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News 13 Feb 13

Macedonia Prepares Mass Revamp of City Facades

Some 24 residential buildings in Skopje’s central area are to get new facades inspired by Classical Antiquity, in line with the ongoing revamp of the capital known as Skopje 2014.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje

Partly revamped facade in central Skopje | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

The city has hired two architectual firms, Proing and Arhitektonika, to draw up construction projects for 24 new facades.

“If all goes well, the projects should be ready by summer,” after which construction may start, the city said.

City hall said the look of the new facades was already chosen to correspond with Skopje’s Classical-era revamp.

However, they did not reveal any images of the facades, or the estimated construction cost.

The city last year already approved new facades for five other buildings near the main Macedonia square.

Three were recently completed. According to the available contracts, one costs 360,000 euro, the other 300,000 and the third 400,000 euro.

Meanwhile, the government, the main sponsor of the Skopje revamp, has already made plans to give a Classical look to practically every major older building in the central area.

Last year, the government chose a new shell for its own HQ built in the 1970s, despite the opposition of the architect of the original modernist design, Petar Mulickovski. Its large glass-covered areas are to be replaced with Classical pillars and ornaments.

The Justice Ministry and the Transport Ministry, located in the centre, are also getting a facelift in the same spirit.

In January, the authorities approved the facelift of the building of MEPSO, the state-owned power production company, built in the style known as brutalism.

A new shell is also being planned for the 12-storey glass building of EVN, the Austrian firm in charge of the country’s power supply.

By the end of the month, the authorities should choose the new look of Skopje’s best known shopping mall, GTC, previously considered a wonder of modernist architecture, built after the 1963 devastating Skopje earthquake.

Several other banks, offices and commercial buildings are also in line for facelift.

The new facades form part of a wider government-sponsored plan known as Skopje 2014 that aims to give the neglected-looking capital a more monumental appearance by drawing inspiration from the styles of Classical Antiquity.

The plan envisages the construction of numerous museums, theatres, concert halls, hotels and administrative offices, as well as a number of large bronze and marble statues.

The plan has proven controversial, with critics objecting to its high price tag, estimated by some to be at least 500 million euro, as well as to the selection of artistic styles.

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