SERBIA - Ivan Kucina reflects on the difficulties of being an architect in Serbia. The isolation of the country and the low status of the profession both have an impact on Serbian architecture. Despite all this, Kucina has not abandoned his optimistic hope that conditions can improve: 'There is something positive about transition and that is the absence of control.'
Ivan Kucina in the National Bank hall, Belgrade, where he made the exhibition design for 'The secret culture of Lepenski Vir'. Kucina is an assistant professor, practicing architect and outdoor artist, as well as one of the initiators of much of the current research and workshop activity on informal urban processes in the Western Balkans. He was born in Belgrade in 1961, and graduated from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Belgrade in 1988. Since 1997, he has worked fulltime at the Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade.
Ivan Kucina: Most of the things I do are not the result of deliberate choice but purely a matter of circumstances, an inevitable outcome perhaps of the context in which I live, for life here is quite chaotic and diverse. On the other hand, there's definitely a kind of personal curiosity to do things I haven't done before, and my approach means that work to me is also a kind of discovery. I can't regard work just as a profession; it's very much a way of life too. When I have the choice, I choose activities where I can discover something. That's why all research projects, unusual architectural projects – experimenting, if you like – and things which can simultaneously engage mind and emotions, are very close to my heart. What connects all this diverse work is the desire for unity of thought, feelings and expression. And then when you put all the results next to one other it doesn't matter at all whether they resemble one another or not, because in each of those works there is a consistent tendency towards unity, the integration of all those different aspects of a personality and its existence in a certain context.