By Sinisa Jakov Marusic
The man who designed Macedonia’s government building has said he will refuse to participate in a planned makeover that will give his modernist structure a monumental Baroque facade.
After the government on Friday said it had chosen a baroque facade for its HQ, architect Petar Mulickovski said he had turned down an invitation to be an advisor to the project.
“I was not consulted for an opinion before and I will certainly refuse to take part in this unlawful and rushed change to the facade,” Mulickovski told Balkan Insight.
The proposal, submitted by a group of local designers, won some 9,000 votes in public vote on the government website. A proposal that envisaged minimal changes to the existing shell came second with about 6,000 votes. There were five proposals in total.
“We would certainly like to see Mulickovski included as a sort of advisor,” said Vasil Donevski, head of the government body in charge of procurements and commissioning.
Citing his rights as the creator of the original building constructed in the 1970s, Mulickovski has been against the idea for a new facade right from the start.
“I will not sue them [the government] for ruining my work but I demand that the building be protected as a national monument,” he said.
The government launched the contest for a new facade as it continues transforming the city centre as part of a project dubbed “Skopje 2014”.
As part of the grand revamp plan, several buildings and monuments are already in place or nearly finished. The construction of a new national theatre, a history museum, a foreign ministry and a concert hall are at an advanced stage.
Dozens of large statues have already been erected in the heart of the city including one of Alexander the Great, which is over 20 metres high, and a triumphal arch. Work also continues on two new bridges.
Critics of the project object to its artistic style, which draws inspiration from Classical Antiquity. They also object to the project’s high estimated price tag, unofficially standing at €500 million.
If all goes smoothly, construction of the new shell for the government building may start as soon as May. Authorities have yet to reveal the cost of the plan.