We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the AApparel Sustainability Award winner of our "The Marker Design Challenge" competition – Grusa Bauman from Ireland!

Grusa Bauman from Ireland

I finished my studies at the Faculty of Architecture at Zagreb University.

I have spent most of my career in Zagreb, where I worked in several diverse companies, from a one-(wo)man office to a huge construction company with 12,500 employees, and some middle sized offices in between.

Six years ago, I moved to Ireland, and I am currently working for a small office in County Roscommon.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where the company/ individuals have been involved?

During my career, I have worked on a very various and broad range of projects: from product design to masterplans and urban design.

As a design architect, project architect, and project manager I have worked on projects for sports, cultural and health care buildings, schools, nurseries, nursing homes, hotels, residential buildings, family houses, and interiors.

I have particularly vast experience in residential architecture – housing and social housing. I have participated in a number of architectural competitions in which I have won several prizes, including two 1st prizes: for a High School Sports Hall in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and for a Social Housing in Lepoglava, Croatia.

I also participated in the 47th Zagreb Salon Exhibition with a competition entry for an Open-air Stage in Opatija, Croatia (2nd price rewarded).

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

I can hardly think of a human activity with a bigger long-term impact than architecture, both on society and on the environment. Architecture shapes life on earth: the life of individuals, the building and preservation of communities, and the healthy sustainability of nature, of which we are all part. Every ton of bricks, every square meter of tarmac stays for a long time. We must use it well.

It is a huge responsibility and yet, nowadays it seems somehow forgotten. We are more and more considered not the experts who know but service providers to the demands of the paying client.

I believe we should change it. We should be much more vocal when it comes to politics and decision-making and much humbler and more sensitive to the environment and nature. We should bear in mind that essentially, we are always working not for the client but for the users first; and following that, for the future benefit of the wider community as well. We should all make sure that the long-lasting mark we are leaving behind us is not an ugly scar.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

For me, architecture competitions are the purest essence of our work. They are fields in which to try out our ideas, to stretch and broaden our way of thinking, to try something new, and to say something we are usually not in a position to say. Fields to explore and play. Pure joy! (If it results with a prize or realisation – even better, of course.)

Secondly, competitions are the most democratic way of acquiring work, an opportunity for small and young offices to get important jobs and recognition.

For the society, it means “handpicked” independent well- designed architecture – in an ideal case, of course. In Croatia, every public building and every private building of significance has to pass through the open competition. In Ireland, on the contrary, competitions are rare and open to just a handful of biggest offices.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture competitions?

Go for it!

Try it at least once! Experience the pure joy of creating; the brainstorming at the beginning, and the adrenalin at the end when your computers start failing and your printer stalls; the friendship and camaraderie forged in the crazy hours of the night; the despair of dead ends, and the bliss of a solution found and everything falling into the place; the joy of winning, the disappointment of losing out, and the pleasure, understanding, and learning that the result entails...

For young architects, it should be an indispensable part of education; for experienced colleagues, a reminder of why we are in this job at all.

Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Enter Architecture Competitions

Curious about the value of architecture competitions? Discover the transformative power they can have on your career - from igniting creativity and turning designs into reality, to gaining international recognition.

Learn more