The project for reconstruction of the city of Skopje represented the occasion for world architects and urban planners to accomplish a truly world project, the collaborative project promoting the universal values of humanity achieved through the tools and instruments of architecture and collaboration. The Skopje project demonstrated the importance of architecture as a collaborative effort in a divided world by promoting the belief that the construction of the human habitat is a humane way to solve socio-political and economic obstacles of the contemporary world.
Following this idea, a number of world architects were invited to Skopje, including Kenzo Tange from Japan, Jaap Bakema and Van den Broek from Holland and Constantin Doxiadis from Greece, to contribute to this effort with their ideas, plans and designs. The reconstruction of Skopje enabled Tange to demonstrate the true potential of Metabolist architecture, Bakema’s Open Society, and Doxiadis’s Ekistics theory. They shared the belief that cities and societies can be designed and reconstructed through ideas and concepts that are inherent to architecture and urban design, and which are deeply humanistic. However, sixty years after the adoption of Kenzo Tange’s plan for the center of Skopje, the legacy of this international project led by UN remains relatively unappreciated. It was anticipated that once the reconstruction would be completed, and given the engagement of such eminent designers, the city would provide solutions to the contemporary “urban crisis”, would prescribe a cure for the “sick cities”, and show the way for the “humanization” of the built environment. Even though mostly unattained, these ambitious goals gave life to an international debate about the future of both cities and planning.
Revisiting the idea of the power of architecture and urban design as the drivers of reconstruction of the societies and bringing upfront again the ideas of international solidarity and support of cities that have been challenged by natural or man-made destructions, process of sharing the knowledge and expertise for climate crisis and war torn apart communities in a process led by international organizations is in the core of The Skopje Project Conference.