The seat of the Macedonian government will get its promised Baroque façade shortly after the March 24 local elections, officials have said.After several delays, the Macedonian government’s Procurements Bureau said it was about to choose from among four domestic construction firms that have offered to carry out the revamp.
“We are opening bids. We expect to finish the procedure in a month, after which the works on the ground will commence,” Vase Donevski, the head of the bureau, said.
The exact cost of the project and the deadline for its completion remains unknown.
After transforming much of the capital in styles inspired by Classic Antiquity, the government last January asked the population to choose a new facade for its headquarters from among five proposals.
In February, they announced that people had chosen a Baroque facade, which involves a radical change to the look of the landmark glass and metal-covered building.
A start to construction has been postponed several times. The last announced date was autumn last year.
Many people have deemed the plans unacceptable, including the Association of Architects of Macedonia and the architect of the existing building, Petar Mulickovski.
The modernist structure, built in the 1970s, was loosely inspired by traditional Macedonian architecture and arose after Skopje recovered from a devastating earthquake in 1963.
As part of the grand revamp of the city known as Skopje 2014, several new, old-style buildings and monuments are already in place, or are nearly finished.
The construction of a new national theatre, museums, bridges, a foreign ministry and a concert hall are all at an advanced stage.
Dozens of large statues have also gone up in the heart of the city, including one of Alexander the Great, which is over 20 metres high and another of his father, Philip, which is equal in height. The city also now has its own triumphal arch.
Critics of the project object to both its artistic style and the high estimated price tag, which unofficially stands at €500 million thus far.