Niš suffered a lot during its history, both at the hands of the conquerors, at the hands of allies and domestic “reformers” who had no mercy on the Ottoman heritage, nor on the “capitalist” or “petty-bourgeois” taste, and reshaped the city in accordance with their “Modern” aspirations, but one of the buildings that managed to survive and resist the demolition is the Engineering Barracks, which is one of the most beautiful and monumental buildings, not only military, in Niš.
The engineering barracks was built at the turn of the 19th to 20th century, and carries the stylistic values of that time, which are reminiscences of the national style of the “glorious past” and modern tendencies of the then newly liberated city, more exactly it was built in the romantic style and represents an exception to the then prevailing styles in Serbian architecture at the turn of the century. It is interesting that the barracks building was used to accommodate soldiers until the beginning of the 21st century. It also served to house all the armies that held Niš from its construction until today.
Until 2007, the Engineering Barracks was used as a facility for the accommodation and training of soldiers of the YPA technical service, later the Yugoslav Army, the Army of Serbia and Montenegro and, finally, the Serbian Army. It had the name “Filip Kljajić”, which it owes to the national hero from the Second World War, Filip Kljajić Fića.
The Design for the barracks was done by the Belgrade architect Danilo Vladisavljević (1871—1923). In the period from 1898 to 1921, Vladisavljević was the architect in charge of the Ministry of the Serbian Army. It can be said that Vladisavljević reached his peak here, and that the Engineering Barracks is his most significant work. Apart from this, Vladisavljević designed the Military Hospital in Belgrade, as well as the building of the Export Bank in Terazije and the Prometna Banka in Knez Mihajlo street.
The foundation stone for the engineering barracks was set on June 10, 1899, at ceremonies attended by King Alexander Obrenović and his father King Milan, the liberator of Niš. The construction of the barracks was completed in the autumn of 1900. It was a novelty and refreshment for Niš in the architectural sense, but it also represented fine arts and artistic progress for the entire Serbian architecture. Since it was built for the needs of the army, its symbolism is clear – it is a stylized castle, with corner, polygonal towers, crenelated at the top and cornices in the attic. “In terms of stylistic characteristics, extraordinary plaster and monumentality, the building of the Engineering Barracks represents one of the “purest romantic buildings “in the newer architecture of Serbia,” experts believe.
There are four ornaments on the south and north sides of the building as decorations, which show the hallmark of the then army branch of combat engineering. The interior of the court was completely renovated a few years ago, and a tender for the renovation of the interior of the rest of the building is underway. Renovation of the exterior is planned. As it is a military facility, no entry is allowed into the building.
This project was supported by the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia.