Documenting the destruction of modern heritage: Semantic data modelling

Aleksandar Staničić*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


The past few decades have witnessed destruction of the modern architecture and heritage, especially in post-socialist countries torn by various active or passive conflicts, on an unprecedented scale. In former Yugoslavia, for example, the damaged modernist architecture fell into a vortex of ideological and semantic battles, hasty privatizations, biased media coverage, and the deeply polarized public opinion — all of which caused for some buildings to remain in ruinous state up until today. The distinctive symptoms of this process — contested ownership, private takeover of communal resources and unbridled investment plans — reflect in the urban sphere through appropriation of public spaces, erasure of historical architectural styles, or even failure to produce (re)construction at all. Failing to understand and address these phenomena may lead to irreparable devastation of modern architecture that has already been severely damaged in an act of calculated violence. Complex investigation into modalities in which transitional processes influence the transformation of cities requires new methods of documenting and cross-referencing multiple architectural sources and histories. My paper will focus on the dual methodology I implement in my research: documentation of big data sets collected through a digital web-platform, and development of “semantic data models,” designed to expose hidden relationships between different actors that participate in the transformation and destruction of modernist heritage. The main objectives of this research project are (1) to develop new research scenarios for management and interpretation of the big collections of architectural documents, (2) to expand the value of modern architecture to broader circles of the society, especially to general people other than the experts in architecture, and (3) to re-examine existing and develop new interdisciplinary protocols whose goal is to impede the continued destruction of modern architecture.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication16th International Docomomo Conference Tokyo Japan 2020+1 Proceedings - Inheritable Resilience
Subtitle of host publicationSharing Values of Global Modernities
EditorsAna Tostoes, Yoshiyuki Yamana
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-4-9047-0076-1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event16th International Docomomo Conference Tokyo Japan 2020+1 - Tokyo, Japan
Duration: 29 Aug 20212 Sep 2021

Publication series

NameInheritable Resilience: Sharing Values of Global Modernities - 16th International Docomomo Conference Tokyo Japan 2020+1 Proceedings


Conference16th International Docomomo Conference Tokyo Japan 2020+1


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