The building of Geozavod in Savamala

Savamala was the elite part of the city at the time it was created and it is one of the districts that should not by bypassed during your Belgrade tour. In this area you will find many clubs like Ben Akiba, Martinez bar, Club Hype, Tranzit bar, club Mladost, club Ludost, club Radost, club Gadost, club Brankow, club Gajba, club Baraka, club Čorba cafe (fan place of rock band "Riblja Čorba"), Rob Roy and many others.     Many of the beautiful buildings in this area with their dilapidated facades are the witnesses of the “golden age” of this once elite area. The building of Geozavod is one of the most beautiful and monumental buildings that adorn the Karadjordjeva Street in the Savamala district. The building was recently restored and the original glow was returned to this architectural masterpiece.

This building was originally built for the ““Belgrade Cooperative for mutual help and savings” which was the first joint stock company that was founded in 1882. It was designed for small and medium traders, artisans and clerks. There’s Department of Banking and Insurance Department, which represented the first domestic insurance company, formed in 1897. The president of this institution was Mr. Luka Celojevic who was one of the richest people in Serbia at the beginning of the 20th century. He was a leading Serbian benefactor, a merchant, landlord and financier. He is the reason why the “Belgrade Cooperative” became one of the most successful companies in Serbia. After his death in 1929 his entire property was bequeathed to the University of Belgrade.

This angled three-winged palace was built of reinforced concrete, which was the most advanced technique of that period. It is adorned with artistically worked stone sculptures and ornaments designed by the known artist Franjo Valdman. This is the first building in Belgrade with the representative hall with a monumental staircase, the German sculptures, ceremonial hall, all of which were the works of Andrea Domenica and Bora Kovačević.

Design of the palace was entrusted to eminent Belgrade architects Andra Stevanovic and Nikola Nestorović . They had divided the responsibilities on this project; Nikola Nestorović was resolving the building base while Andra Stevanovic worked on the structural system. This building is the most important joint work of these two architects, while at the same time it is one of the best achievements of the Belgrade architecture from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. This building combines sumptuous neo-Baroque style with a functional layout of the rooms.
The front of the building is decorated with sculptures and inscriptions that show the work of the Belgrade Cooperative. At the entrance, left and right sides are carved with the dates of the start and completion of construction of the palace (1905 - 1907). Above the main door is sculpted head of the Mercury. Its front is dominated by the large glass surface, round-arched, in front of which is a balcony.  The niche is placed on the both sides of the glass surface. On the right side there is the figure of a young man with a scroll, while the left sculpture represents a woman with a beehive. These sculptures are the allegorical presentation of the Belgrade Cooperative activities. 
The facade is completed with the vases and a group of sculptures that are made of zinc sheet (unlike those in niches that are made out of artificial stone). A female figure with a crown (the personification of Serbia), together with four children's figures (personifications of different industries with symbols - fish, hammer, cloth and ears of wheat), representing the development of the economy in Serbia, that was supported by the Belgrade Cooperative. The figures are placed in front of a large metal dome.
 On the first floor, the middle part of the building contains the ceremonial hall, which includes the height of the second floor. The basis of the hall has an oval shape. The hall is made out of marble, which is decoratively painted, and as decoration gilded reliefs of female heads and plants appear. The marble columns with Ionic capitals contribute to the overall impression. Above the front door is a semicircular area that was once painted, but the picture has not been preserved. Large glass surfaces on the front window serve as a ceremonial hall. At the center of this surface are glass doors that lead to the balcony with painted art nouveau decoration.