By Sinisa Jakov Marusic
While the architects union demands a halt to the contest for a new look for the government building, voters favour giving the Modernist structure a monumental Baroque facade.
Two weeks ago Macedonia’s government penned five architectural proposals for the new look of its headquarters on its website, asking people to vote on them.
By Tuesday evening the first proposal, for a Baroque facade, was in the lead, winning the support of 33 per cent of all the votes. This proposal aims at making radical change to the existing shell.
The second proposal, which is most similar to the existing glass-covered building, is coming second with voters, on 24 per cent.
Until the end of last week the two proposals were even in terms of popularity.
“We plan to close voting at the end of this month and then within five days the commission of experts will have the final word on the new facade,” Vasil Donevski, head of the government body in charge of procurements and commissioning, said.
He confirmed that although the preference of voters would not be deemed binding, “the commission will take it in to consideration”.
While voters mull their choices, the Association of Macedonian Architects has come out in opposition to the idea that this landmark building should get a new shell. It has urged the government to stop the voting altogether.
“This represents fraudulent vandalism,” Danica Pavlovska, head of the association, said. She says the government building is a national landmark and should not be altered.
The architect of the original building, Petar Mulickovski, has also opposed the idea of a new facade. He claims that the authorities have ignored him.
The Modernist structure, built in the 1970s, was loosely inspired by traditional Macedonian architecture. The building rose after Skopje recovered from a devastating earthquake that struck in 1963.
The government launched the vote for a new facade as it continues transforming the city centre as part of the project dubbed “Skopje 2014”.
It insists that the government building needs an immediate revamp as its large glass-covered surfaces are becoming energy inefficient and are letting too much heat escape.