The subject of presented work is legal construction in an illegal settlement. Since the 1990’s to the present, illegal or unregulated construction has been affecting all constructed areas in the country. Our client is a resident of the Padina urban settlement, one of the many completely illegal settlements around the city, encompassing some 100 ha of what was once planned as a green area. His decision was to be the only person to legally construct small multi-family residential buildings in a zone that lacks any public space. A total of 6 buildings have been constructed and occupied over the past 7 years. The buildings were constructed at minimum costs, with dwelling units that fall under the category of social housing. Following investor’s requests and having limited construction space, we decided on an architecture that is simple and modest in treatment. Despite not being planned as a cluster of buildings, all buildings are inter-related by open ground floors, by roofs that are atypical for such buildings, by the use of basic materials and identical openings.
Being engaged in a legal construction in an illegal settlement practically means acting outside any context. It is a slew of absurd situations that assured us that architecture is not a necessity in the local context. It is rather a product of the environment upon which we as individuals must act. Acting conscientiously, and despite the environment, a small entrepreneur has planted trees, provided parking space for each unit, followed the law, and listened to advices of our profession. That is how he has managed to create an exemplary location amidst a settlement without any ambient value.
3A Studio architectural bureau was established by Natalija Ristanovic (1976) 13 years ago. A large number of projects, such as this one, were realized with Zoran Ivković (1980), ZIArhitektura. The bureau is mainly engaged in smaller-scale projects for local clients and occasionally participates in architectural contests. The Padina residential building project was realized together with colleagues Milan Španjević (1988) and Veljko Ćirić (1987). All authors graduated from the Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade.