arch-peace news and articles

23.8.09

Past or Future

1927-2009 day of its death

I called burning self identity, something that was your past it will have influence in your future.
Some of the great old buildings today they don't exist anymore because of individual benefits.
One of the last remaining distinct architectural symbols of old Prishtina, Hotel Union, was absorbed in fire this morning at approximately 2 AM.
According to police officials one person was found in the site but the causes of fire are still unknown and the investigation is ongoing.
Brigade to save the building which had its age working against it and therefore it is almost as if only the outer wall-frames remained. It is still impossible to weigh the damages and to day if the building can be saved.
This construction was designed by architect Andreas Kremer in 1927. It was a private owned building named “Skenderbeg Hotel” and this could be proved by the heads of Skenderbeg on the facade. After World War II it was named Hotel Union.
In the 90’s and again after the Kosovo War it was put under protection as a Monument of Cultural and Historic value. Regardless on this the Kosovo Trust Agency privatized it.
It makes one wonder why the actual owner of the Hotel, Aziz Tafaj although he was offered large sums of money to sell the building in order to have it destroyed to built something else and refused it, today doesn’t suspect there was anything other than a pure accident that caused the fire.
Last year there was a strong public debate whether to flatten the building cause there were different interests involved who wanted to see the building crushed down to built something else.
At the time there was a public petition singed by the citizens of Prishtina in favor of its protection.
The Hotel Union is one of the few examples of Austro - Hungarian architectural style in Kosovo.
The building was "L" shped with a surface of 500m2 on the ground and three floors .
The building was located in Mother Teresa Street, in a significant place for urban development of Prishtina.

Photo: Kastriot Sylejmani



video
Video: Dren Qerkini


1 comments:

Beatriz said...

Thanks Arlinda for sharing such sad and important information about this urban landmark in Prishtina and I am sorry for the void that this leaves in the city (architectural, cultural and otherwise). It is not unusual that edifices with such meaning and history become the centre of conflicting agendas—greed of course being one of the reasons. Quick money in the form of privatisation of public assets is a lazy and unimaginative device for too many governments around the world.

It is not clear to me what role the present owner of the Hotel, Aziz Tafaj played in all this. Do you think that he tried to save the building by not accepting to sell the building to those who wanted to demolish it?

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