Architecture Publications

Evocations of Byzantium in Zenitist Avant-Garde Architecture

Jelena Bogdanović, Iowa State University

Published in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 75 No. 3, September 2016; (pp. 299-317) DOI: 10.1525/jsah.2016.75.3.299. © 2016 by the Society of Architectural Historians.


Evocations of Byzantium in Zenitist Avant-Garde Architecture considers references to Byzantium in the architecture and philosophy of Zenitism, an Eastern European avant-garde movement founded by Ljubomir Micić in 1921. In this article, Jelena Bogdanović analyzes the visionary projects for the Zeniteum, designed by the only architect member of the Zenitist group, Jo Klek (Josip Seissel), as a singular example of Byzantine-modernist architecture, which incorporated aspects of Byzantine total design, spirituality, and aesthetics of dematerialization. She outlines the ways Zenitist theories and visionary drawings privileged the “Byzantine” dichotomy of a dome and a wall over Western European trabeated architecture while also deviating from the historicist, neo-Byzantine architectural style popular in Eastern Europe. Zenitism used indirect evocations of the Byzantine to create a dynamic Byzantine-modernist architecture, the study of which enriches discourse on tradition and the avant-garde in architecture.