Our Own Little Bubble
i
Illustration by Igor Kubik
Art, Art + Stories

Our Own Little Bubble

Life in the ‘Blokovi’ of New Belgrade
Damjan Dobrila
Reading
time 5 minutes

Conceived during the golden years of Yugoslav socialism, New Belgrade’s ‘Blokovi’ were designed to represent a radically modern, new way of living. The endless repetition of concrete blocks had to accommodate as many people as cheaply as possible, but this seemingly strict and cold state project hid all the ingredients for a perfect childhood.

Rarely would one associate grey concrete with warmth and a happy childhood, but these are exactly my first associations when I think of the brutalist buildings of New Belgrade. On top of that, I grew up during the Yugoslav war, international sanctions, and later even the NATO bombing of Serbia. But I have to say that all of those events seemed so distant and unreal. It was mostly something that you would see on the news while you waited impatiently to go outside and play. Our parents did a great

Information

You’ve reached your free article’s limit this month. You can get unlimited access to all our articles and audio content with our digital subscription. If you have an active subscription, please log in.

Subscribe

Also read:

One Happy Family
i
Illustration by Igor Kubik
Art + Stories, Experiences

One Happy Family

Life on a Dnipro Housing Estate
Tetiana Shataieva

I grew up and spent twenty years of my life in Dnipro—the fourth largest city in Ukraine, standing in the south-central part of the country, with about one million inhabitants. Dnipro is an industrial city with dozens of factories, producing everything from iron constructions, concrete blocks and passenger carriages, to medical equipment, military machines and rocket engines.

After World War II, thousands of scientists and engineers moved to Dnipro from Moscow and other big cities to renew and develop its manufacturing sector. The authorities had to solve the housing issue quickly. Many panel buildings, built of pre-fabricated concrete blocks, arose across Dnipro in no time. The workers—just like in any other Soviet city of the time—could queue up, sign, and get an apartment for free. That’s how my grandparents, my mum and finally me ended up living in one such block of flats.

Continue reading