Boris Magaš Passes Away


Architect Boris Magaš, the author behind numerous large and significant projects, winner of myriad awards and recognitions, a long-term professor of Theory of Architecture at the University of Zagreb Faculty of Architecture and a full member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, passed away yesterday, on October 24th, in Zagreb in his 84th year.

Magaš is, among others, the author of the Split stadium Poljud, built in 1979, the hotel complex Haludovo in Krk (1970), a part of the tourist complex Solaris near Šibenik (1968), St. Nicholas Church in Rijeka (1988), a preschool in Mihaljevac in Zagreb (1973), The Freedom Museum in Sarajevo (with Šmidihen and Horvat, 1963). We covered the best Croatian hotel architecture, among which Magaš’s hotels were featured, here.

Tourist complex Solaris, Šibenik, 1968.

The hotel complex Haludovo, Malinska on Krk, 1970.

The hotel complex Haludovo, Malinska on Krk, 1970.

He spoke about those works in a recent interview in Vijenac: “If you view a museum in Sarajevo, it is a game of pure abstraction which is good, which is eternal. If you subsequently take a look at the Solaris, you’ll see the Mondrian theme that entered the landscape of Dalmatian dry stone wall. When I was starting out with free forms in Haludovo, I didn’t yet know about postmodernism, I was just searching for the next step of the way that is marked in my dissertation. After that the Split stadium followed as a mature entity of its time, clean and clear in form, while maintaining to remain high-quality in spatial terms.”

Split stadium Poljud, Split, 1979.

St. Nicholas Church in Rijeka,1988.

The Freedom Museum in Sarajevo (with Šmidihen and Horvat, 1963).

The motive for that interview was Magaš’s recently published book Architecture. An Approach to the Architectural Work” published byŠkolska knjiga, which synthesizes his theoretical musings. In the interview, Magaš touched upon the level of architectural theory in Croatia, criticism of architecture with which he was unsatisfied with, professors who were his role models, his realized projects (many of which were problematic and he even renunciates some of them), why he didn’t publish a monograph and why he didn’t exhibit his work, about contemporary architecture where he didn’t want to single anyone out… and when asked whether he has any work plans, Magaš answered: “A few months ago, when a journalist asked me if I’d rather stroll about with my grandchildren or design a stadium, I stated: I’d rather take a stroll with my grandchildren. Those are my new life philosophies… the body has left me, I’m 83 years old, but my brain is young and for that I am thank God. When you’re young, you have ambitions, you have a future, but I also ponder on Šibl’s words: the present is terrible, my future is absent, I’m ashamed of my past. All I have to say for myself is – I did all I could…“

You can read the interview here.

Likewise, listen to Boris Magaš talk on HTV about his work, firstly about the Poljud Stadium, “which is undoubtedly the strongest architecture that he created”, as he states, which also cost him his health: