Chicago architect expects coming age of renaissance in 2010

08:16, December 30, 2009      

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Just days from the New Year, an optimistic Chicago architect ponders his passion for his profession and his hopes and expectations for 2010.

Feeling confident about the coming of a new age of renaissance in all walks of life, Vojo Narancic, an accomplished Chicago architect, believes some positive changes will happen in the United States and the world, as well as in his professional and personal life in 2010.

On a cold and snowy day after Christmas, dressed in casual black and sporting a light beard, Vojo Narancic spoke leisurely at his charming, contemporary apartment overlooking Chicago's beautiful Lake Michigan. Between sipping tea and enjoying homemade coffee cake, he shared his thoughts and expectations for 2010 and beyond.

"I tend to consider life as a continuous chain of events, rather than one divided into year, month and day," remarked Narancic. "In spite of that, when facing the New Year of 2010 and beyond, I would like to say that I strongly feel we are on the verge of a renaissance which will be reflected in all walks of life."

Analyzing recent events, especially over the last 10 years, Narancic observes a progression of things that are becoming less and less acceptable, with the most drastic economic effects occurring in this country in 2009. He noted that, historically, things happen in cycles, and pressures build to a certain point when something has to change. After that change, the opportunities open up.

Narancic further explained, "We experienced the collapse of the economic structure over the last couple of years. Architecture is usually the industry that is affected the most and recovers the last. Buildings are the biggest things humans create, especially those large projects including hospitals that require most financing."

In spite of government programs to stimulate the economy and create jobs, the architecture industry still needs enough financing and desire from organizations to initiate projects in the first place, he said.

"The current economy is showing some good signals and I am optimistic. The greatest mistake is to be pessimistic and passive. We all have to find patience, and then more patience, as we have used quite a bit last year," he chuckled. Then he added, "In our small or medium ways, we have to push things to actually help people in the leadership positions to make things happen. We cannot be passive."

So what lies ahead for the optimistic and active Narancic in his professional and personal life in 2010?

Taking great pride in his profession, Narancic believes that the noble task he has as an architect is really to create a better living environment for people over generations, and to contribute to a better quality of life.

Recently he opened his own design practice after working as a design principal for big design firms for decades. Very excited about this new change in his professional life, Narancic said, "Specifically for me this means that I gained new flexibility to collaborate with different people and groups including large companies, on diverse projects.”I have designed a variety of building types through my career and I am looking forward to extending my expertise where the opportunity lays."

In 2010, as the economy improves, Narancic is looking forward to being very active in the field as a design consultant, not just in Chicago, but nationally and beyond.

Looking around his spacious apartment, one can't help but notice the numerous forms of artistic expression, evident in everything from his paintings, sculptures, and photographs, to the furniture, drawings, and piano. Collectively, the unique pieces and the well- defined space perfectly reflect Narancic's design philosophy that architecture is more than a physical entity but a discipline that forms and defines space - it is indeed the art of space!

Bringing his professional philosophy to a personal level, Narancic remarked, "It was said that a good way for a human being to live is to either help somebody else or continue to improve yourself, and ideally both. That is what I will try to do in 2010."

"As a human being and an architect, I am interested in many things in life. Architecture became really the crystallization of all my interests, primarily in art and technology. As queen of the arts, architecture really brings all different art forms together," he said.

"As I look at my life, I have to say that I was fortunate to have done many things; I traveled, and worked in different cities, I was a professor at a university, and as an architect I was often in situations where I could offer ideas and mentor younger colleagues. In 2010, I am planning to extend my time to give more talks and lectures on topics such as the true meaning of good design, so that I can reach larger audiences and share with them my 30 plus years of experience," said Narancic.

As for himself, pointing to a beautiful grand piano in the middle of the living room, he said, "One thing I always have passion for is music. I promise to get back to piano in the coming year. I always felt that there is a strong connection between architecture and music, and getting back to music may contribute to my architectural mind."

In addition, Narancic would like to further explore his other interests such as drawing, photography and new technology.

Talking about the coming age of a renaissance in the coming year and beyond, Narancic is very excited and passionate.

Regarding to his own industry, he said, "Future buildings will be better in many aspects than the buildings in the past. We will create beautiful, functional and sustainable objects that provide quality of space to support life, for generations."

"The time has come back for us to be energy conscious again but now we have new technology to advance green building design to a higher level. It is already happening and that is part of the renascence at the architectural level, " he added.

According to Narancic, another positive change that should happen is for the world to better communicate with each other.

"For a big country like America, we should be better with our communications. What we do here affects many people beyond the borders. Communication also means hearing each other. In many ways we should learn how to listen to each other even though we might disagree on many things," he said.

Calling it a renaissance at the human level, Narancic expects people to communicate with each other more and better in the coming year. He noticed that under the current economic slowdown, as people struggle to get back on track with their jobs, there are more opportunities to take time to smell the roses.

"People are getting together more to address the issues of stress on a human level with family and friends. In that respect, there is a renaissance of human components that may grow greater. I actually sense a different attitude from people like bus drivers and postal workers. Everybody seems to know that most people are somewhat adversely affected by the economy. On a purely human level they are trying to be nicer to each other."

He pointed to the fresh coffee cake blended with red berries and crisp nuts on the table: "Look at this! My friend made it for me with the newly found spare time. People now have more time to spend with family and friends."

Narancic is also looking forward to making more friends all over the world in 2010. "I always feel that if you have a friend in different parts of the world, the world would become a much better and more peaceful place." Having friends from different countries gives us a greater appreciation of other cultures which Narancic believes can lessen the misunderstandings that are behind a lot of aggressions and fears. "I hope we will collaborate more instead of fighting over things that aren't necessary!" he added.

When asked how many friends he has around the world, Narancic answered, "Never enough!" His big smile spoke volumes about his comfortable confidence in the New Year to come.

Source: Xinhua
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