professional architect, which, in doing so, cemeted her position as the first female architect of Montenegro. Her first significant commission came in 1964, when she won a design competition for the creation of the Hotel Podgorica in SR of Montenegro's capital Titograd (renamed after WWII, but changed back to Podgorica after the end of the Yugoslav-era). Completed in 1967, her architectural solution for this hotel was a elegant series of modernist-styled horizontal terraces perched upon a cliff overlooking the Morača River, with the hotel's exterior walls adorned with river stones directly from the river itself. Integrating these local materials into a modernist structure succeeded in effectively bringing together new innovative styles of architecture with the region's traditional design vernacular. After it was completed, her design for the hotel was awarded the federal Yugoslav Borba award for excellece in architecture (for which, at the age of 30, she became the youngest architect to ever receive the award).

Radević's success in creating the Hotel Podgorica in Titograd immediately led to a demand for her talents across Montenegro. The year after the opening of this first hotel, she designed the new central bus station for the city of Titograd (which itself seems highly inspired by Le Corbusier's 1962 Parliament in Chandigarh). After her initial success through the 1960s, she then proceeded to travel to the US in 1972 to study as a Fullbright Scholar under the famous architect Louis Kahn at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn). Kahn at that point was considered one of the greatest living architects in the world, and studying under him Radević earned his master's degree at UPenn. Upon returning to Montenegro, she began even more ambitious projects, such as Hotel Mojkovac in Mojkovac, Montenegro, completed in 1975. It was also then in 1975 that she began what would be the most ambitious project of her career, which was the Hotel Zlatibor in Užice, Serbia. Opened in 1981, this 60m tall and 16 story concrete high-rise hotel dominated the town of Užice, with some likening to a rocket-ship, with its high-modernist angularity and towering larger-than-life design.

In addition to designing and creating hotels and buildings, Radević also dived into the task of creating memorial structures and sculptures as well. Her most famous memorial work was the Monument to the Fallen Soldiers of Lješanska nahija in Barutana, just outside of Titograd. Again, Radević's use of local materials paired with modern materials and contemporary designs created a unique synthesis of old and new which imbued this monument at Barutana with a unique and contemplative atmosphere that one can sense even today when visiting the site.

Through her long career which spanned over four decades, Radević won countless awards and recognitions for her pioneering work in the field of architecture in Yugoslavia, developing a unique and personal style that continues to make a mark upon contemporary Montenegrin architects of the 21st century. Her work remains internationally relevant and was even featured at the 2018 Yugoslav architecture exhibit at the MoMA in New York City.

Works by this Designer:

This is a listing of a number of memorials, monuments, cultural centers and other notable Yugoslav-era civic works by Svetlana Kana Radević. Those sites listed in the upper part of this section have profile pages, while those listed in the lower part do not yet have completed profile pages. This list is not exhaustive and will be added to over time.

Works with profile pages:

Click photos to go to page

Barutana, ME

Barutana new1 ()-1.jpg

Name: Mon. to the Lješanska Nahija Fighters

Year: completed 1980

Podgorica, ME

Hotel Podgorica6.jpg

Name: Hotel Podgorica

Year: completed 1967

Podgorica, ME

Bus terminal.JPG

Name: Central Bus Station

Year: completed 1968

Podgorica, ME

Rail Monument1.jpg

Name: Mon. to Monopola Tobacco Partisans

Year: completed 1972, relocated 2018

Užice, SRB


Name: Hotel Zlatibor

Year: completed 1981

Works without profile pages:

Mojkovac, ME


Name: Hotel Mojkovac (Hotel Palace)

Year: completed 1974

Location: N42°57'27.5", E19°34'42.8"

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