Castles of Serbia

The Endowment of Ilija M. Kolarac


The Endowment (Foundation) of Ilija M. Kolarac, also known as the Kolarac (People’s) University, was built on the order of the rich merchant Ilija Milosavljević Kolarac. He died in 1878, but his endowment was built only between the two world wars, from 1929 to 1932. The Foundation has a concert hall which, thanks to its acoustics, is used for classical music and is very famous as a venue for concerts.

It is interesting that the construction of the Kolarac Foundation began so that the building faces the Students Square, and everything in the garden of the one-story Endowment that existed before that. It all started in 1929, in the then modern style with art deco elements, and in 1930 the main hall and several smaller conference rooms. The plans for the building were entrusted to the architect Petar Bajalović and the building was completed in 1932. It has a façade in two colours, terracotta and brown stone, and at the top there are letters in a recognizable art-deco style, in a font typical of that time, “Ilija M. Kolarac Endowment”, while low on the facade there is an inscription “Kolarac National University”, both in Cyrillic.

In 1931, since the building had already become an important cultural centre of Belgrade, it was decided to build a new wing overlooking the street. Built in stages on irregular terrain, the building does not have a naturally developed structure, but the layout and architecture of the individual spaces directly followed the changing intentions of the investors. All in all, the building has the characteristics of moderate academicism characteristic of Belgrade at the time and does not differ in any way from many similar buildings from the same period. The building’s value lies more in the unique role it played in Belgrade culture than in its typical 1930s architecture.