Interview with Mr. Hromo: Successful Architect working in Qatar on Projects amounting to several Billion USD

Amar Hromo is an architect from Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH’s) capital Sarajevo who lives and works in the capital of Qatar, and he came to this far Gulf country four years ago with the aim to gain experience in his work. Today, he works on projects whose value amounts to several billions of USD. Mr. Hromo has been working at Focus Design Partners, Qatar since 2015 and he is a Member of the American Institute of Architects and Honorary Cultural Ambassador for Qatar Museums since 2017.

“Decision to work abroad was very easy, it had nothing to do with the economic situation in the country or position of architects in general, it was purely chasing a dream of an international practice experience. During the studies, I had opportunity to work on several projects abroad from Switzerland to India, and I can say that at that time I have already felt that there is gap in the knowledge and the way of how architecture is perceived that I had to fill,” Mr. Hromo starts the interview.

Mr. Hromo says that every change in life is difficult on its own way and that he wouldn’t say he had problems, rather challenges adapting to the new environment. The biggest difference is cultural change and ambiance in Qatar.

“I like to refer to Qatar as a world in small, from the moment you enter the country, through your every day spent in it you are constantly surrounded by the people from all around the globe living in a harmony with local culture and tradition,” he continues.

Sarajevo Times:  Qatar has revealed plans for the 80,000-seater Lusail Stadium, National Museum of Qatar, and floating hotels. These are just some examples of amazing and unique architecture that could be seen in Qatar. It is understandable that Qatari and BiH’s architecture cannot be compared, but, in your opinion, what BiH can learn from Qatar in terms of architecture?

“Like in every country, there is always places for improvement and growth, as in Bosnia so in the Qatar. Architecture is something that has become internationalized and to some content is losing the taste of uniqueness and locally influenced originality. “Thanks” to some of the international offices you can see exactly the same interpretation of an office or residential building in the London, Singapore and Doha. If you isolate that building in your sight you can easily imagine it in any area across the world and in some cases you will even encounter exact copies of the same building on different parts of the world. This is now becoming more an ethical question than problem of quality in architecture.

At this point I believe it does not matter what BiH can learn from Qatar its more what experience can we exchange for a mutual benefit. This is something we can learn from Qatar, taking in consideration an amount of almost 70% expat populations who is actively engaged on some way in the country development. Everyone is bringing something from its own country knowledge and sharing it with others and translating it into Qatar. Exchange of ideas, knowledge and experience is the best way to prosper and this is why we at BiH have to be more open to the world and use good examples from other countries and apply it to our own, and am not talking only about architecture,” Mr.Hromo explains.


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Sarajevo Times: You are an expert in terms of architecture. You were working on the multimillion USD Laboratory, hotels, and stadiums. How do people react when you say you are Bosnian?

“I wouldn’t say I’m an expert, rather someone who has taken the opportunity to work on such projects and someone who was blessed to get the experience of working on the projects of that scale,” he adds.

 He adds that, when he says he is Bosnian, he came across different reactions and they are usually related to the peoples own perception or memory of our country. But he adds that he never had a bad one, and that it seams that Bosnians have a good reputation as skilled and trustworthy people.

Sarajevo Times: Can you tell Sarajevo Times audience more about some recent project you worked on? What are the technologies companies in Qatar use?

“Since I had an opportunity to work on many large scale but also small scale projects I wouldn’t single out any of them. What’s more important now is the way how technology is used across different scale projects and in which way the architecture is going technologically. There is a trend in the construction industry in general called BIM, or the Building Information Modeling. It’s the way projects and developments are approached from the beginning till the end. It was a trend for a while because the developers saw opportunity in it to reduce the cost of construction, users saw an opportunity to manage the building easily, engineers to develop projects faster and solve the problems in earlier stages of projects. Now this trend became a must and not just in Qatar, all across the world. This is a technology or a way of how technology is used that is currently a must in all governmental projects across the GCC. I could write a full essay on what it is and how it’s implemented but that’s a story for itself. In general, Qatar is very good at following trends in technology across the world, and I feel that very soon will start developing new trends and standards for others to follow,” Mr. Hromo explains.

Sarajevo Times:Index Qatar 2018 exhibition and conference brought the world’s design and hosted important names in the architecture world. You were one of the key speakers, and asProject Design Coordinator at Focus Design Partners you spoke on ‘Sustainability and efficiency in architecture: towards the World Cup and towards the future with technology, sustainable design and innovation’. Please tell us more.

“This was an exciting opportunity for me from the moment I received a phone call from London based DMG events company who was hosting the conference till the last moment and my presentation to its visitors. As one of the key speakers, I was trying to enlighten the audiences by walking them through a case study on the ‘Sustainability and efficiency in architecture “, with focus on the World Cup and the future with technology, sustainable design and innovation’, as my theses tittle.”

“Qatar is a place where many markets merge and interact with each other and even with the latest technologies most of the time it’s on us how are we implementing them and till what level. My goal was to remind the audience on something more important than a great product. For me as an architect and sustainability enthusiast it has been always important the impact of architecture on the environment and reducing it negative effects in my projects whenever and where ever possible. Why is this important? Just take in consideration that architecture is responsible for 40-50% waste deposits globally and 20-30% of green gas emissions?,” Mr. Hromo explains.

“Architecture is something that is part of everyone’s life, and that affects our life constantly. Today the green architecture is not only about efficient buildings, or eco-friendly and recycled materials. It’s an infinity loop with infinite number of factors defining it. Those factors when working together will bring benefit not only to the building owners and developers, but what’s more important will bring quality to the life of users, whole neighborhoods and reduce the negative impact to the environment,” Mr. Hromo concludes.

Interview by Zejna Yesilyurt


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