“Post-Yugoslav City”. Nerma Cridge at Projective Cities.
Guest Seminar, Tuesday, March 16, 10am.
The first part of this lecture will examine the relationship between ideology, politics and abstraction in former Yugoslavia with the aim of offering a more complex understanding of the highly visible monumental architecture and almost completely unknown secret ones.
We will start at the violent end of Yugoslavia, with Lebbeus Woods’ projects on Sarajevo from War and Architecture. Woods’ poignant drawings of mindless destruction during the four-year-long siege of the city of Sarajevo will be used to introduce the idea of country and architecture full of contradictions.
It often tends to be forgotten that Yugoslavia was not part of Stalin’s block of countries, and that Socialist Realism never took off there. Due to its politics of non-alignment Yugoslavia forged a unique global presence, with architecture having not only social, but also a mediating and unifying role.
We will explore what is behind the recent surge of interest in the Yugoslav architecture, and question if in this particular context, abstraction should be understood as a political compromise. We will also speculate on whether the uniqueness of the political system helped not only create highly distinctive socially responsible architecture, but also played a pivotal role in its ultimate self-destruction.
The conspiracies on the alleged Yugoslav secret space program will be used to shift the argument towards the cold war and the space race, where we will look closely at the designs of Soviet space craft architect Galina Balashova and much more recent examples designs including Lunark moon pod by Saga Architects.
This lecture is dedicated to the memory of Mark Cousins, and it will conclude with a personal tribute to him.
Nerma Prnjavorac Cridge grew up in Sarajevo and completed her education in architecture at Birmingham, the Bartlett and the Architectural Association. Since qualifying, she worked for a number of distinguished practitioners including Thomas Heatherwick and art2architecture. Her first monograph Drawing the Unbuildable, based on her PhD thesis at the Architectural Association (supervised by dr Marina Lathouri and Mark Cousins) on the Soviet avant-garde, was published by Routledge in 2015. Nerma currently teaches at the AA and several other UK universities, as well as running her art and design practice Drawing Agency. Forthcoming publications include Restless: Drawn by Zaha Hadid, in Routledge Companion on Women in Architecture edited by Anna Sokolina, and The Politics of Abstraction, Nerma’s second monograph.