1954: Belgrade Fair, Hall 1 – Belgrade, Serbia
Innovation: Pre-stressed concrete dome
Location: Belgrade, Serbia
By: Branko Žeželj and Milorad Pantović
The Belgrade Fair Hall 1 was the world’s largest dome between 1957 and 1965 and remains Europe’s largest dome, as well as the world’s largest prestressed concrete dome. It spans 109 m with a maximum ceiling height of 30.78 m and total area of 21,280 sq m. It includes an arena, ground floor, and three galleries which all serve as exhibition spaces, and it also houses office space in a basement level [1, 2].
The architects, Branko Žeželj and Milorad Pantović, used prestressed concrete to overcome the tension that results from a bending load. The process effectively balances out the bending loads, allowing for larger concrete beams and spans, producing a larger dome in this application. In addition to achieving such a sizable dome from concrete, the external exhibition walls are made of glass, indicating the strength and intricacies in the building’s structural design. As seen in the images above, the roof is not solid concrete similar to the Pantheon but rather many curved concrete beams, further lessening the load .
The Hall is a descendant of domes such as the Pantheon and is a forerunner of domes such as Cowboys Stadium, which currently holds the record for the world’s largest dome .