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Ministry of Public Health

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
1 of 5© Lejla Odobasevic Novo

Once the initial reconstruction phase after WWII was completed cultural and institutional buildings became the next phase of focus. One of these included the Ministry of Public Health building which was designed by Tihmoir Ivanović in 1950. This building is heavily modernist in nature, however, the social realist influence remains visible. It was built only a few years after the main railway station but the break away from the social realism is even more apparent in this case. This shift in architectural expression occurred as a direct result in the political and ideological drift between Yugoslavia and USSR.

The principal focus of the social realism buildings was an exaggerated scale in order to instill the notion of grandness of the state and to inspire deference towards the authorities, which in this case was the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. Since this building was designed and built as a Ministry of Public Heath, Ivanović strived to employ majority of these principles but he broke away from some keys aspect that defied socialist realism at the time. The building is of grand scale, it follows the rigid symmetry often employed by social realism, however, it breaks a number of rules which shift it towards a more ‘western’ modernist building.

The building departs away from past architectural styles where forms were often put together with decorations illustrating heroes who were the workers, miners, peasants and the proletarian class. Instead it relies on pure geometry, abstracted decoration in the form of vertical fins at the front façade, simplified openings and a receded top floor which allow for a terrace on the top floor.