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The Concept of Synthesis in Yugoslav Socialist Society – Synthurbanism of Vjenceslav Richter

Danica Stojiljković
Institute for Multidisciplinary Research

The avant-garde inclinations in the socio-political and cultural milieu of Yugoslav socialism postulated the concept of synthesis as the central theme in architecture and visual arts. This was facilitated by the critique of functionalist and formal concepts and by promoting ideas of organic systems that balance natural and built environments and are unsustainable outside the context of integrity. Vjenceslav Richter was probably the most persistent in developing the concept of synthesis among Yugoslav architects, proposing a global, holistic and systematic approach. In the early 1960s, Richter used experimental models to explore spatial-plastic relations, which led to the development of the concept that provided synthetic solutions for urban functions – synthurbanism. Richter’s theory of the organisation of living synthesis was rooted in the key concepts of socialist society – harmonious relations between individuals and the collective and human as an integrated biological and social being. The premise of this study is that the original ideological agenda of Yugoslav Socialism based on the values of Marxist humanism provided a comprehensive social and philosophical context for the concept of synthesis. This study aims to describe a broader context of synthetic thought in Yugoslav society through the architectural and urbanistic ideas of Vjenceslav Richter. His utopian model is based on the premise that the environment represents a system of intertwined functions and that living space and humans are integrated into interactive processes, which show functional correlativeness in achieving sustainable urban living.

synthesis, synthurbanism, Vjenceslav Richter, Marxism, self-management socialism

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This research was financially supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia, grant number 451-03-9/2021-14/200053.


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