Cultural Echoes and its affiliated architects and members attended a meeting with the mayor of the Karposh municipality, Stefan Bogoev, and his office staff. This was a follow-up meeting after the first one, held in April 2019, which initiated an interest for cooperation between the municipality, Cultural Echoes and the Association of Sports Veterans of Macedonia towards the renovation of an abandoned sports hall.
The purpose of the meeting was to present two concept solutions for the renovation of the sports hall “Partizan”. The hall’s interior has become dilapidated following years of neglect by the object’s concessionaire. Furthermore, the roof has fallen in partial disrepair, causing water seepage resulting in mold and moisture on the walls.
Tomás Romero Talley (Spain) presented his concept solution developed in collaboration with Mateus Sartori (Brazil) and Office AAR+T (Spain). Their proposal was made with the assistance of Graphic Designer Sofija Cvetković and local Macedonian Architects. Altogether offering a proposal resulting of in depth analysis of the history of the space and the needs of the citizens.
Architects Ivona Krsteska (licensed in Macedonia) and Marija Gelmanovska presented their concept solution the renovation of the sports hall, which had been developed with the help of Ana Grkovska and Aleksandar Kochovski.
Both of the solutions presented to the mayor’s office today were based on measurements and analysis of the sports hall taken by architects affiliated with Cultural Echoes in April 2019. Their assessment, as well as previously-made assessment of the hall’s architect Trajko Dimitrov, suggests that in its current state the object is very able to stand renovations.
The sports hall “Naum Naumovski Borche”, also known as “Partizan”, has played an important role in the lives of many residents of Skopje. The hall was built following the 1963 earthquake, as the result of a donation from the people of France. The hall and its yard had been a proving grounds for hundreds of athletes who have competed in the former Yugoslavia, as well as continental and international competitions in gymnastics, running, archery and other sports.
The loss of the sports hall “Partizan” has been to the displeasure of thousands of residents of the Karposh municipality. Presently, it is a dark spot located next to an attractive object – the Skopje City Mall – which draws thousands of shoppers each day.
It is suspected that the current concessionaire of the hall has allowed it to become abandoned with the intention of using the parcel for the construction of a residential building – a lucrative business in Skopje and Macedonia, which is at the same time decried as prone to corruption and in disregard of spatial planning principles.
Activists have been raising concerns repeatedly that there should be a moratorium of new buildings or that new buildings must be in line with these principles in order if the residents of Skopje are to enjoy the dearly needed natural flow of air coming from the river Vardar and from the mountain Vodno (1100m), at the southern edge of the city of Skopje.
The renovating of the sports hall Partizan into a modern and multi-functional sports and recreation center will keep in place an object that has a historic and representative value. If the parcel remains an objective of lucrative interests, it will be used for the construction of a residential/commercial building, or it will remain a dark spot in an urban neighborhood.
The mayor of the Karposh municipality, Stefan Bogoev, stated that his office is intent on returning the sports hall back to the municipality’s rule and away from the concessioner. According to the mayor, the process for the hall’s renovation will be initiated once the courts have ruled in favor of the municipality’s management of the object.