Interview: Radovan Tajder

architect Radovan Tajder
interviewed by Nikola Polak


ORIS:  Almost no traces of architecture can be found in your Vienna apartment, but it is full of music. This musical background for the beginning of our interview is your favorite Monteverdi, a black vinyl record that you bought in Zagreb as a student. You have brought music and architecture to Vienna as your travel provisions from Zagreb. What did leaving for Vienna mean to you fifteen years ago? Did it confirm anything? Did it change anything?


Tajder: They say that to leave means to die a little. Painful as it may be, it also means starting again. I left behind a rather accomplished career in Zagreb, so I literally had to start from scratch in Vienna. So all these years I have been trying to have my second career. This is a story about growing up. As if a spiral has closed two circles in my case. Two tales. One of Pinnochio – a wooden puppet who wants to become a boy, a tale of the lust for life; the other of Parsifal, a boy who wants to grow up. Today, I do not think about it any more. Once the circle is closed, memories are erased. What is left are my notes that I diligently keep writing in my note-books and my music that I am passionately devoted to. What else is left? Well, serious and responsible dedication to my work that I have been trying to maintain. I shall never forget a scene from a school building site in Lošinj: I was watching a sweaty, grey-haired worker breaking rocks under the hot sun. I, a young architect with my hands in my pockets! At that moment I realized forever how far-reaching the importance is of the lines that I casually draw on a piece of paper in my cosy bureau. I understood that designing means manipulating with immense forces with far-reaching consequences, having certain power in your hands. I thought that an architect should act as the ruler from Lao-tse: the best one is the one that people are unaware of. This has not changed. The illusion of importance and the omnipotence of architecture has changed. I do not believe any more that architecture can help us avoid a revolution.