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Gorana Čanković, Executive Director, Energoprojekt Urbanism and Architecture Ltd.

Energoprojekt’s Vision for Modern Architecture

Energoprojekt Urbanism and Architecture Ltd. is a design firm that has been part of the Energoprojekt system, comprising seven registered companies in Serbia and over 10 subsidiaries and joint ventures abroad, for more than seven decades. Energoprojekt’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning has produced architects who’ve left golden marks on the company, across the history of Serbian architecture, and in many cities and countries worldwide

Here we discuss with the company’s executive director, Gorana Čanković, the business successes and endeavours from the rich portfolio of one of our country’s most renowned companies, hundreds of representative buildings constructed globally, challenges of contemporary architecture, construction and urban planning, current projects and plans for the future.

Given that you’ve been with Energoprojekt for 20 years, you are undoubtedly familiar with its illustrious past. How have you and your team worked to restore the company’s former glory?

— Since its inception in 1951, Energoprojekt has grown into a complex business system for designing, consulting, engineering and executing complex projects worldwide. Over more than seven decades of operations in the country and more than 70 countries across four continents, we have established and maintained high professional standards and become synonymous with reliability and excellence.

For decades, Energoprojekt Urbanism and Architecture’s business was based in foreign markets. And yet, over the last five years, we have focused almost entirely on the domestic market, thus better acquainting the local public our work. Our position today primarily involves taking on challenging engineering structures that require ‘large’ special licenses. We have acquired these licenses over the years, by working on reference objects worldwide and public buildings of significance to the city and the state.

Regarding the projects that have had a major impact on the city and the state, which ones would you single out as being the most significant?

— Choosing just a few is difficult, but here are some that we’ve designed and built in the last five years… Among them is certainly the Belgrade Tower of the Belgrade Waterfront complex, which will house an exclusive hotel and a section with luxury, branded apartments. This new Belgrade landmark has 40 floors, covers an area of 65,815 square metres and stands 168 metres tall. We have also worked on projects for the Chinese Cultural Centre in New Belgrade, Ada Mall Shopping Centre in Belgrade and the Park 11 Residential and Business Complex in New Belgrade.

In addition to these projects, we’ve also worked on designing public purpose and state administration buildings, including the Court in Kruševac, Science and Technology Park Belgrade, the Development and Industrial Park in Kruševac and Science and Technology Park Čačak. I must mention our longstanding successful cooperation with the Ministry of Justice and the Administration for the Enforcement of Penal Sanctions. For them, we have designed facilities at the Penal Institutions in Sremska Mitrovica, Požarevac, Niš, Ćuprija and Belgrade, as well as special complexes built according to the highest global standards: Penal Institutions in Kragujevac, Kruševac and Subotica.

Chinese Cultural Center

I would like to note that we have also worked extensively on our investments, the most current of which is the residential complex ‘Kosa Quarter’ on Belgrade’s Bežanijska Kosa and the residential-business building opposite the Palace of Serbia in New Belgrade, 65 metres tall and covering 68,660 square metres. Both buildings are currently under construction.

With Belgrade transforming into a city of cranes over the past seven to eight years and construction booming across Serbia, would you consider this a golden age for the construction industry?

— Yes, you are right… The construction sector in Serbia is being intensively renewed and is growing with large, demanding projects. As a positive shift that favours the development of the construction industry, I would highlight that, over the past five years, a lot of new public buildings have indeed been planned and realised, as have numerous reconstruction and renovation works on facilities in the fields of healthcare, education, sports and various state administration buildings… Numerous amendments and legal facilitations have been made in the construction field in order to shorten procedures to obtain building and usage permits.

Energoprojekt has grown into a complex business system for designing, consulting, engineering and executing complex projects worldwide

Despite this, numerous issues related to procedural steps remain during the obtaining of permits and consents, which represent a significant burden on both investors and designers. It is therefore important to highlight that large projects require large companies which can, as a system, provide investors with a complete service, from design to execution, and can thus guarantee the safety and stability of the investment, and we certainly count among such companies.

Given the influx of foreign and domestic companies, does your company embrace this competition without concern?

— We primarily believe that there is work for everyone, and especially for those of us that have proven ourselves over previous decades. We always align our projects with local economic, social and cultural conditions, and align our architectural expression with local building heritage. We apply advanced technical knowledge and ensure the highest level of quality compatible with international standards and practices.

Belgrade Waterfront – “Kula Belgrade”

Our multidisciplinary team of architects, planners, urban planners, engineers and consultants is guided by the needs and requirements of clients who often return to us because we show our full commitment to the project, from the conceptual solution to the successful completion of construction works, all at competitive prices.

How has the new era’s introduction of advanced technologies and innovative materials, as well as its focus on sustainability, impacted design and construction in your projects?

— Our company has always endeavoured to meet the demands of clients and the market and to offer optimal design solutions for a certain period, even moving ahead of time. When it comes to sustainability, investors increasingly require design solutions that can form the basis for a building to obtain a ‘green certificate’, the application of ‘smart’ systems, energy efficiency and savings, both in the construction phase and in the exploitation of the building.

Could you share some insights into your upcoming plans and future construction projects?

— Despite complex economic and social conditions and strong competition, Energoprojekt is today, in this time full of challenges, creating a stake for the future and lasting values, with the ambition to remain at the forefront of Serbian construction. In the coming period, we plan to develop our investments further, mostly in residential-commercial purpose buildings. I hope that many new public-purpose buildings will be planned in Belgrade and Serbia, to which our company can contribute through design, professional supervision and construction. We are expecting to design a business complex for RATEL in Dobanovci and to reconstruct and expand facilities of the PIO fund in several cities in Serbia, but also a project for the reconstruction and expansion of KBC Zemun and new projects for the Ministry of Justice…

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