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News 13 Jan 12

Macedonians To Choose Government HQ's New Look

After transforming much of the capital in styles inspired by Classic Antiquity, Macedonia is asking the population to choose a new facade for the government building.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Macedonian government building | Photo by: Balkan Insight

Macedonia's government on Thursday penned five architectural proposals for the new look of its headquarters on its website, asking people to vote on them. 

Some of the proposals match the original facade while others aim to change it radically.

“The people’s evaluation will be of great significance for the commission of experts during further procedures,” the government wrote on its website.

The government says the building needs an immediate revamp as its large glass-covered surfaces are becoming energy inefficient and are letting too much heat escape.

While some support the proposal, critics of the government funded "Skopje 2014" project question the need to change the landmark facade.

Photo by: gov.mk

“Are they changing it so they can put kitsch ancient pillars in front of it? Have they no respect for anything that has stood the test of time and become a landmark in this city?” one Skopje resident told Balkan Insight.

The modernist structure, built in the 1970s, was loosely inspired by traditional Macedonian architecture. The building rose as Skopje recovered from a devastating earthquake that struck in 1963.

The architect of the building, Petar Mulickovski, has opposed the idea of a new facade, calling on his rights, as author of the original design, to be put in charge for any revamp if officials are determined to go ahead.

Photo by: gov.mk

But he says he has been ignored.

“They told me the facade was flawed but they offered no arguments. I am not participating in the competition. Maybe someone deliberately wanted to get rid of me,” Mulickovski recently told Telma TV.

Meanwhile, the “Skopje 2014” project is continuing. Several buildings and monuments are already in place or are nearly finished. The construction of a new national theatre, a history museum, a foreign ministry and a concert hall are at an advanced stage.

Photo by: gov.mk

Work continues also on an obelisk and two new bridges. Dozens of large statues have already been erected in the heart of the city including one of Alexander the Great, which is over 20 metres high, and a triumphal arch.
Critics of the project object to its artistic style, which draws inspiration from Classical Antiquity. They also object to the project’s high estimated price tag, unofficially standing at €500 million.

The government page was hard to access on Tuesday afternoon as many visitors had rushed to see the proposals.

Photo by: gov.mk
Photo by: gov.mk

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The government-funded revamp of the Macedonian capital, called Skopje 2014, aims to give the city a more impressive and ‘historic’ appearance. See new images in this updated gallery.