Interview with architect Vladimir Lojanica published in the book “Designing the profile of the future architects”.
Andreea Movila: What do you think will be those qualities relevant for a young architect to be prepared for the future?
Vladimir Lojanica: For the time being I think that this profession is developing in a certain direction which is not very familiar for the field. Apart from practical architecture, the education offered by the universities in terms of contextual investigation, wider cultural contexts, functionality, structure, and materials, everything, should be able to prepare the future professionals to survive under the new conditions: it is important to add the context of architecture, the relations with the clients, with the economy and laws, the different regulations. The future architect, really, apart from being a good specialist, has to be a good manager and a good politician.
Andreea Movila: A good politician? Do you encourage involvement in politics?
Vladimir Lojanica: Not a politician in sense of being a member of a political party, but in terms of patience, wisdom, persistency, to be able to maintain and represent their approaches and to fight for them. Unfortunately, the role of architect in our context is a little bit unclear.
Andreea Movila: Like not being relevant and respected as before?
Vladimir Lojanica: Yes, not being recognized and respected as before. Regardless the fact that a good deal of responsibility lays in hands of the architect and if you are taking such responsibilities you should be able to further react in certain contexts, and sometimes you are not allowed to. There are a lot of influences coming from different fields, especially finance, there are pressures in taking architectural decisions instead of architects: this is what I was thinking when I referred to politics, you really need to be very well positioned in order to achieve what you want.
Andreea Movila: Referring to the context, how would you find the local context compared to the international one?
Vladimir Lojanica: Primarily to the local context because abroad I think things are much more in favor of the architects.
Andreea Movila: We have seen that you have participated in a lot of competitions so you might have a broader view: do you encourage young architects to participate?
Vladimir Lojanica: Absolutely! I think this is the best and the fastest way for young architects to promote themselves. It is also the perfect method to express ideas that are not constrained by the difficulties of the real work.
Andreea Movila: And probably keeping your love for architecture and your enjoyment for bringing architecture to life.
Vladimir Lojanica: Yes, exactly, because architecture can bring you so much joy and happiness and it returns all your efforts: this is amazing about architecture. From competitions you can also learn a lot, even though you are not winning but you can learn approaches, techniques, mind expansions, everything, and that is perfect for the younger architects.
Andreea Movila: We have seen a lot of competitions and architectural projects. Can you pick your favorite? Sonia stopped at one project and said that it could be our favorite project: what about you?
Vladimir Lojanica: Each and every single one has a different story; we always try to find the exact answer for the specific topic and the precise location so they are all kind of favorite in a certain way. If I would had to judge the complexity and the size, it would be difficult because it is something that can take almost twenty years to develop and millions of struggles and battles to win in order to make this happen. But the ones that are not going to be built are the reconstruction of the National Museum, which is also a very interesting one and the participant who didn’t win the first prize: we won some kind of honorable mention in the competition for the Museum of Technique and Science.
Andreea Movila: How important is the teaching career for you and how about your involvement in teaching young architects?
Vladimir Lojanica: These are two different lives and occupations but they are going along together and the lucky thing is you can combine them. It is good to be in contact with young people because it keeps you on the edge and alert all the time, you really have to react fast, to adapt yourself to be able to respond to their new visions and everything. But, on the other hand, my professional experience and practice give me some advantages: I can transfer them something that is real architecture experience. There is a big threat in architectural educational schools: to remain isolated from the architectural practice, to be too academic, unreal, surreal and impossible. There is a connection between a practicing architect and a teacher and it is functioning well.
Andreea Movila: What do you teach your students to prepare them for the future, what was the attitude of your school and in which directions they invest the most?
Vladimir Lojanica: At the beginning of the educational process there is a certain vocabulary they need to learn: they have to be able to play music, this is compulsory and then, there is a crucial moment when they need to develop their ability to fantasize about architecture, to lose themselves. I do not bothering them with the constrains of the professional practice, they have to be creative and learn to be imaginative and use the tools they have studied about. As we are progressing to the end of the educational process we developing two directions, depending on the student: one is towards the practice, the other one is towards theory and experimentation. It is not that all of the students are going to be practicing architects so maybe they can find themselves somewhere in the later stages of the education and channel themselves more towards the directions we are offering.
Andreea Movila: Maybe, referring to music, as you said before, a singer should know how to use the instruments and the notes, maybe the instrument is the space and the is applied for the architects, but every architect has its own way of “playing” architecture.
Vladimir Lojanica: This is also the beauty of architecture because there are no impossible tasks; there are as many views upon a topic as many architects. This is not just playing because if you play constantly the same music it is not good, you really need to learn how to play jazz with the space, with the architecture, with forms, to improvise, to invent, to experiment.
Andreea Movila: Only jazz? What about classical music?
Vladimir Lojanica: It is all about the interpretation.
Andreea Movila: How important is SHARE and talking for you and how do you feel about this kind of events?
Vladimir Lojanica: A long time ago someone said that you are strong as much as your network is, so basically we have to place the influences of the network in front of the individual, which is a little bit scary but I think it is true. We are developing into systematic organized societies and it depends on your human connections. We cannot afford to be isolated individuals, this is more like a global concept and all the computers and the internet and the exchange of relations are contributing to this notion. As for the conferences, again, it is much better when you get the chance to meet people, to hear them from the beginning. These conferences are great opportunities, because they are bringing up experiences and are mixing people and spread the thoughts: this is the key aspect.
Andreea Movila: Thank you so much for your time!