Keywords Change this

Modernism, Yugoslavian Modernism, Women In Architecture

Birth date / place

November 21st 1937, Cetinje, Montenegro

Selected Architecture

Practice / Active in Change this

Podgorica, Montenegro

Awards Change this

  • 1967 - Borba Award for Hotel Podgorica

Change this

"The spider is one of the biggest builder on the world. His net is the finest construction which can be made."
Svetlana Kana Radević

Svetlana Kana Radević Change this

Change thisPodgorica, Montenegro
born 1937, Cetinje
1 of 8

About Change this

Svetlana Kana Radević was the first woman architect in Montenegro. She graduated from the Faculty of Architecture Belgrade and obtained a master's degree at the University of Pennsylvania. She continued her studies in Japan, which strongly influenced her later work. She was a full member of Doclean Academy of Sciences and Arts and the first vice president of Matica crnogorska, as well as a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Architecture and Construction Sciences, a member of the Montenegrin PEN Center and a member of UNESCO (AIA). She has received numerous awards, including the Borba award, Award for liberation of Podgorica and Trinaestojulska award.

As the prolific principal designer and proprietor of her own studio, Svetlana Kana Radević was the rare exception to the norm of women designers who often remained anonymous collaborators. Radević graduated from both the Faculty of Architecture and the Art History department of the University of Belgrade, and won the competition to design the Hotel Podgorica (1964–67) in the Montenegrin capital shortly thereafter. She rose to national prominence in 1967 when she won the federal Borba Prize for Architecture for the project. The building follows the undulating bank of the Morača River along which it stands, enabling a symbiotic relationship between plan and site. Truncated three story walls, impregnated with local river pebbles, frame the residential quarters and the common facilities, and their materiality further reconciles landscape and building. The project underscores how Radević not only absorbed formal tendencies from contemporary Brutalism but invented an idiosyncratic formal lexicon, which she continued to develop after she won a Fulbright scholarship to study with Louis Kahn at the University of Pennsylvania in 1972. (Radević was one of the many Yugoslav architects to temporarily study or work in the West—in some cases, alongside practitioners such as Kahn and Le Corbusier.) After her return to Yugoslavia, she designed a great number of projects, most notably the Hotel Zlatibor (1975–81), a monolithic concrete tower in the western Serbian city of Užice. An active agent in global architectural networks, she worked with the Metabolist architect Kisho Kurokawa in Tokyo and was elected a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Architecture and Construction in 1994.

Kana's Architecture

Her style was distinctive for the selection of materials she used, melding the structures with their external environment and the substantial size and power of her designs. Her most noted work was the Hotel Podgorica for which she won the Federal Borba Award for Architecture in 1967. The building typifies her style in that it uses stone, a traditional building material, to play with unique shapes which jut out from the façade, in an nontraditional manner. At the same time, the building fits into the landscape as if its concrete mass were always part of the environment. Other important works are bus station and business center Krusevac in Podgorica, hotel in Zlatibor and Mojkovac. Her Monument to the Fallen Soldiers of Lješanska nahija in Barutana won a national competition in 1975.



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