Deserted socialist landmark in Montenegro given new lease on life

Architecture Design International Preservation
(Courtesy SADAR+VUGA, HHF Architekten and Archicon)

Exterior Rendering (Courtesy SADAR+VUGA, HHF Architekten and Archicon)

Concrete socialist relics in Eastern Europe usually enjoy hit-or-miss celebrity: they strike fame online or fade into derelict obscurity. One unfinished building, named the Dom Revolucije (Home of Revolution) in Nikšic, Montenegro, may be getting a new lease on life after years of disuse. Slovenian firm SADAR+VUGA, working in collaboration with Swiss practice HHF Architekten and local consultant Archicon, are re-imaging the building with cafes, park space, and more.

The brutalist relic, designed by Slovenian architect Marko Mušic in the 1970s and abandoned in 1989, will be transformed into an lively urban hub containing cafés, an underground car park, pedestrian walkways, playgrounds, and a park.

Exterior Rendering (Courtesy SADAR+VUGA, HHF Architekten and Archicon)

Exterior Rendering (Courtesy SADAR+VUGA, HHF Architekten and Archicon)

Initially, the building was intended to serve as a memorial to fallen freedom fighters and the socialist revolution. After 27 years of neglect, SADAR+VUGA, HHF Architekten, and Archicon were awarded the commission after their proposal won the “Competition for the Adaptation and Reconstruction for the Home of Revolution.” Initially, the group contemplated completing the structure true to its original plans. However, they found that such a building would be grossly disproportional in size compared to its urban context: it would befit a city more than “ten times Nikšić’s size.

Instead, this design is meant to symbolize the progress the city of Nikšic has made from being a former minor Yugoslav town to Montenegro’s second largest city. In the architect’s words, this project will “serve the city and its residents” while being a “social activator that would represent today’s changing conditions.” In balancing old and new, the design will keep the original brutalist structure while adding more modern contemporary features.

Interior rendering shows cafe and social spaces (Courtesy SADAR+VUGA, HHF Architekten and Archicon)

Interior rendering shows cafe and social spaces (Courtesy SADAR+VUGA, HHF Architekten and Archicon)

A new underground parking lot will keep the building pedestrian-friendly at street level.

Program plan (Courtesy SADAR+VUGA, HHF Architekten and Archicon)

Program plan (Courtesy SADAR+VUGA, HHF Architekten and Archicon)

In regards to the building’s program, only 10% of the interior will be climate controlled year-round. Other areas such as the promenade will be exposed to the elements, remaining open and flexible for future uses such as special events. 

Related Stories