Damjan Kokalevski
former thesis student
Curriculum vitae

Damjan is an architect, holder of BArch degree from TU Vienna and MArch degree from the Tokyo Institute of Technology. He is a PhD candidate at the chair of Prof. Philip Ursprung, Institute for the History and theory of Architecture gta/ETH Zurich and guest researcher at the Curatorial/Knowledge program of Goldsmiths University London. His dissertation investigates the rise of a new professional figure: the international planning expert, during the rebuilding of Skopje after the devastating earthquake in 1963, characterized by a comprehensive United Nations expert mission. He is co-founder of City Creative Network (CCN) and works on various initiatives, projects and research that connect urban planning, activism and city authorities. He is a contributor to the exhibition: Metabolism: The City of the Future at Mori Art Museum in Tokyo and curator of the exhibition titled Performative Archive: Skopje at gta Exhibitions, Zurich.

THESIS:

Rebuilding Skopje: International Planning Expertise as a Model 1963-1967

My dissertation investigates the master planning process of Skopje after the devastating earthquake in 1963, characterized by a comprehensive United Nations (U.N.) expert mission, and set within the geo-political context of the Cold War. The central question is whether this process of city planning generated an ad-hoc methodology that in turn proposed a model for a new professional figure: the international planning expert. Subject to this analysis is the planning work conducted at the Institute for Town Planning and Architecture Skopje (ITPA), established by the U.N. and the Yugoslav leaders for the purpose of the master planning. I propose a historical analysis of the planning process at ITPA, intended to explicitly reveal the organization of co-operation and knowledge exchange between the international and local experts. The emergence of the new professional figure is explored through three processes. First, by revealing the organizational networks of experts and their feedback loops in the intensive daily meetings. Second, through mapping the internal discussions and competences of the experts involved in the synchronous and complex planning operations. Lastly, by analysing the archiving and publication of the master plan, a document that most explicitly exemplifies the intention to produce a replicable model for action.
This thesis contributes to discussions about the internationalization of planning practices, cities as models, and the redefinition of the planning expert as a new professional figure.