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Normal Group, Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss + Sabine von Fischer
Housing for Elderly Socialists

Normal Group for Architecture
A Brief History of Turbo Architecture, Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss

Turbo Architecture is a recently established term to classify buildings of a mutated style, a merge between medieval forms, [i.e. Byzantium] executed in imitating contemporary technological aesthetics [i.e. High-Tech]. It is also a way of describing at large architectural production during the crisis in Belgrade analogous to what 'Turbo' means in car industry, making the cars go faster and sell faster within an existing or used shell. Beyond this analogy Turbo Architecture is a direct urban expression of Turbo Folk, a highly popular genre in Serbian music of the 90.' Its particularity was a free sampling of both traditional and contemporary sources resulting as a perpetuating mix of techno rhythms and traditional melodies. The makers of Turbo Folk used
the isolation imposed on Serbia during the war in their benefit downloading and copying any music sources from any place possible, free from copyright laws that remained on the outer side of the isolation. Accordingly, during the war and the isolation of Serbia, thousands of hundreds of buildings and houses were built at a break-neck speed, even before the times of nominal reconstruction. Entire families of architectural forms of all scales from individual houses to large
complexes are now forming a new popular identity of the city. A peculiar condition in the city that underwent a political crisis and yet was rapidly expanding at the same time is the focus of this work.

Housing for Elderly Socialists

We are faced with yet another paradox concerning the growth of our global population. How can we build for a gradually aging population in Belgrade? The statistics report that in some countries more than a third of the people are older than 50. This phenomenon, not entirely depending
on the level of the country's development status (Italy and Serbia for example share the same percentage of the elderly population) will have to be addressed by architectural decisions in the future to come. Many questions and concerns are involved, however one seems to be the most
pressing: now, when the cities are getting more and more populated by a younger professional generation, which by the statistics is in the minority to the elderly one, where can the elderly feel to be a continuing part of the population?...A new Florida? A new contingent of the exported pensioners from Japan to Brazil or other 'heaven' on earth? Or another generational ghetto-like situation for the elderly like the ageing Chelsea in New York? The Eyes on the City is an alternative proposal for an elderly housing complex aimed at Belgrade's baby-boomer
generation that looks for ways to relocate and continue post-professional life in a place other than the place of professional life. A small city in a country just emerging from the recent
catastrophe, now in line to join Europe, seems perfect for such attempt in creative ageing. By using ramps, a sequence of spaces that are sometimes open and sometimes closed, a sensitive connection to the top of the overlooking hill, the architecture preserves the top of the
landscape together with the interior 'landscape' of the building. This project may be apt not only for the challenge of the '68 generation, but also for the promise of a bright future finally arriving to rescue society from the ever-deferred realization of the communist past.


Normal Group for Architecture is a collaborative office between Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss and Sabine von Fischer, founded in 1998 and based in New York and Zürich. Normal Group designed and realized the offices of Thread Waxing Space and Participant Inc., two non-profit art galleries in New York City. They were also responsible for the award-winning project - the BLUR - at the 2G Competition for the extension of the Mies van der Rohe Pavillion in Barcelona. Other prize-winning competition projects include Hotel Normal (Belgrade, 1998); tkts (New York, 1999); Kollektiv (School extension - Liechtenstein, 2000). The office has also been involved with cultural and theoretical discourse both in the form of installations (Interactive Normalization iN.02, Belgrade; Manifesta 2002, Frankfurt; Tirana Biennial, 2003) and writings (Harvard Guide to Shopping, City Fragments and contributions to journals and magazines).

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