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The BIGZ building (Serbian: Зграда БИГЗ-а, Zgrada BIGZ-a) is a building in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. It is one of the most famous architectural landmarks of Serbian modern architecture. In recent times it represents a significant cultural, artistic and social spot.
The BIGZ building is located at 17 Bulevar vojvode Mišića, in the Mostar section of the Senjak neighborhood, right west from the Mostar looped interchange on the Highway Belgrade–Niš. Just east of the building is the hotel Radisson Blue Old Mill Hotel, declared a cultural monument in 1987. Across the Bulevar vojvode Mišića, the facilities of the Belgrade Fair are located.
With its height and monumentality, it dominates the skyline and presents a reference point not only for the neighbourhood, but for the whole right Sava bank. It is also clearly visible from the highway and is a welcoming message for tourists and commuters entering old section of Belgrade from the New Belgrade direction via highway and its Gazela Bridge.
The building was constructed from 1934 to 1941. It was specifically designed by Dragiša Brašovan as a printing and publishing facility, built for the National Printing Institution of Yugoslavia.
After World War II ended, the Belgrade's Publishing and Graphics Institution (Beogradski izdavačko-grafički zavod, abr. BIGZ) was founded and seated in the building, hence the building was subsequently named after it. At that time, it was the largest printing company in the Balkans, printing mostly pocket books in huge numbers.
From the late 1940s to the 1980s, the company employed more than 3,000 workers. After the social and economic crisis of the early 1990s, lack of funding left the building mostly unused and neglected. By the turn of the millennium it has slowly began to get occupied by few small businesses. Its brutalist industrial design, big rooms and hallways, its isolation and relative distance from residential buildings has greatly attracted many young artists, designers, architects, musicians and DJs.
The BIGZ company was the building's majority owner until 2007, when businessman Petar Matić, owner of MPC, purchased BIGZ from the state for 310 million dinars, or €3.87 million at that current prices. There are also other, minority owners, with the 80:20 ratio in favor of Matić.
The building has a total floor area of 25,000 m2 (270,000 sq ft), with additional 10,000 m2 (110,000 sq ft) of corridors and has been neglected for decades..
As of 2018, its units currently house printing offices, warehouses, music and art studios, night clubs, a capoeira school, radio-stations, a cultural center, a circus, etc. Among its more famous tenants is Čekaonica BIGZ, a jazz club. Since it contains such cultural, social and artistic diversity and richness, it somewhat unofficially became a centre of Belgrade's art life.
The BIGZ building is a very significant place for New Serbian Scene. It is home to the best Serbian rock and roll band Vizelj. Many lesser bands also practice in the building such as: The Schtrebers, DžDž, Metak Za Zlikovca, Stuttgart Online, Autopark, Petrol, Repetitor, Sinestezija, Tobija, The Branka, Damjan od Resnika, Bolesna Štenad, Brigand, Figlio Di Puttana, Vox Populi, Dažd, S.A.R.S., Very Heavy Sars, Pozdravi Kevu, White City Massive, and many others. Musicians of the BIGZ building have founded an organization called "Manekeni bigza" (fashion models of BIGZ), and they organize several festivals like "Festivalito" and "Bigz na Povetarcu" (BIGZ on a breeze).
Most recently the BIGZ building is in the process of inclusion to Docomomo International project's list for protection and preservation as a cultural monument of modernist architecture.
Canadian company "Tippin Corporation", which is specialized in purchasing and renovating old edifices in central and eastern Europe, was interested in buying the BIGZ building. They planned to restore the façade to its full splendor, while the interior will be adapted in the modernized space for artists and musicians. Ultimately, they failed to reach an agreement with Matić regarding the price.
Austrian company "Soravia" adapted the neighboring ruins of the Old Mill into the modern Radisson Blue hotel, building three additional glass towers (two for the hotel, one for rent) next to the BIGZ building. Hotel was open in December 2014 and since 2015 "Soravia" has been negotiation with Matić and minority owners to purchase the BIGZ building, too. In January 2018, mayor of Belgrade Siniša Mali announced that "Soravia" will buy the edifice and that reconstruction will be entrusted to the architect Daniel Liebeskind. Austrian company stated that the purchase might be concluded in February and that they plan to adapt the building into apartments, galleries, restaurants, business and artistic space.
- Daliborka Mučibabić (30 January 2018). "Ako "Soravija" kupi BIGZ, arhitekta Libeskind preuređuje zdanje" [If "Soravia" is to purchase the BIGZ, architect Liebeskind will reconstruct it]. Politika (in Serbian). p. 14.
- Tamara Marinković-Radošević (2007). Beograd - plan i vodič. Belgrade: Geokarta. ISBN 86-459-0006-8.
- Beograd - plan grada. Smedrevska Palanka: M@gic M@p. 2006. ISBN 86-83501-53-1.
- Docomomo International – Srbija
- Building Bigza - revive the koles on Senjak
- Read / Write BIGZ: Phenomenology of the building
- Udruženje "Manekeni of BIGZ"
- Through the Belogradical melody, right in the rudder of BIGZ
- A photographic story about BIGZ by the French photographer Aurélien Cohen