Modernist architecture, conflict, heritage and resilience: the case of the historical museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Selma Harrington, Branka Dimitrijevic, Ashraf M. Salama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
57 Downloads (Pure)


Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the successor states of former Yugoslavia, with a history of dramatic conflicts and ruptures. These have left a unique heritage of interchanging prosperity and destruction, in which the built environment and architecture provide a rich evidence of the many complex identity narratives. The public function and architecture of the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, once purposely built to commemorate the national liberation in World War 2, encapsulates the current situation in the country, which is navigating through a complicated period of reconstruction and transformation after the war in 1990s. Once considered as the embodiment of a purist Modernist architecture, now a damaged structure with negligible institutional patronage, the Museum shelters the fractured artefacts of life during the three and a half years siege of Sarajevo. This paper introduces a research into symbiotic elements of architecture and public function of the Museum. The impact of conflict on its survival, resilience and continuity of use is explored through its potentially mediatory role and modelling for similar cases of reuse of a 20th century architectural heritage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-192
Number of pages15
JournalArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2017


  • modernist architecture
  • heritage buildings
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • onflict and identity narratives
  • public function
  • reuse of architectural heritage
  • resilience


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