Ilija M. Kolarac Endowment

Belgrade, Serbia

Ilija M. Kolarac Endowment

Ilija M. Kolarac Endowment (Serbian: Задужбина Илије М. Коларца), also known as the Kolarac People's University Building, is at 5 Students' Square in the heart of Belgrade. The building is a monument of a great cultural and historical importance and as such was declared as the immovable cultural property.

The Kolarac People's University Building was erected at the time of the raising awareness about Belgrade as the capital of the new country and the needs of the metropolitan environment for the cultural centre. The first ideas about the construction of the building for the needs of public lectures and performances according to the program of a "people's university" appeared in 1928, when the competition for the Kolarac People's University Building at the Republika Square was announced. The first prize was won by the architect Andrej Papkov. However, since the regulation of this part of the Square – between Makedonska and Francuska Street was not definitely determined, the investor gave up the construction on this terrain, and in 1929 made the decision to erect the building on the endowment plot at 5 Students' Square. No competition was announced for the new location at the Students' Square; instead of that the project was directly assigned to the architect Petar Bajalović (1876–1947), a professor at the Technical Grand School and the author of significant buildings from the period before the First World War (The Pavilion in Rome, the residential building at 31 Francuska Street etc.). The construction of the building started in 1929, as the object in the inner part of the lot, in the courtyard of already existing two-storey building on the plot of the endowment of Ilija Milosavljević Kolarac. The idea was to use the old part of the object as the place for selling the tickets for the performances. In 1930a large concert hall with the capacity of around 1200 seats was erected, and was the largest one in Belgrade at the time. The next year, the decision was made to erect a new, four-storey building facing the street. Considering the fact that the endowment did not have enough material resources, the new object at the Students' Square was intended for rent, so the business premises were designed on the ground floor. The entrance with the cloakroom connected to the concert hall at the back was also designed in that area. Mezzanine was also intended for the rent, whereas upper floors were conceived as the reading room, smaller classrooms and rooms for the administration of the Kolarac People's University. The building was completed in 1932.

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