PHOTO | In 2026, the Universal Hall will open its doors to visitors, modernized, but with about 300 fewer seats.

Universal Hall / Photo: "Free Press" / Dragan Mitreski

In relation to the remarks of the mayor Danela Arsovska that the project is unsafe, the designer Bujar Mucha claims that the project's shortcomings in terms of security neither existed nor will exist.

After a week after excavators entered and started clearing the area near the Universal Hall from all the garbage and construction waste left two years after the reconstruction stopped, today the Minister of Culture Bisera Kostadinovska-Stojchevska announced that the reconstruction is finally continuing.

According to expectations, the construction works will last about three years, so sometime towards the end of 2026, the cult hall should be reopened to visitors.

Bisera Kostadinovska-Stojchevska / Photo: "Sloboden Pechat" / Dragan Mitreski

The Universal Hall has an emotional value for the people of Skopje and for the audience. Skopje misses her, artists and cultural workers miss her. We know that from the past years and we could not continue to let this building fall into disrepair. Motivated precisely by the significance of the Universal Hall, as well as by the silence and inertness of the City of Skopje, the Government and the Ministry of Culture decided to take over the responsibilities so that we can finally approach the reconstruction without a stoppage and enable the building to be functional again - indicated the Minister of Culture , who added that funds have been provided for the overall reconstruction.

Universal Hall / Photo: "Free Press" / Dragan Mitreski

The estimated value for the execution of the construction works and for the supervision of the reconstruction of the Universal Hall is slightly more than one billion denars or about 16 million euros. The investor is the Ministry of Culture, and the contractor is the company "Universal Balkan", which more than two years ago was hired by the City of Skopje to restore the building. According to the contract, the contractor has an obligation to complete the first phase of the reconstruction, which includes the reconstruction of the facade and the roof, within 90 days. 120 million denars have been provided from the state budget for the construction of the hall this year, and 2025 denars each for 2026 and 443.818.000.

We know what the development of culture means, and it is not possible without this multifunctional facility. This hall belongs to everyone, the artists, the cultural actors, and above all the audience. Therefore, our mission in the next three years will be to arrange this space as befits Skopje. It is an honor, but I also feel a great responsibility that the entire process of reconstruction takes place professionally, expertly and dedicatedly, the way we strive to promote culture - stressed Kostadinovska-Stojchevska.

Universal Hall / Photo: "Free Press" / Dragan Mitreski

The reconstruction is carried out according to the project of "Megaron Engineering". Designer Bujar Mucha explained that the project has been completed in all its phases since 2021, and now it is available to contractors to complete the first phase, and then through tendering to continue with what is the technical phase and interior. According to him, the stage and the audience area will be completely modernized, but the number of seats will be reduced by about 300 due to the new architectural regulations, but also from the aspect of fire protection.

Universal Hall / Photo: "Free Press" / Dragan Mitreski

Regarding the remarks by the mayor Danela Arsovska that the project is unsafe, Mucha claims that the project's shortcomings in terms of security have neither been nor will be.

The project has been passed twice through all institutions that audit and give opinions. Like every reconstruction, there was a need for one or two more girders, which together with the supervision we agreed, we redesigned the entire part around the statics, we again received a positive revision and another positive opinion from IZIIS - stressed the designer.

He does not believe that due to atmospheric influence, any serious damage to the construction occurred in the past period while the construction was stopped.

By the way, today's marking of the continuation of the reconstruction was attended by the mayor of Centar Municipality, Goran Gerasimovski, the former Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski, as well as representatives from the contractor and the supervisor.

Universal Hall / Photo: "Free Press" / Dragan Mitreski

The reconstruction of the Universal Hall is a "headache" for both the City of Skopje and the Government

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