A collaborative work by Studio Zec + ahA + Filter, The Siege of Sarajevo Museum – The Art of Living 1992-1996 project is launching a new way of interacting and learning about the phenomenon of the Siege of Sarajevo. Regarding urban survival, Sarajevo has become a powerful symbol and a lesson for current and future generations. The museum will be a unique depository of human knowledge – where human ingenuity, creativity and intelligence will be captured amidst the urban post-cataclysmic realm. It is a heritage snap-shot of faces and voices that have shaped the longest siege in the modern history of mankind. More images and architects’ description after the break.
As uncertainties of 21st century risk society spread, we are confronted with difficult questions and choices, and very few answers and options. Suddenly, terms like art of living, recycling, adaptation to change, and freedom from fear are high on the global agenda. Given that Sarajevans tried and tested them some 20 years ago, the Museum’s unique collection offers a bridge between fear and hope, showing many tales about how opportunities can arise from uncertainty.
Given that its remarkable content/experience is the main attraction of the Museum, we are confident that the role of architecture here is to direct a relationship of the Museum with the city and that of visitors to the Museum’s content/experience. In addition to the space of Experience itself, the main elements expressing the architectural concept are the museum’s Entrance/Exit and Borders, as membranes in which the experience is stored. The core of the museum – the Experience – is a space in which not only specific knowledge transfer occurs, but also a space where mindset of visitors is changed for at least a moment.
60 theme boxes, each of them a source of a specific knowledge related to the experience of the siege, will form meaningful whole in which all parts at the same time interact. The entire town was under the siege, but people lived through it in their individual ways of surviving. The importance of the Museum’s spatial diversity arises from this fact, from urban and public to private and intimate proportions. This spatial diversity represents also the infinity of the human mind in all its rational and irrational powers.
How to design a space by creating an articulated framework for something so complex, incomplete, and infinite? We have found the answer in fractal geometry. A fractal (a term coined by a mathematician Mandelbrot) is “a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be subdivided in parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-sizecopy of the whole.” More precisely, we based the space containing the Experience on the Menger- Sierpinski sponge, a three-dimensional object which simultaneously exhibits an infinite surface area and encloses zero volume. In its abstract form of building elements, this system becomes a space where anything is possible.
As a next step in the project, 60 creative individuals/groups will be chosen to work on each of the theme boxes. The Sarajevo Siege Museum is therefore designed more as an infrastructure than a building in the usual sense. This is the infrastructure that in a dynamic, labyrinth-like and versatile way can be filled with knowledge, memories and creativity that change with time.
Architects: Studio Zec + ahA + Filter
Location: Sarajevo, Bosnia
Team: Studio Zec: Amir Vuk Zec d.i.a; ahA: Adnan Harambašić siv. ark. mnal, Merdžana Mujkanović MArh., Almir Rizvanović MArh.; Filter: Kenan Vatrenjak dipl. ing. arh, Vedad Islambegović dipl. ing. arh, Ibrica Jašarević dipl. ing. arh, Asmir Mutevelić dipl. ing. arh, Nedim Mutevelić MArh