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Telecommunication Center

Skopje, Macedonia
1 of 13© Vase Petrovski

The Telecommunication Center, designed by architect Janko Konstantinov is an integral element of Kenzo Tange's plan for reconstruction of Skopje after the earthquake in 1963 and undoubtedly one of the most important architectural and urban ensembles built during the post-earthquake renewal of the city.

The ensemble was granted an exclusive location within the city center - on the right riverbank of the River Vardar, facing the Medieval Fortress.

The design process started back in 1968, while the realization ended more than two decades later, after numerous alterations and heated discussion. Considerably rationalized and simplified in its expression, the accepted design proposal was divided in three clearly differentiated units, each placed in a separate building: the Telecommunication PTT center, the Counter Hall and the Administrative Building (never built according the original design), all of them positioned on a unifying platform, raised 1.5 m above street level.

The Telecommunications PTT center is composed of two segments - a rectangular slab (ground + 4 floors) and a tower as a vertical dominant (ground + 7 floors). The powerful spatial structure of the predominantly closed building originally housed complex telecommunications equipment. Its programming and design came as the result of a long and in-depth study of telecommunications technology that once aimed to predict and cover the long-term needs of PTT traffic. Its construction introduced a new silhouette and in the forthcoming years became one of the architectural symbols of the city, a status further reinforced by the construction of the Counter Hall.

The Counter hall was built in the second phase of realization of the complex, at the end of 1970s and beginning of the 1980s. In its circular form, it complements the figurative play of the elements - the already built rectangular telecommunications block, the vertical of the telecommunications tower and the anticipated cubic mass of the administrative building.

The Telecommunications Center is a contemporary sculpture in concrete, with high architectural and aesthetic values."Brutalist" in its architectural language, it uses un-plastered concrete in a way that overthrows the traditional distinction between structure and cladding. The reduction in terms of material and color was compensated with wealth of expressive architectural elements and capricious forms that experiment with the plastic properties of the material.