Kenan Handagić is a successful IUS alumnus who got his BA in Architecture and he is currently working on numerous projects worldwide.
Read his story below!
Architecture has always been a part of my life. Since my father is an architect, from an early age, I had the opportunity to get to know the beauties of architecture. At home, I could always find interesting magazines and books about architecture. Colorful pictures of cities, houses, and interior design ignited my imagination. My father was the first professor of architecture for me. Choosing architecture as my professional direction was somehow a logical choice for me.
Architecture is not a simple and easy study; it requires dedication, a lot of time, and sacrifice. The demands placed on us by professors sometimes seem incomprehensible, abstract at first, but thanks to them, every student who expresses a desire to work and learn in the end reaches the goal. The pride an architect feels after successfully finishing the project creates a momentary desire to start another one tomorrow.
Honestly, I was never a student who liked to sit and learn alone in my room but a student who liked to sit in front of a professor and talk about design, listen to their thoughts, their suggestions or defend my ideas. Listening to their lectures raised a million questions in my head. Professors are what makes a university. I can say that IUS has extremely quality professors from whom I absorbed a lot of knowledge. And I am thankful to them for that. The friends I have made during studies with different cultural backgrounds are one of the greatest values I carry from IUS. All those friendships made me understand the differences and appreciate them.
I started building my professional path while I studied. I grabbed every job opportunity I could. How much work and whether it was paid or not was not important in the beginning. I just wanted to work and develop my skills. One of my favorite projects that I did during my studies is the "Baklava dućan" in Sarajevo. From interior design, furniture design to the production of some elements of the interior, the whole project was a big challenge. I received a lot of comments, some were from renowned colleagues which made me very proud and let me know that I was going in the right direction. When it comes to interior design, the project that I am the proudest of is the design of the interior of the Museum of Olympic games in Sarajevo. It was a great project with some great people and great professionals. The reconstruction of the Olympic Museum was a project I worked on for 2 years, a project that taught me a lot and perfected my knowledge. As a citizen of Sarajevo and someone who grew up near the building that I only remember as a ruined, devastated building from the last aggression on our city, and the opportunity to give my own contribution to the reconstruction makes me very proud.
My journey from historical objects took me to industry and production. I worked on designs of factories and learned how to approach the design and construction of such facilities. The journey continued in the direction of the hospitality industry. Working on hotel projects such as Ritz Carlton in Montenegro, Swissotel in Montenegro, Four Season Hotel in Bangkok, and collaborating with designers from all over the world is the point when I really appreciated the moments of studying and getting to know different cultures. It made all the processes incredibly easy for me.
Hotels require incredible organization and that is where I first met design management and project management. A new chapter in architecture. I fell in love with that skill of organization, anticipating problems before they happen. Working on large projects in which hundreds of engineers participate, and each one is a small wheel without which the project cannot move forward, is really a great experience. I had the opportunity to learn from the best in the business. A further path took me to the retail business. A new chapter, new challenges. Lidl, one of the largest supermarket chains in the world, gave me a chance to develop their stores in Bosnia.
It is amazing how wide the architecture is and how it goes into every segment. An apartment, a house, an industrial plant, the most luxurious hotel, a hospital, a supermarket, and even the organization of the entire city, all have one thing in common, and that is a human being. Make it easier for them to move, work and function, ultimately their life. And for that, they need an architect, and every architect should be proud of that fact. What I love most is that my profession follows my favorite hobby, which is traveling. One cannot go without the other. I use every opportunity to travel; I especially enjoy traveling in my camper van, which is another segment where I applied the knowledge of an architect. Organizing life in 4 square meters sounds incredible.