Seventh Architectural Workshop Mostar 2004 and Symposium ''Mostar in New Millennium: Prospects and Challenges for Conservation,''Mostar, 23 July-1 August 2001

At the turn of the millennium, Mostar is facing the same economic, political and demographic changes as all other Balkan Nations -but Mostar remains a special case. Challenging under the best circumstances, this transition is unusually demanding in the context of post-war reconstruction and massive population displacement. Mostar's assets are now inseparable from its liabilities: the city with the greatest multi-cultural heritage in the whole region became the main target of ultra-nationalist policies of total demolition, and now is the emblem of successful revitalisation and the sanctity of cultural values.

Professionals and scholars with an interest in the built environment's relationship with social and economic development have a significant role to play in the process of recovery, transition, and revitalisation. Mostar proves, in a most visceral way, that historic places are of the utmost importance to security, identity, and the health of local communities. Today, with the help of international community, Mostar is in a continuing battle to preserve its character. The Mostar 2004 annual workshops are opportunities for all interested individuals and organisations to participate directly in this important process.

The Mostar 2004 Program was started by IRCICA in 1994 as a pilot project for rebuilding of the multicultural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina. During last seven years, workshop participants -more than five hundreds representing 25 universities and other institutions- joined hands in the different activities related to the planning, design, and restoration of the city's cultural heritage. More than one hundred academic projects have been completed in a form of studio works, master theses, and doctorates; many of these designs were later integrated into funded conservation projects.

The Mostar 2004 annual workshop has emerged as the pre-eminent regional professional forum for scholars, students, and professionals to meet, exchange ideas, and coordinate the develop new practical proposals; the solutions developed here are applicable to many other historic urban centers in the Balkans, and the ideas which underlie the solutions have wide relevance to the field of architecture, planning, and preservation in general.

In July 2001, the seventh gathering provided conditions for hundred people to participate in distinct workshop and symposium components. The workshop component involved graduate and diploma students with their professors from several architectural schools like Melbourne University, Pristine University, Temple University, University of Sarajevo, University of Zagreb, Cornell University, University of Bari, University of Stuttgart, Yıldız Technical University, Istanbul Technical University and Poznan. Students focused on the built heritage of Mostar's main street created during five historic periods, its conservation, and prospects for sustainable future development. The program started with an exhibition of the academic work conducted after the 2000 meeting.

The symposium component focused on prospects and challenges for conservation in the new millennium. During the ten sessions, the following topics were discussed: Preservation and Development of the Historic City of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina since the Romans, Approach to the Restoration of Monuments Destroyed in the War, Managing Heritage in the Context of Political Disturbance, Dubrovnik and Mostar: Modern Design Concepts in Historic Fabric, Toward Revised Strategy for Inter-institutional Collaboration in Mostar, Role of Planning in Preservation of Building Heritage, and last, the program closing session summarising the 2001 activities.

Leading scholars from the allied fields of history, art, architecture, planning, economy discussed key aspects of the topic: Noman Ahmed, Zeynep Ahunbay, Ivo Banac, Judith Bing, Tom Blinkhorn, Niksa Božić, Jon Calame, Esther Charlesworth, Rusmir Čišić, Mihajlo Crnobrnja, Birgül Çolakoğlu, Jerylinn Dodds, Hilary Ferrone, Amra Hadžimuhamedović, Brooke Harrington, Rick Hill, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, Mustafa Imamovic, Dino Karabeg, Enes Karić, Franz Loranzi, Shqipe Nixha, Bratislav Pantelic, Amir Pasic, Srećko Pegan, Zeljko Peković, Attilio Petruciolli, Boris Podrecca, Richard Plunz, and Paul Somogyi.

Workshop participants also participated in the Symposium as respondents. Invited speakers prepared papers, which were posted on the Mostar 2004 web site moderated sessions, each with three to five invited speakers were conducted in different venues in Mostar and Dubrovnik, two cities with rich common history and five centuries long collaboration, especially in building activities.