Public BuildingHeritage Wreath



Client: Ensemble of folk dances and songs of Serbia “Kolo”
Lokacija: Kosančićev venac, Belgrade
Program: Public building
Gross Area: 25.000m2
Floors: 2Ug+Gf+2
Design: 2019
Status: Competition design  / public open one-stage competition
Awards: 1st prize

Author: Zabriskie
Zabriskie team: Milka Gnjato, d.i.a, Ivan Zuliani, d.i.a, Ivica Marković, d.i.a, Fedor Jurić, d.i.a, Martina Milošević, d.i.a, Dušica Plazinčić, d.i.a.
Zabriskie associates:
Acoustic: Dr Dragan Novković, d.i.e.
Program: Ana Dajić, M.A. etnolog-antropolog
Structure: Dr Miodrag Grbić, mast.inž.arh.
Theater spaces & technology: Vladimir Lalicki, d.i.a.
Landscape (softscape): Maja Đorđević, d.i.p.a.

The City’s Great Stage

The slope where the Kalemegdan fortress and the neighbouring Kosančićev venac residential area are situated, has always been the hallmark of the city.

To make this hallmark alive, we tried to master the area of the slope itself through an emphasized dialogue between the two views – one from the New Belgrade perspective looking over the Kosančićev Venac and the other way around. This has been achieved by setting up an amphitheatric stairway on the roof, leading towards the outside stage auditorium.

The entire space of the Ensemble and the Cultural Heritage Research Center is characterized by the space fluidity, transformability, interactivity, bringing the activities inside closer and more understandable to visitors.

To suggest resemblance with the building of Đumrukana (the old Customs), the main stage was painted in red. That way the body of the main stage symbolically evokes the memory of the earliest space, used for stage performance. To actually achieve the diverse use of the venue, the main stage space has been designed so that, apart from the traditional proscenium setting with 400 viewers, the stage can be transformed and used as center stage with 800 viewers auditoriums all around, or it can be transformed for a whole series of different uses – concerts, lectures, symposia, experimental dance – theatrical shows.

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Terrace level matches the level of Venac facing Karadjordjeva street as well as the level of a new pedestrian street. That way, Belgrade will finally get its long-awaited city terrace with a view of the confluence of the rivers Sava and Danube and of New Belgrade. The terrace is animated by the pavilion with a café, and an amphitheater directing visitors towards the Ensemble summer stage.


With the transformation of a traditional dance into a stage performance, folk dancers exchanged the village square for a stage – but never the one that they can call their own. The ensemble was always a guest on someone else’s stage, and has never had a chance to explore the best ways of staging the folk dance performance on a formal stage. Multi-functional hall design with adjustable platforms enabled them to express themselves in a creative way and to discover the ideal relation between the dance, the audience and the theatrical experience.


Thanks to the plain and simple structure of the building, slim poles, rotating from the ground floor up to the roof through 90 degrees, became the main feature and an indication of the building’s purpose. The jury called them dancing pillars because they bring dynamics to the structure and connect with the features and activities inside the Ensemble’s new building.

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