Critical Decoding – Balkan Architecture Biennale 2019


The theme of this year’s BAB is the Decoding of the Balkans, conceptualized by dr Tatjana Mrdjenovic, was presented at the event “BAB – Past Experiences” which was held as an overture and announcement of the event. This year’s Balkan Architecture Biennale is organizationally and institutionally supported by the Sasha Marceta Foundation. It will be held in November in the magnificent building of the Balkan Cinema, which is undergoing a phase of complete reconstruction under the project of Dr. Diana Adzemovic Andjelkovic, Dr. Vladimir Andjelkovic and Aleksandar Bogojevic. As an overture and announcement of the events, on Saturday, July 20, lectures of the award-winning authors and discussions entitled “BAB – Past Experiences” were held at the Balkan Cinema. In front of the Sasha Marcet Foundation, Ksenija Dunjic, Assistant Director, addressed the audience, pointing out that it was a young non-profit organization founded with the aim of contributing to the development and popularization of culture, science and art. With the new concept of Balkan Cinema, the foundation will represent a supportive and dynamic link between artists, educators, urban planners, media, companies and the general public, with the aim of promoting cultural and artistic events.

Art historian Marko Stojanovic, director of BAB, summarized in his presentation the experiences of previous architectural exhibitions, referring to the rich program of BAB in 2019. Through a reflection of reflexive practice, Marko pointed to the progress and gradual progression of the Biennial from his earliest days to this year’s event supported by the most renowned professional authorities and cultural institutions in the country and region. Architect Sonja Radovic Jelovac, President of the BAB 2019 Jury, gave an inspirational lecture on the latest projects of the multi-award-winning Montenegrin Synthesis Studio. Through a typology of multi-family housing, elite family villas and mountain resorts, Sonja decodes patterns of progressive efforts to develop Montenegrin contemporary architecture based on critical observation of local and international influences, traditional materials and contemporary construction techniques.

Architects Dr. Dijana Adzemovic Andjelkovic and Dr. Vladimir Andjelkovic, members of the BAB 2019 jury, through the project of reconstruction of the Balkan Cinema and through the project of a family home in Novi Sad, presented the ultimate reach of critical reflection on the relationship between history and modernity, changeable and inherited, provincial and progressive. Through the project of reconstruction of the Cinema Balkans, Diana and Vladimir presented different emergent possibilities of spatial multifunctionality. Through the project of a family home in Novi Sad, architects have shown that the character and identity of a space lie, above all, in material and detail, which is often neglected in domestic architectural practice.

The Balkans Decoding – Critical Regionalism

The theme of this year’s BAB is Decoding the Balkans, a concept devised by Dr Tatjana Mrdjenovic, BAB Commissioner, that is, decomposing and disassembling patterns of interpretation of the concept of critical regionalism as established by Kenneth Frempton and taken over and elaborated by Ranko Radovic. Critical regionalism is a creative approach that seeks to counter the lack of meaning and meaning of routine architectural practice, on the one hand, and the forces of global capital and generic internationalism, on the other. In this sense, regionalism is not interpreted as a re-actualization of symbols of national identities and various historicisms, but as a reaction of the contemporary creative spirit to the inherited state of material things, and in the form of diversification of patterns of solving common problems in everyday architectural practice.

Montenegro – Host country

BAB 2019 brings one significant novelty. Starting this year, the Balkan Architecture Biennale will have its own host country. Under the leadership of Ambassador Dr. Sonja Radovic Jelovac, architects, designers and researchers from Montenegro this year will have a special place and importance in Belgrade at the review of the most creative ideas and realizations.

Fighting the lack of sense

Like every year, registration and participation in the Balkan Architecture Biennale are possible in three categories: urbanism and architecture, furniture and design, and a scientific-research conference. Applications and questions can be submitted via e-mail:, and If you consider your practice to resist the lack of meaning and meaning, then we expect to see your project at the Balkan Cinema.