Aleks Marjanovic

Interdisciplinary Architect

Branding the dystopian City

An architectural exercise in critical thinking

Meet New Belgrade, an urban tower farm

New Belgrade is an expansive urban extension of the Serbian capital, built in the post war frenzy of an ideal future. It was the biggest construction site of Yugoslavia, and a huge source of pride for the ruling communist authorities of the time. The new municipality was planned on the basis of Le Corbusier’s Radial City, and features tall high-rises surrounded by large green spaces connected by rich highways. This part of the city still carries the heavy burden of it’s modernist heritage, one that proved to be too utopian to be desirable. What do we do with such a nostalgic heavy urbanism that denies demolishment? We push it’s rules to new heights, and then we add a new layer of contemporary utopia to the mix. Make the towers taller, lift the streets into the sky and let the ground return to it’s primal function as vast, flourishing farmland.

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New urban schemes —> New modes of living

With horizontal urban sprawl comes the ‘social zoning’. So too with vertical sprawl. In anticipation of this, the architecture of the living quarters is arranged to accommodate different lifestyles at different heights. Nearest to the ground floor are students and young professionals, midway are medium to large families with respectable income, and only those who can afford the price of ultimate privacy can stay at the very top. This too is a critique on the socio-economic divisions that the neo-capitalist architecture built today in New Belgrade creates. When a city is branded, living in it becomes a commodity.

Brand it Green

If you can’t beat it, brand it. With the rise of urban farming, livable local communities and markets, what better way to recycle the vast grassland than to make them bear the fruits of inhabitants labours? The tower, the street, the street market and the farmland become a self-sustaining system, giving new meaning to the urban revival scheme. And what better way to communicate a rebirth than with a brand new logo and map? Twitter account #UtopianRevival coming soon!