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  • 4mind Architecture


International Urban Architectural Competition for Memorial Complex and Museum of WWI, mountain Cer, Serbia

Competition Entry, 1st Prize.

4mindArchitecture Team: Ilja Mikitišin, Igor Mikitišin, Miljan Salata, Rajko Anđelić

Year: 2018-2019

Serbian heroes in the First World War deserve an authentic memorial complex through the evocative scenography of the spatial cultural symbol of victory.

The memorial complex is located on the Cer mountain in the northwestern part of Serbia, on the right valley side of the Drina river, between the towns of Šabac and Loznica, where in August 1914 the first battle of the so-called Great War (First World War) took place. Considering its position and historical thematic significance, urbanism is on the conceptual level modeled on the strategic position of the Serbian armies deployed ahead of the Battle of Cer. From the set up of three armies, primacy was taken by the 2nd Serbian Army led by General Stepa Stepanović, who occupied the central position. The withdrawn symbolic parallel represent the significance and intensification of the horizontal line that makes the cut in the ground that flows into the "cross" as a central motif. While on the other side, objects thematically scattered along the rest of the site are divisions and regiments that make the effect of unification and some kind of hinterland to the main penetration of the ramp of the museum, as the metaphor for the breakthrough of the front line of Cer battle.

The architectural concept is formed in relation to several different aspects.

- Ecological aspect - Starting from the fact that the site is located in the middle of dense Cer and Grab forest, the idea was to keep the forest as much as possible and that the intervention does not significantly impact the encroached natural environment. With this in mind, the structure of the forest participated in the creation of the concept as a key spatial ambience element.

- The symbolic historical aspect - is closely related to the historical event of the Battle of Cer in 1914, its defining significance, the great sacrifice and the victory of Serbia. Therefore, the proposed solution of the museum and the monumental symbol in the form of a stylized cross was placed longitudinally at the location towards the East - West direction as an allegory of the conflict of Christianity, with the intention to always be observable from these directions and at the same time fascinates and reminds everyone who sees it.

- Functional aspect - follows the contest program divided into four functional units:

• A viewpoint in the form of a vertical monument

• Museum and Documentation Center placed underground

• Educational Center divided as 3 pavilions on site

• Pavilions with accommodation units

- Aspect of spatial sequences

• Climbing the Cer mountain and seeing the monument from afar

• Direct visual contact with the site monument

• The inner experience of the cross as a central motive of struggle and aspiration to victory

• Victory. View from the viewpoint on Serbia.

The materialization of the monument of the memorial complex is defined in relation of full and empty as the metaphor of eternal connection between the present and the past, where the emptiness symbolizes the sacrifices of all those who have given their lives in the pursuit of victory and liberty while the full lots symbolizes our presence and memory on which rests and resists that image the past.

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