First Mostar 2004 Pilot Workshop, organised by IRCICA, Istanbul, 25 July-25 August 1994

The First Pilot Workshop on the Reconstruction of the Old Town in Mostar was the first phase of a long-term project undertaken by IRCICA in cooperation with academic and cultural institutions all over the world. The project aims to deploy and coordinate an international academic effort to support future reconstruction and urban preservation activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The first workshop drew up a plan of action, an urban restoration plan and methodology of reconstruction, as a basic framework for future activities. The ultimate goal is to meet around fully restored Stari Most (the Old Bridge) in Mostar in the year 2004, which is chosen the year of celebration of the rebuilding of Mostar.

The workshop was organised in the framework of IRCICA's studies on the history and culture of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It brought together thirty graduate students sponsored by a number of architectural schools from Europe, North America, Asia and Africa, and more than fifty scholars and professionals from all over the world. A group of students, faculty, and resource persons from Bosnia itself participated in the workshop.

H.E. Dr. Irfan Ljubjankic, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina was present at the closing ceremony on August 25 where the report and recommendations of the workshop was presented. In his address, the Minister said "We used to live together in tolerance and in friendship for centuries in Bosnia. Such a mixture of cultural influences has created a very interesting and colourful architecture in our towns. We have been defending our lives and our towns, but not only that; we have been defending universal values and human rights, and inviolability of borders, the two principles which Europe is based upon. Unfortunately, we didn't receive sufficient support in this struggle. We have been pretty alone. More than eight hundred mosques have been destroyed completely. On the other hand, in Sarajevo, Tuzla, Bihac, Zenica, we have saved all churches and synagogues. Nobody knows what will happen in the future, but we will insist on the multicultural dimension of our society. And my final message to you: Support Bosnia, be with Bosnia, you will be proud of us."

With the First Workshop Mostar 2004, an effort of international educational support has been mobilized to prepare for the process of reconstructing Bosnia's multicultural heritage. This work is to precede and accompany the actual physical reconstruction, through a three-phase process that will engage the participation of an international community of architectural professionals, educators, historians and students together with their Bosnians counterparts. The broad objectives of this international, multidisciplinary program are as follows:

1. Preservation of the thousand years old building heritage of multicultural Bosnia and Herzegovina.

2. Development of an integrated process of urban preservation for Bosnia and Herzegovina through the formation of a practical system of education over the next decade.

3. Establishment of an international network of prominent schools and cultural organizations for urban preservation to assist and support the rebuilding process.

Phase One: Mostar 2004, a pilot workshop for the rebuilding of a multicultural Bosnia and Herzegovina, was held at IRCICA and the Architectural School of Yıldız Technical University, Istanbul. This phase focused on the reconstruction of the Old Town in Mostar. The workshop was organized by IRCICA in collaboration with other institutions, especially the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA. The workshop was sponsored by IRCICA; UNESCO; the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Geneva; the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Geneva; Yıldız Technical University, Istanbul; and, the Society of Architectural Historians, Philadelphia, with the support of universities all over the world, and several commercial supporters.

The participants were from more than twenty-five different universiities, including Boğaziçi University, Istanbul; Columbia University, New York; City College of New York, New York; Dawood College, Karachi; Istanbul University; Istanbul Technical University; Harvard University; London University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, AKPIA, Cambridge; Marmara University, Istanbul; McGill University, Montreal; Middle East Technical University, Ankara; Mimar Sinan University, Istanbul; University of Mostar; University of Nothingham, England; University of Sarajevo; Temple University, Philadelphia; University of British Columbia, Canada; University of Kaierslautern, Germany; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; University of Trondheim, Norway; Yale University, New Haven; Yıldız Technical University, Istanbul; York University, York, England.

