Aleksandar Deroko (Cyrillic: Александар Дероко; September 4, 1894 in Belgrade - November 30, 1988 in Belgrade) was a famous Serbian architect, artist, and author. He was a professor of the Belgrade University and a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
His great grandfather was a Venetian by the name of Marco de Rocco, who moved to Dubrovnik and married a local woman. Aleksandars' grandfather, Jovan, came to Belgrade to be an art teacher. On mothers' side, his great uncle was Jovan Djordjevic, the founder of the Serbian national theatre in Novi Sad. He was also related to the famous Serbian writer Stevan Sremac.
During his childhood years, his family lived in his great uncles' house, in Knez Mihailova street, in the center of Belgrade. He wasn't a very good student in elementary and secondary school, in fact he barely managed to graduate. As he said in his biography, he preferred boating on the river Sava, than studying. Before the World War I, he enrolled in Technical Faculty of the University of Belgrade.
World War I
In the beginning of the World War, he volunteered in artillery, but was transferred to Skoplje to join the battalion of 1300 corporals and was made a sergeant. As he was an aeronautical pioneer before the war, he was transferred in to the newly formed Serbian Royal Air Force. He was sent to France for training in the 1915, and thus escaped the retreat of Serbia in the autumn and winter of that year. His squadron joined the recovered Serbian army on the Salonika Front, where he fought until the end of the war and the liberation of Serbia.
He studied architecture in Rome, Prague, Brno and he graduated in Belgrade in 1926. With a French government scholarship he studied in Paris, where he made friends with Picasso, Sava Šumanović, Rastko Petrović, Le Corbusier and others who lived then in Paris. In the early 1930s he became a full professor at the Architectural Faculty in Belgrade. He taught Medieval and Byzantine architecture. He made a project, along with the Bogdan Nestorović, for the Temple of Saint Sava in that period, and in the 1935 the work on it began. He was an author of many books, most famously „Medieval Castles on the Danube“ (1964) and „Mischiefs around Kalemegdan“ (1987).
- A ондак је летијо јероплан над Београдом (An' then a plane flew o'er Belgrade), Aleksandar Deroko, 1983. Belgrade, page 310.
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