Selma Harrington, Branka Dimitrijević, Ashraf M. Salama



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 year siege of Sarajevo. This paper introduces 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 20th century architectural heritage. 


Bosnia and Herzegovina; conflict and identity narratives; Modernist architecture; public function; resilience; reuse of architectural heritage

Full Text:



Benson, G. (2000). The Architect's Vision. Designing for Context and Content. In J. Fladmark (Ed.). Heritage and Museums, Shaping National Identity (pp. 17-28). Aberdeen: The Robert Gordon University.

Čausević,A., Kudimović, L., Rustempašić, N. (2014). Structural interventions on the modern heritage. SAHC2014 – 9th International Conference on historic constructions (p. 12). Mexico City: F.Pena & M.Chavez (Eds.).

Coleman, N. (2005). Utopias and Architecture. Milton Park, Abingdon & New York: Routledge.

Coleman, N. (2014). The Problematic of Architecture and Utopia. Utopian Studies, 25 (1), 1-22.

Cultureshutdown. (1 February 2013). "Day of Museums Solidarity". [Campaign call], Retreived from: Day of Museum Solidarity – March 4

Donia, R. J. (2004). ‘Sarajevo Archives and Cultural memory under Fire: destruction and the Post-war nationalist Transformation’. Retrieved from

Falke, C. (2016). Resilience (p. 63). Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Environmental Science.

Fladmark, J.,M., (Ed.) (2000). Heritage and Museums, Shaping National Identity. Aberdeen: The Robert Gordon University.

Frampton, K. (1992). Modern Architecture. A Critical History. London: Thames and Hudson.

Freire, P. (1997). Pedagogy of the Heart. New York: Continuum (O.V. 1995).

Gafijczuk, D. (2013). Dwelling Within: The Inhabited Ruins of History (pp.149-170). History and Theory 52.

Goodman, J. (2014). Improvised design in the Siege of Sarajevo. A Magazine of Unexpected Creativity, (4), 42-57. Retrieved from

Government of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. (1993). Strategija Obnove. Business Magazine, 3-98. Sarajevo: Vlada RBiH i Ministarstvo za obnovu.

Habermas, J. (1984 (O.V. 1981)). The theory of communicative action. Volume I: Reason and the rationalization of society and Volume II: Lifeworld and system: A critique of functionalist reason. Boston: Beacon Press.

Harrington, S. (2013). The Politics of Memory: The Museum Sarajevo 1878-1918 and the Centenary of the Catastrophe. Unpublished MPhil Thesis. Dublin, Ireland: Trinity College Dublin.

Jancks, C., (Maksimović, S.-trans.) (1982). Moderni pokreti u arhitekturi. Beograd: IRO "Gradjevinska knjiga".

Macdonald,S.,(Ed.) (2011). A Companion to Museum Studies. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Magaš, B. (1977). Analiza dominacije intelektualnog ili senzibilnog faktora u procesu arhitektonskog stvaralaštva. [Unpublished doctorate] Doktorska teza. Zagreb: Sveučilište u Zagrebu. Arhitektonski fakultet.

Milošević, P. (1997). Arhitektura u Kraljevini Jugoslaviji. Srbinje (Rogatica): Srpsko prosvjetno i kulturno društvo "Prosvjeta".

Moravanszky, A. and Lange, T. (Eds.) (2017). Re-Framing Identities, Architecture's Turn to History, 1970-1990, East, West, Central,Re-Building Europe 1950-1990, Vol. 3. Basel: Birkhauser.

Mrduljaš,M. and Kulić, V. and Thaler,W. (2012). Modernism in-between. The mediatory architectures of Socialist Yugoslavia. Berlin: Jovis Verlag Gmbh.

Mrduljaš, M., Kulić, V. (Eds.) (2012). Unfinished modernisations Between Utopia and Pragmatism. Zagreb: UHA (Croatian Architect' Association) & Chamber of Croatian Architects (CCA).

Najdhart, J. and Grabrijan, D. (1957). Arhitektura Bosne i put u savremeno. Ljubljana: Državna založba Slovenije uz pomoć N.R. Bosne i Hercegovine i N.R. Slovenije.

Nora,P., (Ed.) (2001). “Introduction”, in Rethinking France Le Lieux de Mémoire Space, |Vol.3-. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

Perry, V. (2015). Cultural heritage protection in post-conflict Bosnia-Herzegovina: Annex 8 of the Dayton Peace Agreement. In H. Walasek (Ed.) et al. Bosnia and the Destruction of Cultural Heritage (pp. 185-204). Farnham, Surrey & Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

Pisano, U. (2012). Resilience and Sustainable Development:Theory of resilience, systems thinking and adaptive governance. Vienna: European Sustainable Development Network (ESDN).

Platform Cultureshutdown. SUMMARY OF INSTITUTIONS’ POSITIONS. The crisis of seven cultural institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the national level: Causes, Implications and Potential Solutions. (August 2012). Retrieved from

Rampley, M. (2013). 'Contested Histories: Heritage and/as the Construction of the Past: An Introduction'. In M. Rampley (Ed.). Heritage, Ideology and Identity in Central and Eastern Europe: Contested Pasts, Contested Presents (pp. 1-20). Woodbridge: The Boydel Press.

Skorupan-Husejnović, E. (2014). Arhiv BiH četiri mjeseca nakon paljenja:Crnilo zidova, smrad izgorjelog papira i vlage. Retrieved from

The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2012). Odluka o proglašenju Historijskog muzeja Bosne i Hercegovine kao nacionalnog spomenika. Sarajevo: The Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Association of Architects Sarajevo. (1993). Warchitecture. ARH, Magazine for Architecture, Town Planning and Design. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Association of Architects Sarajevo.

Ugljen Ademović, N. and Turkušić, E. (2012). “Sarajevo Marijin Dvor. The Formation of a New City Centre.” In Maroje Mrduljaš & Vladimir Kulić (Eds.), Unfinished Modernisations. Between Utopia and Pragmatism (pp. 232-245). Zagreb: UHA/CCA.

Urbicid. (2003, Juni). Dani, Bosanskohercegovački nezavisni magazin. Sarajevo, Bosna i Hercegovina: Dani.

"Wake up Europe, Sarajevo Calling". Connecting local history and international perspective. (2017, June 26-29). Memory Lab, Historijski Muzej Bosne i Hercegovine, Sudosteurope-Gesellschaft. [Programme]. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Walasek, H. (Ed.) & Carlton, R.& Hadžimuhamedović, A.& Perry, V. & Wik, T. (2015). Bosnia and the destruction of cultural heritage. Farnham, Surrey & Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

Walasek, H. (2015). Domains of Restoration: Acters and Agendas in post-conflict Bosnia-Herzegovina. In H. Walasek (Ed.) et al. Bosnia and the destruction of cultural heritage (pp. 205-258). Farnham, Surrey & Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

Wells, G. (1999). Dialogic Inquiry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Selma Harrington

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


- ISSN (Online) #1938 7806 - ArchNet-IJAR is covered by ArchNet@ MIT Libraries, Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, EBSCO, CNKI, Pro-Quest, Scopus-Elsevier, Web of Science.

- Published work in ArchNet-IJAR is licensed under Creative Commons: CC-BY--NC-ND license, see

Copyrights © Archnet-IJAR 2007-2018


Hit Counter
Visitor Hits Since 15 Jan 2014