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Brutal Skopje, a present-day photo essay was made with with Besnik Aliaj, Polis University, Tirana.

The term ‘brutal’ has different connotations. Scholars of urbanism understand it as an architectural style that emerged in the 1950’s and became popular for a few decades. The term ‘brutalism’ is ascribed to Swedish architect Hans Asplund who described a new modern brick home in Uppsala. For others, outside architecture and urbanism, brutal is associated with words like ruthless, disrespectful and harsh. In this photo essay, we aim is to show through pictures and short introductory and concluding texts, how both meanings of brutal have been expressed in the development of Skopje’s urban cultural landscape since 1963.

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So, 'brutal' is used in two meanings: as architectural style (the 1963 – 1991 period), and brutal as rude and disrespectful (the period after 1991). During the communist period, the brutal style has been applied as an expression of planning and architecture – it was part of a broader discipline that was widespread during that period. After 1991, the developments are called brutal, but in the sense of disrespectful - with regards to citizens, to history, to urban professionals.

Based on all these brutal urban developments, some pointers are submitted that put urban development and architecture in the socio-political realm and show how intertwined ideology and urban development are.

In the pdf the text and pictures for the 2019 Tirana Design Week are given. In the photogallery, some of the pictures are presented.  


Suggested reference:  Aliaj, B. & Nientied, P. (2020). Brutal Skopje : a present-day photo essay. In Luarasi, S. & Perna, V. (eds.) Foreseeing uncertainty: design & normativity. Conference Proceedings 2019 Tirana Design Week. Tirana; Polis University. pp. 25-39.

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