Hedona’s Framed View over Sarajevo

written by Mensur Demir
architect Sead Gološ

While sightseeing Sarajevo, an American architect remarked that the city in its social and economic building structure was organized upside down. From his perspective, the rich would build on the slopes around the city, having the best views and air quality, while those less fortunate would be crowded in a noisy and clogged valley. At this moment, the slopes are occupied by less convenient, often unfinished and illegal houses. Sarajevo was developing linearly, following the topography of the valley; each and every state regime experimented with different modes of growth through architecture and urban planning. The early forming phase of the city is represented by the housing settlements and neighbourhoods: mahalas on the
slopes, spread around the business part of the city and čaršijas in the valley. Succeeding regimes introduced Austro-Hungarian block-based growth that was later on tied to modernism with its skyscraper urbanism and contemporary traffic. With gradual disappearance of modernism, the centralized strategies of spatial planning and management also fell through, thus creating conditions for illegal constructions and often senseless distribution of natural resources. Wars create administrative borders and leave behind disfigured spaces, which are then slow to develop and harder to integrate in the city structure.