When The Small Office Building and Tall Pines won the Collegium Artisticum award, the jury that selected it couldn’t have been more right. Why? Because it perfectly represents the state of and epitomizes all that is great in contemporary Bosnian architecture. It is small, it is a product of chance, it is completely unassuming, it is architecture of making do and getting by. It is architecture of struggle, architecture born out of defiance.
Because creating good architecture here is hard, much harder than in regulated societies. The level of investment in construction is low, the quality of workmanship even lower due to “skills drain”, and the interest of investors in good architecture is abysmally low.
The setting and the process of how the building was actually constructed is typical Bosnian low-effort, low-investment, low-expectations architecture. It was supposed to be just another addition, purely functional, something architects do just to pay the bills. But Ms. Vedina and her team transformed all those weaknesses into strengths.
With what little they had, they succeeded in transforming a nondescript ruin into a small office building beautifully integrated into its surroundings. By adapting, reusing and recycling, they clearly show their respect for the site, respect for the existing structure, however humble it may have been. It is not a technological marvel or a high concept design. Just an honest, simple building that creates a pleasant atmosphere. What more can we ask? An award well deserved.