Bosnian architectural identity; unique in its diversity

The monthly meeting of college student scholarship holders of the Hastor Foundation was held on Saturday, September 14, in the premises of the ASA Group. It was thematically oriented towards Bosnian architecture, and therefore related to the overall Bosnian cultural heritage.

Different cultures have over time shaped and co-shaped both architectural and cultural contexts of Bosnia in general. But it is also worth mentioning that, although that identity was under different, most often external influences, it remains a Bosnian identity, unique in its inspiring diversity. This diversity is the result of synthesis of all the previous influences and cultural patterns and values that have intertwined in this area over the centuries. This topic, as the basic determinant of Bosnian cultural identity, which also reflects the authenticity of the architectural heritage itself, was exactly the topic of the young, promising architect Delila Veispahić. In 2015, Delila began her studies at the International University of Sarajevo, Faculty of Technical and Natural Sciences, Department of Architecture, which she also finalized in the current year. She has been a part of the Hastor Foundation for three years, and as a scholarship-holder and a volunteer she had the opportunity to be a mentor for a group of students in Kakanj, and then a part of the administration team of the Hastor Foundation. This year, she was engaged in monitoring activity, a new segment of the Foundation’s work, and diligence and dedication have been recognized as her core qualities since the very beginning of her time in the Foundation.

Outlining the significance of this topic, which is often only superficially discussed in public discourse, Delila tried to bring scholarship – holders of the Hastor Foundation closer to the value and significance of the polyphony of BiH architecture. This month’s student meeting was designed in the form of an interactive lecture, in which students, divided into groups, had the opportunity to present their own perceptions and reflections on what BiH architecture actually represents. In this way, students were given an opportunity to exchange views. The dominant impression of the entire architectural segment of BiH identity was precisely diversity, a product of the interweaving of different cultural influences which were brought by the great empires to Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, BiH architecture and culture in general managed to survive all the changes by taking something authentic from each previous period, adapting it to its own area, and thus building a distinctive Bosnian identity. In addition, Delila decided to share with other scholarship – holders ideas that they can implement at volunteer workshops with children. This will make monthly meetings more interesting, but also encourage creativity among students.

Delila describes the purpose of her presentation with the following words:

“I wanted to take this opportunity to give all of us a chance to become better acquainted with our identity through architecture, and vice versa, to understand the complexity of Bosnian architecture from different periods and the earliest times. I am pleased that through two interactive workshops, which have been purposefully prepared, we have exchanged our thoughts, discussed them, reached a conclusion, but also left a possibility for everyone to think further for themselves.“

The second part of the September meeting was reserved for mutual socializing of the scholarship – holders, and a general knowledge quiz was organized for this purpose. The attendees participated by using an application. Divided into teams, the scholarship-holders had the opportunity to synthesize individual knowledge from different domains and thus become a winning team. The quiz was held in a competitive spirit and uncertainty, and students were able to monitor the results through the projector throughout its duration.

For the past thirteen years, the Hastor Foundation has been recognized for its consistency and commitment to socially responsible work, and regular monthly meetings, often involving the scholarship – holders as speakers and presenters, are a direct reflection of the Foundation’s long – term mission toward building a more prosperous and higher quality community, whose crucial carriers are young and successful individuals.

Amina Vatreš