Remake of the famous Grey Home

Preliminary and final design of new housing units at the Juvenile Detention Facility in Kruševac, Serbia, whose authors are members of the Centre for Architecture Belgrade, is nominated for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2013. The project is part of the Programme for the improvement of conditions at the Juvenile detention facility in Kruševac, financed by the European Commision.

The Juvenile Detention Facility in Kruševac is a famous institution, depicted in several movies and TV-series produced in the period of former Yugoslavia. It gained the nickname “Gray Home (Sivi dom)” from an iconic TV-series from the 1980′s, dealing with hard times of imprisoned juvenile delinquents.

The life of problematic kids growing up in this reform school did not change much over time. One of the principal reasons is that the whole detention facility was very old and in poor condition, with inadequate security capacities. Deteriorated and overcrowded spaces for lectures, work and sleeping, poor hygiene and mixing of different age groups all proved to be inadequate for the XXI century.

The European Commission provided funding for new buildings, that would essentially improve the overall conditions at the facility. Eight new housing units, an infirmary and an isolation building were designed and built, with accompanying infrastructure.

New housing units have rooms with two and three beds and a bathroom for every room. At the ground floor level of each unit, there is a large space for dining and other activities. The conditions in these units do not differ much from standard student homes.

Two smaller buildings (infirmary and isolation) are specific, with higher security measures and appropriate finishing, installations and equipment.

The biggest architectural challenge  was to reconcile the impression of austerity that architecture should leave on its users and the need for them to identify with the space where they spend most of their time. This was accomplished by using a simple architectural language based on archetype forms.

Visual concept of the facade is the repetition of a small number of strictly defined elements. The way these elements are distributed on the facades reflects the dynamic character of young people who spend their time in this facility.

The whole complex achieves a harmonic relationship with its surrounding, primarily because brick is the dominant material. This relationship with the natural surrounding is additionally emphasized in the way the disposition of buildings makes the most of the natural potentials on site.

Buildings were completed in September 2012. The design and supervision of works was carried out by SAFEGE. Authors of the architectural design are Goran Petrović and Vanja Petrović (Centre for Architecture Belgrade). Project manager was Jaša Preger.

Photo: Miroslava Andrić


Architecture, Award, Brick, Centar za arhitekturu, Kruševac, Mies van der Rohe Award

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