THIRD ARCHITECTURAL WORKSHOP MOSTAR 2004, 1997

Third Architectural Workshop Mostar 2004, organised under the patronage of H.E. Alija Izetbegovic, President of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in cooperation with the Municipality of Mostar, Mostar, 2-30 July 1997


Work for the organisation of the Mostar 2004 Workshop began well in advance of the event. The preparatory team was composed of eight people, operating in Mostar, Istanbul, New York and Philadelphia. Thirty lecturers participated in the 1997 workshop. Twenty-five participants, from four different nations and nine different universities worked to produce solutions to Mostar’s problems. The panel of experts was comprised of eight people.

The introductory seminars lasted from the 2nd to the 10th of July and were greatly appreciated by the participants as they proved invaluable for the following stages of the workshop. International and national information from the very general to the very basic on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mostar, the Stari Most, the War, and the reconstruction strategies were given. Some of the topics of the lectures were; "History of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Mostar", "Review of the Examples of Post War Urban Environment with the Specific Focus on Mostar", "Aspects of Structure and Construction in Conservation", "Economic aspects of Preservation", "Approach to Conservation.", etc.

On July 7th a group meeting was held to refine the workshop goals and organization of subgroups. A long list of different topics and over riding issues of these topics were prepared with the collaboration of every one present and three groups were formed from the three main subjects chosen; The Neretva River, the housing projects, and the restoration projects.

The group working on the Neretva River focused on the specific problems of the river scape. The specific concerns of the group were garbage control, sewage control, visual and physical accessibility, and continuity of movement. Solutions were sought for the problems of the river and its surround through five different, but interrelated projects.

The housing group concentrated its efforts on the traditional mahallas of the historic city. Proposals were developed for the Brankovac Mahalla, which lies to the North of the area defined as the historic core- the Stari Grad. The main problems of the mahallas are: the wartime destruction of housing, illegal and unplanned reconstruction, problems of ownership, traffic problems, and problems related with land-use.

The three restoration were projects for the rehabilitation of the Girls’ High School, the Cejvan Kethuda Hamam, and the Tabacica Mosque.

The struggle to come up with a synthesis somehow became very enjoyable with the experience of eating at the terrace with one of the rarest views of the Neretva, having a skillfully prepared Bosnian cafe at the Tabana with the enchanted atmosphere, and getting to know the people of the city who are of an unyielding, upright and despite all, lively and fun loving disposition.

Going to a much coveted theater performance in Blagaj, sitting under big trees, in open air, with the water surrounding the area of the performance was magical even though the language eluded most and people with the knowledge were frequently questioned. The trip to Sarajevo gave participants experience of the famous traditional houses and other important buildings in the Bosnain capital, and trips to Split and Dubrovnik were good opportunities to learn and an adventure in the historic cities of land of the Croatia. A weekend visit to the mountains for camping and kayaking was a much deserved and anticipated trip by all.

The most important un-offical part of the program was the World Diving Championship from the Old Bridge was held on the 25th of July. Divers from all over the world jumped down from a newly erected platform in the absence of the Stari Most. The onlookers gathered on the west side of the Neretva for a better view and the enthusiasm of this group was perhaps more spectacular to watch then the divers themselves.
Group work continued with a steady picking up of speed. Brief reports were given by each, on frequent get-togethers and the progress was closely watched as the day of the final representation came closer.

Lectures were given, "Applicability of the Mostar 2004 Model", "Rebuilding the Old Bridge", "The UNESCO Project for Rehabilitation of the Historic Core of Mostar" (presented by UNESCO team on July 9th) were discussed in panels. These additional meetings provided new grounds to check the now almost finished products of the workshop.

Preliminary presentations by each subgroup was held on the 27th, in the afternoon with Prof. Lance Brown acting as the mediator.

The presentation was held in three sessions with the presence of the city officials, SFOR-SVO representatives, lecturers from the universities in Sarajevo and Mostar and the workshop participants. During the first session, the project for the Neretva River was presented with Richard Plunz as the mediator. The second session was held for the restoration projects with Prof. Zeynep Ahunbay, and the third one was the housing projects with Brooke Harrington acting as the mediators. An open discussion about the projects and Mostar as a whole was held in the afternoon and the objectives for a sustainable city were considered.

The closing ceremony was held on the 30th. The comments of the panelists and the workshop sponsors were listened to and Dr. Suha Özkan made a summoning up of the whole event as the mediator.

The workshop was very well received by the locals. There was much enthusiasm about the events which took place during the month. The municipality had very fluid organisation; all necessary document were offered to the general use of the workshop participants and members offered all possible help. Many of the presentation which took place during the initial stages of the workshop were by local authorities, who were eager to inform the participants of the post-war situation. Everyone was eager to participate in the work.

It is anticipated that workshops will be held yearly in Mostar until 2004. The gathering will summon the ever growing group of people who like to devote their time and efforts to the beautiful city of Mostar. The workshop will be a medium of exchange for the work which has been done place in different parts of the world during the year, and these will be compiled in reports.

The report of the workshop was prepared by Amir Pasic and published under the title Mostar 2004 Workshop 1997 Report.