Name: Veronika Bojic
Role: Architectural Designer
What makes a successful team? A successful team is an ecosystem of openness, trust, communication, and collaboration. I believe that teams thrive when members feel valued, heard, and are part of an environment that encourages the contribution of ideas and opinions. Comfortable collaboration facilitates a flow of positive energy that in my opinion, fuels achievement. Additionally, providing space for team members to cultivate their work reinforces notions of trust and respect, which is also key to a prosperous ecosystem.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness? I don’t think there is such a thing as ‘perfect’ happiness. Happiness, to me, is inherently imperfect; it is an ever-evolving state of feeling and not necessarily a permanent condition. It is flawed, messy, and turbulent. It is a high you can only distinguish after experiencing the depths of life. However, it is also a wonderful emotion that weaves itself through life, making everything worthwhile. When I reflect on my own life, I notice that I was at my ‘happiest’ when I found inner peace and contentment. Knowing that I could weather any storm and ride the waves of emotion as they passed through me, while still feeling deep stability and satisfaction, signified perfectly imperfect happiness.
What’s something a well-designed space can’t exist without? A well-designed building space can’t exist without the consideration of authentic human experience. To quote Andrew Levitt (who I am honoured to have had as a professor) in his book ‘The Inner Studio: A Designer’s Guide to the Resources of the Psyche’, “Our built world is not suffering from a lack of analysis but a lack of feeling.” I truly believe that as designers, we need to place more emphasis on the phenomenological aspect of architecture. We are all human, with physical and emotional bodies, that have a unique relationship to the spaces we inhabit and move through. Designers shape and curate these spaces, directly influencing behaviour and emotions. When considering ourselves, our outer and inner worlds, connecting to our bodies and our experiences, bringing the conscious and unconscious aspects of the world to light, we can transform atmospheres and ultimately create meaningful impact.
“Designers are a necessary link in the human possibility of transformation , meaningful place making, and generation of culture. Design contributes to our capacity to belong. Architectural imagination is one of the activities that are essential and vital to forming collective life. It is timely and necessary to make the design process more meaningful so that our modern built world more closely approximates the rich inner world experienced by every individual.” – Andrew Levitt
What piece of advice would you give to women entering the field of architecture?
Find your strengths, believe in them and in yourself, and know that your uniqueness is your power.
We are all different and we are all shaped by our individual life journeys; this is an incredible thing in a highly subjective field such as architecture. Your life experiences shape your unique point of view – they give you an edge and a special perspective that no one else has. Harness this, be ambitious, and always speak up.
I know it’s not always easy to speak up. I, along with many women I know, suffer (or have suffered from) imposter syndrome. That is why I truly believe it is important to identify your strengths and celebrate your point of view.
When I was in architecture school and my self-doubt was taking over, I often compared myself to others. They were intelligent, great designers, and amazing creatives who seemingly always “had it together”. I felt I had nothing of value to offer. Over time, through trust and communication with my peers, I realized we were all in the same boat – lost at sea but trying to stay afloat.
It was easy to self-sabotage my own confidence, but with enough work, I built it back up. I am grateful that I am surrounded by amazing women – as friends and colleagues – who are not only a source of inspiration but also a support system. That system of giving and receiving, open communication, and trust, was critical in my growth as a person and as a designer. Create your circle! Learn from those around you, and always ask for help.
Qualities that are labelled ‘feminine’, i.e., being emotional, empathetic, sensitive, thoughtful, etc., are strengths and necessary in a healthy and functional society, which, as designers of the built environment, we influence!