IoA Institute of Architecture

University of Applied Arts Vienna

Crossover Studio

Crossover Studio

Directed by Alfredo Brillembourg/Urban-Think Tank,
Guests: Hubert Klumpner/Urban-Think Tank, Nadine Schütz/Echora, and Clément Willemin/Base
IoA Faculty/Galo Moncayo

We don’t need to wait for terrible circumstances to be aware of the potential all around us. What happens when a state of exception becomes the rule? Can architecture emerge as more then just a symbol of survival and adaptation? Ravaged by war and siege, Sarajevo is now trapped in a situation of ongoing political paralysis with no end in sight. Destruction and neglect have transformed the city into a new kind of urban frontier.

The Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina epitomizes this phenomenon. Like no other built form in Sarajevo, the ‘People’s Museum’ stands as an icon of resistance and resilience. Its form, collection, and program express an unwavering drive to make something out of nothing.

Founded in 1945 as the Museum of National Liberation, the current modernist structure opened in 1963. Today, a building that once embodied the era’s utopian socialist dreams has become a ruin. 
Situated one hundred meters from a former frontline, exterior traces of shelling and grenade blasts are now a surface level hint of deeper challenges within. 
Unpaid museum staff shiver through freezing winters without heating, while the state withholds resources that would stem the flow of water leaking through the roof. 
Starved of funds and abandoned by government, citizens are activating the site with little or no financial means, reclaiming the museum as a vital civic space of dialogue, culture, and education.

This studio asks a simple question: what can the 21st century Sarajevo be? 
Inspired by forces of solidarity and popular ownership, we will redefine the heart of Sarajevos catalytic urban space.
A temporary strategy of adaptive reuse can become an attractor to suggest a new reading of the site and its surroundings.
The overall effect is a détournement, with the design of landscape, sound and architecture projecting an oppositional message .
In Sarajevo, We will reinforce the message that the CITY belongs to everyone. 
Outwardly dedicated to cultural preservation, its programming poses important questions about how a divided society deals with the trauma of the past. 
But it also suggests that the innate resourcefulness displayed during the siege has the potential to regenerate the CITY.