SGI OFFICE BLITZ: Denitsa Knyazhevich
Denitsa is an architect at Stephen George International. She has graduated in 2014 at the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy (UACEG) in Sofia, specialty “Public Buildings”. By the end of 2015, she started working in Stephen George as an architect.
Which is the most pleasant work process for you?
D: The most pleasant process is always the development of a building. Whether it’s an imaginary or real project. We work on many concepts and competition projects, such as feasibility studies on the potential of a building in a property – how it could fit the plot, how it can develop, what parameters it can achieve. So, always “the first met” with the project and the first sketches are the most enjoyable process.
On the other hand, the most satisfying moment, maybe there’s a difference here, is when you’re starting to see how your project is being built. And, of course, the most beautiful moment is when you see it already finished, functioning, and you see the positive looks of the people who inhabit it.
The project you learned the most from?
D: The project I have learned the most, is for sure the Shopping Center I’m currently working on. As I mentioned, it’s a reconstruction and restoration of an existing building and this is a project in which every day we solve a myriad of cases. We encounter existing problems with future problems. You have to take into account many existing things, anticipate many future issues and master them in some way.
Tell us about a difficult problem that you solved as part of your work.
D: When I hear “difficulty”, the first thing that comes to my head is definitely the structure. Because every day we hear questions like: “Can we move these structural walls here? Can we cut the slab?” (in any impossible ways, in all sorts of places). This surely makes me shock every time I hear it.
The biggest lesson you learned while at SGI?
D: The most valuable lesson in SGI, I think we all agree here, that teamwork is something that is nowhere else. In none of the previous offices where I’ve worked, there is not such a collegiality and good collaboration. And the good thing here is that we are really a big family in which there are no big and little ones, everyone learns from each other and everyone helps the other. And all these projects are result of a mutual work of our entire team.
The project that you wished you have done?
D: I would like to design a museum. Always a museum is the emblem of a city. Perhaps the very idea that you will get involved with something like that is extremely responsible and extremely challenging.
The most beautiful building.
D: The most beautiful building for me is the New National Gallery in Berlin, which is the work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. This is a building that was built in the 1960s and to this day, when one sees it, it is scarcely adequate, terribly modern and contemporary on the background of all the other buildings not only in Berlin but in the world.
What is the future of architecture?
D: I think our future is in architecture. Because we do not actually work on just some beautiful visions and things that people just see and like. Here we are planning cities, anticipating the development of these cities. In general, we work to make people happy and to live in well-organized, functioning, and comfortable environments, buildings and spaces.
How do you see the relation between architecture and business?
D: Architecture and business are certainly two very closely related concepts. 90% of our work is communication: meeting with clients, meeting with investors, meeting with our subcontractors, with our partners.
What people don’t know about architecture?
D: People do not know anything about architecture. Very often my friends are saying: “You just draw some houses. What are you doing so much? Why are you working so late? What are you wasting your time with?” But the truth is, we’re not just drawing houses. We design the comfort of living, the comfort of not only houses, but also spaces, cities, as I have already mentioned. So, people definitely do not know anything about architecture.
Are architects rock stars or mad geniuses?
D: I think every architect could be classified as one of the two concepts. I think our office as a whole is more like a rock star team.