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Atelier LIK

Belgrade, Serbia
1 of 5
Part of Atelier LIK Team: From left to right Sofija Nenadovic, Dusanka Menegelo, Nada Filipon, Vlajko Ivkovic

Atelier LIK was founded in 1957 by Sofija Nenadovic, Dusanka Menegelo Acimovic, Nadezda Filipon Trbojevic, Vesna Maticevic and Vladislav Ivkovic, with Nada Bogojevic as its first director.

In 1957, the design team consisting of Sofija Nenadovic, Dusanka Menegelo Acimovic, Nada Filipon Trbojevic, Vesna Maticevic and Vlajko Ivkovic won the first award at the competition for the Terminal building of the new Belgrade Airport. Winning the competition for the airport building in Surcin was an excuse to formalize a collaboration that started several years before, and was preceded by a long lasting acquaintance and friendship. Sofija Nenadovic, Vesna Maticevic, Nadezda Filipon Trbojevic and Dusanka Menegelo Acimovic were the core of this group and their mutual collaboration and friendship resulted in a successful business and numerous projects by Atelier LIK. All four were the same age, born in 1928. Sofija and Nada, two school friends, enrolled in architecture school together in 1946, Dusanka and Vesna enrolled in 1947. After this established team of authors decided to participate in the airport competition, they invited Vlajko Ivkovic as a friend to work with them.

During airport construction, they were real stars - partially for being young architects, partially for being four women. Newspapers regularly reported on their unusual team. The very existence of Atelier LIK was considered extraordinary. At the time privately owned architecture offices were scarce, so Atelier LIK had the status of an agency. The fact that the young women who led it were not members of the Communist party, but still managed to acquire large commissions and successfully maintain the business until retirement, was considered curious. Shortly after the last one of them retired from the office, it closed in the beginning of the 1990s, proving that it was their creative and life energy that had sustained it for so long.

The Belgrade Airport was open in 1962, and in the same year the authors were awarded the 7th July Award for the project. At the time the airplanes didn't pollute as much, and watching them land and take off was a favorite pass-time for many citizens of Belgrade, so the airport building was designed to accommodate: it had a central atrium with a tropical garden, a runway restaurant and a public terrace for watching airplanes. Coming to the airport was like having a picnic, schools would bring kids to spend time there.

After the success with the Belgrade airport, Atelier LIK produced competition entries or projects for another 11 airports in Yugoslavia. The team was not always complete, they were working in different combinations: Osijek Airport was designed in 1970 by Sofija Nenadovic and Nada Filipon, Podgorica Airport was designed by Vesna Maticevic, Dusanka Menegelo and Vlajko Ivkovic. The competition for Dubrovnik Airport was won by Vlajko Ivkovic, but it was Sofija Nenadovic who developed his design into a construction project. However, in professional circles, it was usually Vladislav Ivkovic, later a professor at the Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade, who was known as the "airport expert."

During their entire career the women of Atelier LIK successfully participated in architectural competitions. In 1966 Sofija Nenadovic, Nada Filipon, Vesna Maticevic and Dusanka Menegelo won the second award at the competition for the General hospital in Sremska Mitrovica.

In 1978 Atelier LIK won first award at the competition Slavija I for the architectural and urban design of the block between streets Beogradska, Kralja Milana, Svetozara Markovica and Njegoseva. This complex competition had several phases, and the first one gathered all of the most important offices of the time: Directorate for construction and reconstruction of Belgrade headed by Branislav Jovin, Energoprojekt's team headed by Milica Steric, Institute of Architecture and Urbanism of Serbia (IAUS) headed by Uros Martinovic and Zoran Petrovic, Projektbiro headed by Mihailo Mitrovic, Srbijaprojekt's team headed by Slobodan Mihailovic etc. Four projects passed to the finals of the competition: project by studio Arhitekt, the Directorat for construction and reconstruction of Belgrade, the Institute of Architecture and Urbanism of Serbia and Atelier LIK. In the second stage of the competition the projects were developed, complemented and rationalized, but again no project was awarded, and the projects were ranked. First place was taken by Atelier LIK, and together with the second place project by IAUS, they were invited into the third stage of the competition, and were awarded the first prize. Atelier LIK spent the next 10 years developing the project for construction for this huge mixed use complex of 120.000 m2, whose realization was halted in the 1980s. Still, the jury had evaluated the project as "a contemporary solution that also contributes to the development of the architectural and planning thought."

Atelier LIK continued to design the space of the Slavija square through another three competitions that followed: Competition for the plateau in front of the National bank in 1986, Competition for the Beobanka building on Slavija square in 1989, and Competition for the Dafiment bank building in 1991.

In 1974, after Nada Bogojevic retired, Sofija Nenadovic became the director of Atelier LIK, and remained at this position until her own retirement in 1987. Nada Filipon and Dusanka Menegelo as well retired form Atelier LIK, while Vesna Maticevic transferred first to the Urban Planning Institute, right after finishing the Belgrade airport project, and then to the Heritage Protection Institute. Vlajko Ivkovic left the atelier to teach at the Architectural Faculty in Belgrade.

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Belgrade, Serbia
sonjadragovic, April 19th, 2019
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