Instead of a Manifesto

We wish to practice architecture in Serbia. Despite the trend of recession in all parts of building industry in the last few years, we wish to believe that it is time to speak up, write and work on improving the state of architecture, that is to say, on improving the state of cities of Serbia.

We shall strive to explain to the investors and developers that a design is not just one more document needed for issuing the building permit. We shall advocate the principle that not a single house can be built without an architect.

We shall encourage architects to practice architecture, but also to be active in existing or new professional institutions and organizations. We shall help students to prepare for dealing with complex engineering problems awaiting them in the future, rather than to study only marginal areas of architecture. We shall support all public manifestations, conferences and exhibitions seriously dealing with architecture and the city.

Based on very rich tradition and high achievements of Yugoslav architecture of the second half of the 20th century, as well as on contemporary examples from Europe and the World, we shall promote the principle of design quality as key for overall quality of a space, building or town quarter. Only quality design or plan, together with quality in all other phases – construction, applied materials, supervision and control – can provide, at the end of the building process, quality result or product (apartment, building, town quarter), that will also find its place in the market.

We shall work on advocating that large and important building projects are realized publicly, and that the deadlines for preparation of competition entries or designs are not absurdly short. This way, through professional competition and participation of the public, new urban quarters or public spaces of much higher quality will be produced – also more beautiful, more functional, better constructed and with longer life-cycle. And much cheaper, of course.

We shall advertise the application of contemporary technologies and new materials. As a proof that this is possible, we wish to remind that this is a country that once had world-class construction companies. We shall also promote advanced and energy-efficient systems and well-known and proven prefabrication solutions.

In the context of energy efficiency of buildings, we shall insist on the point that maximum savings and maximum comfort improvements are gained through implementation of quality architectural solutions, from building layout and form to architectural detailing and materialization. Urban planning can essentially enhance or destroy energy efficiency of a building or a whole settlement.

We shall keep explaining that the difference in cost between an excellent architectural solution and a shamelessly bad one, calculated as a percentage of the total price of a constructed square metre, is insignificantly small. We shall insist on serious approaches in initial (design) phases, in order to identify and overcome all expected problems and realistically review the whole investment, and, finally, get a commercially competitive, quality and adequate product. The results – consequences of activities of builders, good or bad, are always significant, long lasting and hard to change.

We shall promote all mentioned principles through public appearances, texts, discussions and workshops, but also through architectural practice – competition entries, plans and designs and, of course, through realized buildings.