The Belgrade Cooperative building is one of the paradigmatic places in the city area. The building which is better known under the name of Geozavod, an institution that used it for a number of years, is situated in the central location of the Savamala zone. It was erected between 1905 and 1907, based on the designs of the architects Andra Stevanović and Nikola Nestorović. The investor was Luka Ćelović, and it was built as the Belgrade Cooperative Palace – a joint stock company engaged in banking and insurance activities. By the decision of Belgrade’s Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments, the building was granted the status of cultural heritage and it represents cultural property of exceptional significance.
However, for years the building was utterly neglected, and questions like what was the current purpose of this building, or what could be found behind its shabby facade often remained only in the heads of the passers-by who might have had fragmentary memories of New Year celebrations, parties, festivals held inside, or films recorded in the deserted interior of the building. Despite this, almost every citizen of Belgrade was, at the mention of Geozavod, ready to claim that this building was the most beautiful in the city. What makes this building the most beautiful of all?
Places are not firmly grounded within certain identities that are attributed to them. They can also be seen as a process within which they are constantly redefined, re-understood and re-positioned in the public domain, in terms of the activities related to them. So, how can we define a place like the Belgrade Cooperative building? Left to decay, partially vacated, occasionally used for various commercial events, and with an aura of cultural property of great significance, the building, as a social and political indicator and a kind of social and archeological terrain, opens up a space for exploration and discovery of possible interpretations. Through the interventions and interpretations of the artists, the exhibition entitled “The Most Beautiful Building” deals both with the exploration of possible narratives hidden behind the remains of the accumulated layers of history of the entire 20th century and the attitude of the state and society towards heritage, history and legacy.