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Modernist architecture, conflict, heritage and resilience : the case of the historical museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Harrington, Selma and Dimitrijevic, Branka and Salama, Ashraf M. (2017) Modernist architecture, conflict, heritage and resilience : the case of the historical museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina. ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, 11 (3). pp. 178-192. ISSN 1938-7806

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Abstract

Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the successor states of former Yugoslavia, with a history of dramatic conflicts and ruptures. These have left a unique heritage of interchanging prosperity and destruction, in which the built environment and architecture provide a rich evidence of the many complex identity narratives. The public function and architecture of the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, once purposely built to commemorate the national liberation in World War 2, encapsulates the current situation in the country, which is navigating through a complicated period of reconstruction and transformation after the war in 1990s. Once considered as the embodiment of a purist Modernist architecture, now a damaged structure with negligible institutional patronage, the Museum shelters the fractured artefacts of life during the three and a half years siege of Sarajevo. This paper introduces a research into symbiotic elements of architecture and public function of the Museum. The impact of conflict on its survival, resilience and continuity of use is explored through its potentially mediatory role and modelling for similar cases of reuse of a 20th century architectural heritage.