EXPEDITIO is an organization founded in 1997 by six students of architecture who studied at the Architecture University in Belgrade. In the beginning, Expeditio core consisted of: Aleksandra Kapetanović (Kotor), Biljana Gligorić (Beograd), Uroš Vuković (Beograd), Radojka Nožica (Trebinje), Ljupka Bilenjkij (Vrbas) and Tatjana Rajić (Kikinda). By the end of 1999, that team has been responsible for the implementation of Expeditio projects. At the beginning of 2000, one part of the first team - Aleksandra Kapetanović, Biljana Gligorić i Tatjana Rajić, moved to Kotor and officially registered EXPEDITIO in Montenegro.
Today, organizational scheme of Expeditio looks like this: Structure of EXPEDITIO
|Aleksandra Kapetanović, architect
|Biljana Gligorić, architect
|Tatjana Rajić, architect
|Vesna Leković, graduated philologist (English Language)
|Martina Đeković, architect
|Jelena Pejković, architect|
|Mr. Zorica Tomanović, architect|
|Mr. Stevan Kordić, mathematician and photographer|
|Nataša Ilinčić, architect
We engage a lot of collaborators in our projects, according to our needs. EXPEDITIO has a list of ~200 potential collaborators.
Text by Marijana Ivanova
Expeditio, Kotor, Montenegro - Our vision is a quality space for better life
We decided to make an unusual interview with three people, as they themselves are unusual, as well as the association they are members of. Aleksandra Kapetanovic, Biljana Gligorovic and Tatjana Rajic are three young architects, who dedicate their creativity, knowledge and enthusiasm to cultural heritage, architecture, spatial planning and the civic sector in Montenegro, particularly focused on Boka Kotorska and its surroundings.
What is unusual in the whole story is these three girls’ dedication to the mission of the association they have established, Expeditio – Center for Sustainable Spatial Planning, located in Kotor, Montenegro. Dedication and enthusiasm that can rarely be met, along with fecund fantasy, creativity and wideness of the thought as members of the architectonic profession usually have (many of them with an artistic thread in themselves), have contributed this association to be one of the most active and successful in Montenegro.
The story about the establishment of Expeditio is also unusual. Its basis was the Biljana’s decision, born in Belgrade and Tatjana, born in Kikinda, to move to Kotor, Aleksandra’s place of birth, after they had fallen in love with this region after participating in a few workshops in Perast, Kotor and other pearls of Boka Kotorska…
How did you start cooperating? Was it just being friends from the University?
Tatjana Rajic: During the studies at the Faculty of Architecture in Belgrade, we three were acquaintances. However, 10 years ago we took part at the students’ demonstration against Milosevic, and that energy remained after the demonstrations. We turned it into the Club of Young Architects, whose work we renewed, as it was nearly out. The three of us and some other colleagues from the protests “team” revived a few projects of the Club, such as the Walking marathon on Fruska Gora. When we were coming back from the marathon, in the train we agreed to organize a workshop in Perast, Boka Kotorska.
Aleksandra Kapetanovic: Uros, our colleague and the only man between us helped us make the project about the Perast workshop. 16 students took part at that architectonic workshop. We organized the workshop without our professors and we provided the funds ourselves. We drew bases for the buildings, we cooperated with the natives. The town inspired us and it resulted in the publication on Perast – “Three hundred years of solitude” and after that we presented the results of the project. This project has been awarded and we are very proud of it.
Did the workshop inspire you to establish the association Expeditio?
Tatjana Rajic: Well, as the time was passing, we three were the only enthusiasts left. We continued working on different projects in Kotor and since 2000 we have constantly been living here. In 2000 we decided to establish a non-governmental organization and work on projects. That’s how Expeditio was established.
Biljana Gligoric: After five years’ of work we were given the first bigger grant by UNDP. It was the project “New Durmitor House”. We announced a competition and started a system work and campaign against illegal building, in partnership with a local organization. UNDP helped us a lot to strengthen as an organization.
Aleksandra Kapetanovic: At that time Expeditio became a popular organization. Then, five years ago, there were lots of opportunities for work in the non-governmental sector. Donors noticed us, USAID among them, too. We had a meeting in Kotor and they offered us to open an office. We signed an agreement with them and we established a regional center for development of civil society. We were given different trainings and equipment – USAID helped us a lot to develop. Then we received offers for cooperation by other donors, too.
What projects has Expeditio implemented?
Tatjana Rajic: In the beginning, we worked on different projects. We worked on public representation for three years, using and transferring the knowledge we gained. But later we decided to turn to our occupation and focus on the problem of sustainable architecture in spatial planning.
Aleksandra Kapetanovic: We worked on projects for sustainable development, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and we were supported by the European Agency for Reconstruction for a project in the field of Euro integration of Montenegro. However, little by little we focused and now we work in four fields, set up in our mission: encouraging sustainable development and enhancing urban and rural areas in Montenegro through activities in the fields of architecture, spatial planning, environmental protection and development of civic sector. We think that through these sectors we can go towards our vision: quality space for better life.
What is the working space like for the citizens’ associations in Montenegro?
Biljana Gligoric: Now it is more difficult than two years ago. Many donors have withdrawn, the American ones above all. More present in Montenegro are the European donors and it is more complicated to work with them as bigger financial participation is required by the citizens’ associations themselves. On the other hand, it is positive that there is a phase when state institutions start asking services from us. Expedition receives offers for preparation of studies by the Montenegrin government. We think it is a very positive trend. We are recognized as partners and we have the position to take actions and take part in the government’s decisions. At the moment Expeditio is at a crossroads – we want to focus more and we are in a phase of preparing a new strategy. This moment is very important for us and we would like to cooperate closely with the other sectors in the society – the governmental, and the business sector in the future.