concrete

Hotel Ezüstpart – Siófok, Hungary

Since the Eighties the Hotel Ezüstpart, “Silver Beach”, has been one of the most popular holiday spots on the shores of lake Balaton – both for local and foreign tourists.

The hotel was built between 1978 and 1983 by Pécs-born architect Ernő Tillai, a prize-winning designer who had a pioneering role in Hungarian urban planning after World War II.

The huge building, also dubbed Cheese House, features a distinctive shell-like façade. The exposed concrete balconies shape an aesthetically sophisticated wavy grid.

Socialist Modernism time capsule until the end of 2017, the Ezüstpart has recently undergone a major modernization and refurbishment process, losing a large part of its retro charm.

Hotel Ezüstpart, concrete façade Impossible Black & Orange Duochrome / Polaroid 636 Closeup

Hotel Salyut – Kiev, Ukraine

Icon of Socialist Modernism in Kiev, the Salute hotel was designed by Ukrainian architect Abraham Miletsky (also known for his dramatic, odd Crematorium in the Park of Memory) and built on the right bank of the Dnepr river between 1982 and 1984.

Named after – and looking alike – a series of Soviet space stations, the building should have been several floors higher (hence the massive base) but bureaucratic issues led to a shortening.
A spiral ramp runs all along inside the cylindrical reinforced concrete shape, connecting the 89 rooms.

Hotel Salute Polaroid B&W 600 Film Color Frames - Expired Film / Polaroid 636 Closeup
Hotel Salute Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
Hotel Salute Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
Hotel Salute Polaroid B&W 600 Film / Polaroid Supercolor 670AF
Hotel Salute Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
Hotel Salute Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort

Genex Tower – Belgrade, Serbia

Zapadna Kapija Beograda, the Western City Gate of Novi Beograd, was designed by renowned Serbian architect Mihajlo Mitrović in Brutalist style.

The béton brut building was erected in 1980 in Bloc 33 of the new planned municipality as a modern gate to the city for people arriving from Belgrade airport.

The two towers of the raw concrete skyscraper are connected on the highest floors by a two storey-corridor leading to a revolving restaurant on the top – which has never been rotating and is not in use anymore.

The higher side is a 30 floors-residential building; the lower used to host the headquarters of Genex (hence the nickname), a state-owned enterprise dealing with trades between Yugoslavia and the USSR.
While the first one is still in use, the latter stays empty and abandoned.

Kula Geneks – Between the towers Polaroid B&W 600 Film / Polaroid Supercolor 670AF
The residential building and the rotating restaurant Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
The office building Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
The residential building and the rotating restaurant Polaroid B&W 600 Film / Polaroid Supercolor 670AF
Between the towers Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
Residential building – Side view Polaroid B&W 600 / Polaroid Supercolor 670AF
Office building – Side view Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort

Buzludzha, Bulgaria

Among the most iconic flying saucers in the world, this béton brut monster overtops the landscape of Stara Planina, halfway between Plovdiv and Veliko Tărnovo.

Its story dates back to the early Seventies, when a fundraising among Bulgarian people was promoted by the government: a party house had to be built on Buzludzha peak.

Architect Georgi Stoilov (later also designer of the Arch of Liberty in the Beklemeto Pass) came up with the idea of a gigantic brutalist ufo landed on the top of the mountain – plus an adjoining majestic tower proudly sporting two embellished glass red stars, alleged to be among the biggest in the whole Eastern Bloc.

The raw concrete spaceship was inaugurated on 23th of August 1981. The monument was public and available for free.

Massive crowds went to admire the grandeur of the brand new building: the magnificent view from the ribbon windows on the deck, the extra-large hammer and sickle on the dome, the mosaics on the round huge hall – on one side Marx, Engels and Lenin, opposite Blagoev, Dimitrov and the General Secretary Zhivkov, even though at that times still alive and ruling.

Unfortunately, the luck of Buzludzha memorial was very short.

In use only for 8 years, in 1989 it was abandoned to its destiny following the collapse of People’s Republic of Bulgaria.
The Monument House of Bulgarian Communist Party was left to rot, becoming one of the most beloved urban exploration destinations of the Balkans.

Its fate is still unclear.

Buzludzha Memorial Impossible Black & Red Duochrome / Polaroid 636 Closeup
Buzludzha Memorial Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
Buzludzha Memorial – The dome Fujifilm instax mini / Leica Sofort
Buzludzha Memorial – The observation deck Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
Buzludzha Memorial – The observation deck Impossible Black & Red Duochrome / Polaroid 636 Closeup
Buzludzha Memorial Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
Buzludzha Memorial Impossible Black & Red Duochrome / Polaroid 636 Closeup
Buzludzha Memorial – The observation deck Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
Buzludzha Memorial – The dome Impossible Black & Red Duochrome / Polaroid 636 Closeup
Buzludzha Memorial Fujifilm instax mini / Leica Sofort

Karosta, Latvia

Karosta means in Latvian “war port” – and it couldn’t be more evident.

Between the 19th and the 20th century, the Russian Empire began to fortify Liepāja. Massive coastline batteries were raised along its northern shore in order to prevent potential attacks from the Germans. The base hosted several submarines and many warships of the Imperial Navy.

Nevertheless, on November 1908 the fort was declared a tactical failure. It was completely demobilised and partially blown up – its solid concrete walls, yet almost intact, crumbling in one piece into the sea.

As a highly strategical point – the port doesn’t ice even during harsh winters – after World War II the fort was permanently occupied by the Soviet Armed Forces. Liepāja became a closed military city, the naval base secreted and excluded from the maps.
The Red-Banner Baltic Fleet and its nuclear weaponry stationed in Karosta until the early Nineties, when Latvia obtained its independence.

Fort de Liepāja Polaroid B&W 600 Film Color Frames / Polaroid Supercolor 670AF
Northern Fort – Soviet storage bunker Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
Northern Fort – Soviet storage bunker Polaroid B&W 600 Film Color Frames / Polaroid Supercolor 670AF
Northern Fort Polaroid B&W 600 Film Color Frames / Polaroid Supercolor 670AF
Fort de Liepāja Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort
Northern Fort – Soviet storage bunker Polaroid B&W 600 Film Color Frames / Polaroid Supercolor 670AF
Northern Fort Fujifilm instax mini black / Leica Sofort