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City General Hospital 8th September

Skopje, North Macedonia
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Archival Photo

The Military Hospital is the most important health facility built during the post-earthquake renewal of Skopje. It was designed during 1964/1965 by Josip Osojnik and Slobodan Nikolić (authors of the Military Medical Academy – VMA in Belgrade) in the Design Company “Centroprojekt” in Belgrade. The construction phase started in 1968 and the building was completed in 1971. Already in function few months earlier, the hospital was officially opened on the Day of the Yugoslav Army, on December 22, 1971.

The Military Hospital (today City General Hospital “8th September”) is located in the residential settlement Karposh 3, built as a result of the expansion of the city territory towards west after the earthquake. It is situated on a vast building plot, in the immediate vicinity of the Polyclinic “Bucharest”, given by Romania after the earthquake as a gesture of solidarity for Skopje. Within the large building plot, the Military Hospital has its own heliport.

With a total usable area of 52.000 m2, the design of the hospital provides functional response to the very complex program requirements. Without pretensions to create expressive design and following the functionalist idiom, the spatial figure of the building is a complex composition of prismatic, mutually interlinked segments, divided according to their program. The ten-story block containing the patients’ bedrooms is dominating the overall appearance, organized with a central corridor and south orientation for the patients’ rooms. The total capacity of the hospital was 460 beds, approximately half of them once dedicated for the needs of the Army, while the rest for the civilian population of the city and the Republic. At the time of building, the military hospital had the standard specialist departments (except paediatric and gynaecology), designed and equipped following the latest medical requirements and state-of-the-art technology. Strong accent and a special place within the building was dedicated to the surgical block, situated in the centre of the hospital and extending through four levels.

In its structure and materiality, the whole complex is logical and follows the paradigms of the modern architecture. It has reinforced concrete structural system, at certain positions enhanced with concrete walls. While the facades are mainly plastered or cladded with small mosaic tiles in light (beige) or blue-green colour. The façade openings, with their continuous rhythm further reinforce the general principle of order and consistency in the expression. The vertical rhythm of the concrete ribs (brise soleil) resembles abstract contemporary ornament. Outside the main entrance, the marble sculpture “Man and Humanism” is placed, by the prominent Macedonian artist, the academic sculptor Dragan Popovski – Dada.

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jamesblanksby, November 21st, 2023
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