Archigreen – Self-sustaining architecture and green construction – not only a source of savings, but also of employment?
Mirna Lončarica is a graduated architect who used her knowledge and love for architecture to establish the Architectural and Design Studio “Archigreen”, in which she designs objects of different purposes and interior design. This successful young entrepreneur sees architecture as not only her occupation, but also as a call that helps her understand the world around her better.
787: How did Mirna’s path to Archigreen look like?
Even as a child, I knew that I wanted to actively participate in creating space around me. I consider architecture to be present in all spheres of our lives and that everything that surrounds us is to a large extent under the influence of architectural expression and emotions.
Architectural design is actually a very powerful tool whereby we can create exactly the desired conditions, and in some way manipulate the future that we only intend to implement somewhere. This can very easily be illustrated by concrete examples – hospitals that, thanks to their architecture, managed to mitigate our negative perceptions of staying there or working spaces that make our duties and stay in the offices as pleasant and as incentive as possible. Apart from being interested in architecture since I was a little girl, I was a painter for a long time, which has had an important role in shaping my professional expression today.
On the formal side, after proper education, my journey to Archigreen brought me to the construction companies where I worked and gained experience until I began with my private practice in 2010.
787: Can you pick a special moment that showed and confirmed that you indeed have to be an architecture and designer, and one day establish your own studio as well?
One of the events that happened at the beginning of my career, which served as a motivation and confirmation that I am on the right path, is certainly when my first projects were internationally selected and published in the book Restart. The aim of this publication was a critical view of the contemporary architectural scene in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
787: What makes you, as an architect, and Archigreen studio different from others in our market?
My professional interest is especially focused on self-sustaining architecture and green construction. I had the opportunity to design low-energy facilities from wooden prefabricated systems realized in the territory of B&H, but also abroad. That is why I was also a guest lecturer at the elective course at the Faculty of Architecture in Sarajevo.
787: What is like to be an architect in Bosnia and Herzegovina and how much does it differ from working with clients outside of B&H?
The fact that I worked on some projects outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina tells us that our job is actually universal – only the procedures and some administrative processes differ. But architectural language, although of course not the design principles, are definitely universal in the whole world. I have examples of projects that I have worked on for neighboring countries such as Croatia and Slovenia, but also further countries – the Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden.
787: Tell us a little bit more about how you build the objects, and what is Passive House?
In addition to classical construction, what is specific, and thus important to mention, is the construction of prefabricated wooden systems, which I have worked on for a long time. The passive house in Kovači is especially important because it is the first facility that is accessible to anyone interested in energy efficient construction. Due to the negative balance in the exchange of energy / energy products with the world, massive popularization of this type of construction in our country stands as a necessity rather than nice feature.
At the moment, energy efficient construction is one of the most current topics in the world, and this has also initiated different events in our country, but this house is the rare example where realization of is publicly available.
Passive house is a facility with annually requires energy for heating from 15 to 20 kWh per square meter, which belongs to A+ energy class. This house consumes up to 20 times less energy than the average house.
787: Is there an interesting situation or anecdote related to the past work of “Archigreen”?
I consider that as architects, we have the duty and obligation to always consciously work in the space, because this reflects lives of many people. So, we have to work, both in the interests of the investors and above that, in the interest of the whole community. In the beginning, it is sometimes difficult to prove that the quality is found precisely in the combination of these two aspects. We have to be really patient in order to confirm that what we do is exactly the best to those we do it for. I think that it is an anecdote that is always pervading through every project. It is precisely this perseverance to be consistent in our work that gives good dynamics, because of which I always start each and every project with the same thrill and excitement.
787: Where does the inspiration come from?
Every new project in our business brings new situations, people, ideas and opportunities, and in this way can grow and develop. Using the potential of individual clients and context, we create architectural objects that are, just like people, individual and unique in their own way. That’s always my inexhaustible inspiration. The inspiration also comes from the curiosity and interests I have for architecture and design; how to enrich the space we’re living in by inanimate objects and forms, to breathe in the environment and to allow people to express themselves and turn a space into their own, where they feel comfortable and pleasant.
After all, the purpose of everything is people and quality of their lives. We can create a space so that it reminds us of the beauty of life, whether it is housing, working offices or some public buildings. I consider that architecture, by its form and interaction with the given environment, supports and embodies the identity and energy into the space, which directly influence our personality and thus can support our creative growth and development.
787: What are you currently working on and what are your plans for the future?
Right now, as it is often the case, I work on a number of completely different projects – from family villa design, business buildings to interior design solutions for restaurants and some other interiors of individual living spaces and business premises. Of course, you can check out my current and future work through www.archigreen.ba and Archigreen’s Facebook page.
787: What would you like to say to young people in B&H?
I would like to say what we all know, but sometimes we do not recognize it, and that is to do the job with passion and love, to live in our full potential and capacity, and as such we are useful to the whole community. A job is not just an existential income, it is also our personal expression through which we constantly grow.
Authors: Sanela Pripo & Dalila Hasić