Nikola Dobrovic, a Serbian architect and urban planner, is generally considered to be Yugoslavia's most important modern architect, having significantly contributed to the nation's post-war identity. Recognised among the European intellectual avant-garde, he was a pioneer among Yugoslavian architects in resisting the influence of tradition. Dobrovic is best known for his Federal Ministry of Defense building in Belgrade, bombed by NATO in 1999, and enjoyed a prolific career in cities like Prague, Dubrovnik and Belgrade.
He was born in a small village Pecuh during the Austro - Hungarian Empire (1897). He started studying architecture in Budapest in 1915 but after breaking the first world war, he continued the studies in Prague. He graduated in 1923 from the Department of Architecture of the Higher Technical School in Prague. After the studies he returned to Yugoslavia and lived in Lopud near Dubrovnik. In 1943 he joined the National Liberation Movement.
After World War II, he worked in Belgrade, and was elected a corresponding member outside the active body of the JAZU Department of Visual Arts. From 1944 he worked on the reconstruction of the country as the chief of the Department of Architecture of the Ministry of federal buildings. He was director of the Urban Institute's Republic of Serbia and later also a professor of Urban Planning at the Faculty of Architecture at the Technical High School in Belgrade. He was also a honorary associate member of RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects).
Architecture and Urbanism
He created many remarkable buildings and urbanism, to mention just Grand Hotel Lopud, Federal Ministry of Defense in Belgrade, Student Union Hostel in Dubrovnik, and post office building in Herceg Novi. He was working on the urbanism for the cities of New Belgrade, Herceg Novi, Stip and Igal. When he was active in Herceg Novi he advocated the idea of building garage for 1000 and more vehicles. He believed that, over time Herceg Novi will need much more parking spaces in the future. The implementation of such a project was not executed and today, Herceg Novi has enormous problems with traffic and parking spaces.
Nikola Dobrovic worked in Dubrovnik from the beginning of 30s until World War II. In this short period he realized a number of family houses, public buildings and landscape projects. His modernistic manifesto is highly recognizable through his villas Villa Vesna, Villa Rusalka and Villa Adonis. But highly recognizable author's work is seen through Grand Hotel Lopud or Student Union Hostel in Dubrovnik.
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