Svetlana Kana Radević’s architecture is a radical act of mediation. Rising to prominence in post-war Yugoslavia, her buildings speak on all scales, engaging geo-political and social complexities. Drawing from knowledge of materiality and vernacular traditions within her native Montenegro (formerly Yugoslavia), her work filters modernism’s globalized forces through an intimate, place-based lens. Radević’s civic spaces re-centered provincial knowledge and facilitated a socially-progressive public sphere within the Yugoslav socialist state.
At age 29, Radević became the youngest and only woman to receive the national Yugoslavian Borba Award for Architecture in 1968 for her design of Hotel Podgorica. Prominent projects such as the Podgorica Bus Terminal, Petrovac Apartment Building, and Monument to Fallen Fighters express Radevic’s commitment to generating a symbiosis between civic engagement and landscape design through the use of local building materials, bold forms, and generous proportions. Radević articulated her own cross-cultural practice, working simultaneously between the United States, Japan, France, Russia, and Yugoslavia, where she eventually returned for the remainder of her career.
The 2022-23 conference proceedings will call on the discipline with timely topics and inquiries, such as What is architecture’s role in times of social and political transformation? How can architecture re-center local systems of power, collective memory, and vernacular tradition? Disrupting the dichotomy between periphery and center while standing as one of the most avant-garde voices of Yugoslavian architecture, Radević’s legacy raises questions that are as pressing now as they were during her lifetime.
Organized by Womxn in Design and Architecture (WDA), a graduate student group formed in 2014 at Princeton University School of Architecture, this annual conference celebrates the work and legacy of a pivotal architect or designer with contributions from international historians and scholars, in addition to artists, curators, and practitioners. Read more about the conference series here.
WDA conferences are made possible by the Jean Labatut Memorial Lectures in Architecture and Urban Planning Fund at Princeton University.