Interviewed in Sarajevo, February 14th 2007
Like all the way back in 1986 it was nothing short of a miracle in former Yugoslavia that Amir Vuk - Zec and Mirko Mari} - Mara won the Republic Borba Architectural Award for their Zlatara on Baščaršija in Sarajevo (Borba Award had the same importance for Yugoslav architects as Mies van der Rohe’s award has for European architects), it is nothing short of a miracle today that Zec, the same one from 1986 and pushing 50, still works, creates, progresses and creates an important architectural work in post-war Bosnia. His extensive production with great, inspirational and lucid pieces, with some commercial projects and with a few things you probably won’t like, deserves to go out and be valued on the, as we call it, open, wider, publicized, critical scene. Those of you who haven’t yet visited Bosnia will find it hard to understand the gravity of the task to create and keep creating such a work of architecture. Therefore, all of you who haven’t spent at least a couple of days in Sarajevo or surroundings area after the war in the 1990’s, you should believe me that it is worth to visit this world and those people, and see Amir’s architecture and the context of its creation in the right way. And if you meet Amir, he just might seem to be a bunny (Zec) – but he’s a wolf (Vuk), a benevolent wolf who uses and enjoys his nature and environment in the best way.
P.S. I hope the critics of the world discover the mosque on Bjelašnica!!
ORIS: While we were strolling around Sarajevo, you demonstrated great knowledge, sensibility and love for context. This certainly has something to do with your formative years.
Zec: I finished my studies in Sarajevo in the 1980s as a student of Professor Zlatko Ugljen. In those years, right before the Olympic Games, his architecture flourished in Bosnia. Ugljen’s most important buildings were built at that time: the Ruža Hotel in Mostar, the Theatre in Zenica, and a mosque in Visoko. He received the Aga Khan Award for the mosque. I have never worked in a design studio. My first challenges were small interiors, such as the Scent of Quinces where I touched upon the term scent. Spaces have a scent, a context.