Aleksandar Bede examines the work of the architects Sibin Djordjević and Milena Stanković Djordjević. The couple who were the first post-war generation of Yugoslav modernists moved to Stuttgart/Germany in 1963 to spend the rest of their careers there.
Sibin Djordjević (1926-2013) and Milena Stanković Djordjević (1924-2015) belonged to the first post-war generation of students that graduated from the Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade/Yugoslavia, in 1950. At the time the country was not only in the process of post-war reconstruction, but a whole new socialist society had to be redesigned, including its architecture. This was the context in which Milena and Sibin met and began their collaboration. They were employed by the state and ended up in Novi Sad in 1953, where they were given chief positions in one of the municipal architectural studios. In the following decade they designed some of the most prominent examples of the international modernist and functionalist architecture in the city. Through colleagues in West Germany, Sibin and Milena seized the opportunity to move to Stuttgart in 1963, where they started working and stayed for the rest of their lives. They worked for the state, designing buildings such as colleges, boarding schools, and other public facilities in towns surrounding Stuttgart, well into the 1980’s, until they retired. They remained unknown in Germany due to their public clerk status, which prevented them from having the sole authorship over their designs and favored the public institution as the author. This was in stark contrast to their previous experience in Yugoslavia, where, although having worked for the state as well, they had a certain public figure status, often featured in the local newspapers and interviewed about ongoing construction projects.
Aleksandar Bede, while in fellowship at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart in autumn 2013, has gone to meet Milena Stanković Djordjević. Her husband Sibin has passed away just shortly before. From the initial conversations with Milena, Aleksandar has developed a 2-year research about the lives and work of her and Sibin. The research included collecting archival materials, visiting project sites, and maintaining communication with Milena, to get her story. This book is the result of his research. It features the catalog of their body of work, both in Yugoslavia and in West Germany. The legacy of Sibin and Milena is generated from within the community and for the community. It is in these relationships and stories that architecture of public buildings represents the material infrastructure of the society. The quality of such architecture is the fact that it has become a non-intrusive backdrop, functioning as a radiator of urbanity in its built environment.