The participants worked as a number of teams with different focus, such as historical research, computer aided design, methodology, urban restoration design, economics, informatics technology, education, individual building designs, etc. Resource experts from Bosnia, the USA, England, Norway, and Turkey, among others, presented thirty-three lectures on Mostar's architectural heritage and a variety of related subjects. Field trips were organized to Bursa and Safranbolu which exemplify similar architectural patterns. The workshop ended with final review sessions by a jury comprising, besides IRCICA, a group of architects, planners, and civil servants representing the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNESCO, the World Monuments Fund, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, universities and other institutions.

In the final report, suggestions for the reconstruction process are presented through fourty-six pilot projects which can be realized as specific parts of the entire Old Town project.

The participants agreed on three subsequent educational phases of this international educational endeavour, to be operated parallelly to the actual reconstruction.

Phase 2: Establishing an International Support Group in the 1994-1995 academic year

A number of universities in the world will organise studio design courses through their regular curriculum in the spring semester of the 1994-1995 academic year, on topics related to the reconstruction of the Bosnian built environment. Background documentation for the studio will be shared. Whenever possible, Bosnian students and faculty will be involved through inter-university ex-changes. A committee of individuals representing the participating institutions will be formed to coordinate academic and other activities related to the project. This committee will define the relations among participants, budgetary and policy matters. This phase will end with a second summer workshop to run from July 24-August 24, 1995.

Phase 3: Broadening the Support Network of International Cooperation in the 1995-1996 academic year

As a result of the summer 1994 workshop and the studio courses offered in universities during the 1994-1995 academic year, a documentation file will be put together, including maps, surveys, visual documentation, bibliography, and suggestions to solve studio problems. This file will be distributed to schools of architecture around the world who may wish to offer similar studio courses through their curriculum, particularly those with conservation component. In future years, similar files on other Bosnian cities might be prepared and distributed to maintain interest around the world in the Bosnian reconstruction. Courses on historical aspects of the Bosnian architectural heritage will continue throughout the years. This phase will end with a third summer workshop to run from July 23-August 23, 1996.

Phase 4: International Multidisciplinary Graduate Program for Urban Preservation

Practical workshops of conservation, based on high international standards and combining classroom work with field work, are planned to be established in the fall of 1996.

The First Workshop Mostar 2004 made a number of recommendations, drew guidelines for restoration and rehabilitation, developed a list of proposed projects for potential sponsors, and determined a grading system according to architectural, artistic, and historical significance to be used for setting the priorities of the reconstruction work. Some of the recommendations are:

Principles of the reconstruction

The reconstructed Mostar shall accomodate a multi-cultural population and respect its history.

The historical center of Mostar shall be restored to its pre-war condition in as much as is practicable.

All new construction, reconstruction, restoration, and significant repair activities shall be done in accordance with the Master Plan for the Reconstruction and Conservation of Mostar drawn up in 1990 and with the approval of the Mostar Reconstruction and Conservation Office and the Buildings Department of the City of Mostar.

A technical advisory group consisting of qualified experts in architecture, engineering, history, and architectural conservation shall serve the Mostar Reconstruction and Conservation Office.

The revitalization of the building crafts tradition in Mostar shall be among the priorities, with training programs and job opportunities to the benefit of the local community.

The principles and procedures for reconstructing Old Mostar shall respect the Venice Charter of 1964, and other applicable national and local laws.

Proposals for immediate action

centralized information systems at IRCICA and key contact persons,

educational programs for the coming academic year- - studio projects at Yıldız Technical University, Istanbul Technical University, Columbia University, Temple University, MIT, Trondheim University, Dawood College Karachi.

Summary recommendations were made by the different groups that were formed. The groups worked on the following aspects of the subject:
Group One: Time;
Group Two: Space;
Group Three: Economic aspects;
Group Four: Information systems;
Group Five: City core;
Group Six: Religious complexes;
Group Seven: Public space;
Group Eight: Mahalas;
Group Nine: Educational institutions - design competitions package;
Group Ten: Hotel Konak compound design proposal;
Group Eleven: Border area;
Group Twelve: Education.

The recommendations of each group and the various project documents prepared by the workshop are brought together in a comprehensive document titled Mostar 2004 Pilot Workshop Report.