Constantinos Doxiadis was a Greek architect who played a crucial role in the rebuilding of the city of Skopje in 1963 following a devastating earthquake which destroyed 80 percent of the city’s infrastructure. At the time Skopje was part of the nation of Yugoslavia.
Doxiadis, along with the Japanese architectural office of Kenzo Tange, was responsible for reconstructing almost the entire city center of Skopje, designing buildings which were exceptional examples of the architectural movements of Brutalism and Metabolism.
Unfortunately, these buildings have suffered from decades of neglect. Added to this was a misplaced effort to minimize their architectural importance, in accordance with an official government policy between 2006 and 2014 to create a neo-classical profile — a profile which Skopje never had to begin with.
The Brutalist movement, popular from the 1950’s through the 1970’s, heralded function over form, and was in direct opposition to the architecture of past centuries which included decorative elements. Brutalist buildings most often were exceptionally plain in appearance, with reinforced concrete their main building material.
When later architects and city planners attempted to soften the look of Brutalist buildings, ornamenting them with Classical or other architectural details, the resulting hybrid buildings often pleased no one.
The vast architectural effort to rebuild Skopje will now be presented to an Athenian audience in a wide-ranging photographic exhibit which not only shows the construction of the bold, modern buildings of the time but also how they were unfortunately altered over the ensuing years.
The exhibit, titled ”Future Under Construction: Doxiadis in Skopje” shows the terrible destruction which occurred during the earthquake as well as details of Doxiadis’ plans and strategies to rebuild the entire city.
In addition to viewing the contributions made by the Greek architect, the public will have the chance to see work by the Japanese office of Tange, as well as the many individual contributions made by several Yugoslav architects at the time.
The exhibit opened on Monday, December 17 at the at the Benaki Museum and it will run until February 17, 2019. It is presented under the auspices of the Greek Institute of Architecture, the Museum of the City of Skopje and the Benaki Museum.