Highlights and Overview of the S.ARCH-2015

A year ago, the Balkan welcomed some of the greats of the contemporary and sustainable architecture at the first S.ARCH event. It was the initiative year of this International Conference with Exhibition. The response from participants and invited lecturers was extremely positive and the organizer decided to continue and to hold another astonishing expert event in 2015.

This year the companies RENECON International and Get It Published from Germany, jointly with enforma from Montenegro, repeated this wonderful event in Budva, Montenegro. The 2nd S.ARCH International Conference with Exhibition, chaired by Madam Marina Stosic, lasted for two days, the 19th–20th May 2015, in the premises of the hotel and resort Maestral. This year’s conference welcomed participants form all around the world with keynote speakers from studios like MVRDV, ZAHA HADID Architects, JDS Architects and Idis Turato Architects. It is rightest to say that during a course of these two days the Balkan was yet again transformed into the centre of exchange of knowledge and ideas that can contribute to the better future and development of the profession.

The 2nd S.ARCH conference hosted three times as much delegates as the previous one and had a program with keynote speeches, various interesting lectures, discussion panels with prominent architects and an exhibition of contributed works. It was inspirational to track the number and the origin of the speakers and participants  over 26 countries from around the world  who came to listen 4 exciting keynote speeches and 30 different lectures with subjects considering urban planning, bioclimatic architecture, cultural and environmental protection of the heritage, new materials and many more. This year the title of the conference was Environment & Architecture.

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Conference Day 1 – Experts on the Front Line

On the first day of the conference the opening ceremony marked the beginning of one exciting festival of architecture. Delegates and speakers were welcomed by German architect Ms. Marina Stosic, the chairperson of the conference and the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Contemporary Architecture “The New Arch”. Opening was continued with the welcome note from Mr. Lazar Radjenovic, the Mayor of the city of Budva. He expressed his gratitude and enthusiasm toward the audience while talking about the expansion of the city and traditional values of the country.

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The first plenary speaker was Tatjana Rajic from EXPEDITO, Montenegro. Her presentation on “Socially Engaged Architectural Practice” was focused on past and active problems of urbanization in the region of Montenegro. She particularly discussed problems that industries like tourism are producing and how they are rapidly changing the face of natural and built environment with the lack of sense for the exiting culture and architecture. Next was the lecture “Sustainable of Today is Well enough?” by Marija Golubovic from ENERGO, Serbia.

After the break, six presentations were presented in the first session dealing with the overall subject – The State of Affairs and Future Visions. Speakers from Italy, Greece, Montenegro, Austria, Cyprus and China addressed the issues of urban environment in contemporary cities. The second session was devoted to Bioclimatic and Cultural Sensitivity and it lasted for almost two hours with lot of speakers from the Balkan countries.

The first keynote speaker of the day was architect Idis Turato from Idis Turato Architects, Croatia. In his lecture “DESIGNING THE UNPREDICTABLE” Turato showcased latest designs and buildings from his studio pointing out the special relationship between the object, program and existing environment that is present in his work. Winy Maas from the MVRDV, The Netherlands and China, held the second keynote speech on the first day of the S.ARCH 2015 conference. His lecture “WHAT’S NEXT?” addressed key issues of the current development and possible solution scenarios presented by the studio’s own works.

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In follow up, the final part of the first day was the panel discussion with the two keynote speakers – Idis Turato and Winy Maas. The most interesting subject of this discussion was focused on some of the designing features of both studios and individual opinions regarding active problems in their own works and/or in the region.

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Conference Day 2 – Different Perspectives

The second day of the conference began with the session consisted of two lectures presenting the issues from the Holistic Environmental Perceptions.

In continuation, the first keynote speech of the second day entitled “GLOBAL SUSTAIABILITY” was given by architect Viviana Muscettola from the ZAHA HADID Architects, UK. Muscettola addressed emerging problems in various places where they have worked as well as accomplishments of the studio in dealing with parametric design and complex building programs. It was a unique portrait of the studio, its people and creations.

After the short break it was a time for the second keynote speaker of the day, architect Julien De Smedt from the JDS Architects, Denmark and Belgium. With the lecture “A POST-URBAN AGENDA” De Smedt showed the particular way of handling unsustainable problems of today’s cities always looking and finding the solution from a different perspective. The highlight of the day was the panel discussion with the two of the keynote speakers – Muscettola and De Smedt. This discussion focused on similar/opposite subjects that are the key features of the two studios regarding the design principles and the role of the users. It was quite interesting when the audience started to pump up with some unusual questions.

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The second session addressed Materiality. There were five lectures with speakers from Croatia, Montenegro, Slovakia, Poland and Turkey presenting several different aspects of the architectural materials and their use in the contemporary practice. The last two sessions were focusing on two subjects – Methodical Concepts and Interactive Structures. Authors from Austria, Hungary, Italy and Kosovo presented their ideas and results dealing with various methods.

Beside all of these speeches, panel discussions and presentations, the important aspects of the conference was certainly the Exhibition of contributed works. This event took place parallel to the conference but in a separate salon. There were numerous exhibitors, twice more than the last year. Authors from all over the world expose their works either it was the case study, reconstruction, particular program/concept of the buildings or new materials. All of these subjects and innovations have encouraged delegates to get together and discuss about some of specific works.

The Statement of Progress

The S.ARCH 2015 conference lasted only two days but the effects of spoken words will last for long time. Already after the conference beginning it was clear that the auditorium is full of young, creative people willing to share their findings and become active participants in the quest for more sustainable and more quality architecture. I wish to emphasize the positive vibe that was present in the conference that provided me with huge amount of hope and optimism despite the current challenging issues we are facing. Here I quote Winy Maas: “I could be so sad if there is no more heroism in younger generations and there are many levels of heroism. I do hope that we can create culture for that, everywhere”. Therefore, I couldn’t agree more with this sentence because I do hope that the S.ARCH conference and exhibition will be a “talking and teaching incubator”, which is already on the right way to be. I do wish that this festival of knowledge will nurse the necessary “culture of change” for the coming generations. In addition, I hope it will become the focal point, the leading event for experts and beginners and a kind of inspiratory that will contribute to development of sustainable principles in the region. For all these reasons we invite all of you to join us for the next, the 3rd International Conference S.ARCH 2016 to be held on the 25th–26th May 2016 in Budva, on the beautiful Adriatic Sea coast of Montenegro.

Author: Mirjana Uzelac Filipendin, M. Arch.

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 19-20 May 2015, Budva, Montenegro

S.ARCH-2015

The 2nd International Conference with Exhibition

Environment and Architecture

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