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PRINT November 2019

ON SITE

CITY OF DREAMS

Museum of Contemporary Art, Skopje, North Macedonia, ca. early 1970s.

ON JULY 26, 1963, a 6.1-magnitude earthquake leveled roughly 80 percent of Skopje, now the capital of the recently christened country of North Macedonia, but then known as the third-largest city in Yugoslavia. An unprecedented international outpouring of support in the disaster’s wake allowed the city to rebuild at the edge of the architectural vanguard, with an ultramodern aesthetic and an urban layout partially developed by Kenzō Tange, the elder statesman of the Metabolism movement. A half century later, Skopje’s Museum of Contemporary Art, an institution forged during the reconstruction, remains one of the last bastions of Brutalism, as one by one the city’s visionary building complexes and generous public spaces have been devoured by “Skopje 2014,” an omnivorous urban-planning initiative that has remade the place into a kind of Neoclassical Balkan Las Vegas. Over the past

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