Autor: OFIS Architects
OFIS arhitekti is an architectural practice established in 1996 by Rok Oman (1970) and Špela Videčnik (1971), both graduates from the Ljubljana School of Architecture (graduated October 1998) and London’s Architectural Association (MA January 2000). By 1998 they had already won several prominent competitions, such as Football Stadium Maribor and City Museum Ljubljana. Many of their projects have been nominated for a Mies van der Rohe award, a Silver IOC/IAKS medal for the football stadium in 2009, the European Grand Prix for Innovation Award in 2006, an honorable mention at the Miami Bienal in 2005 for their Villa “Under” Extension, a high commendation for the City Museum renovation and extension by the UK Architectural Review’s AR+D awards, and the prestigious “Young Architect of the Year” award in London, UK, in 2000, to just mention a few of their achievements.
OFIS work’… The international team is based in Ljubljana, Slovenia and Paris, France and has partner firm agreements in London and Moscow. The beginnings of OFIS’ activities date back to the nineties, a particularly exciting yet difficult period for the former Yugoslavian republics that were undergoing intense self-re-evaluation and reinvention from scratch, economically and culturally. In terms of architecture this meant that most of the larger architectural offices had to be scaled down or went bankrupt, creating an empty space for younger groups or individuals to participate in architectural competitions. Back then, OFIS managed to impress the jurors with original thinking and clear concepts. Over the past ten years they have been dealing with various national and international clients from the private sector, the commercial sector, and state institutions- each with their own set of agendas, budgets and problems. In this period, they have developed the tactics in their work which make them stand out from the rest.
An OFIS project always starts with the search for a critical issue with the program, site or the client. Their design is not about surpassing, confronting, ignoring or disobeying the rules and limitations of each project. Rather, they plunge right in the middle of them and obey the ‘law’ literally, word by word, if need be and at times even exaggerate it. In their work, restrictions become opportunities for an architectural system. In that sense, they become subversive, turning the limiting conditions into operational tools and so exposing all of the different possibilities. The architectural straight jacket all of a sudden becomes a beautiful dressing gown.
OFIS lately… Even though the practice is based in Ljubljana, the work and communication is international, taking part in competitions and the architectural discourse worldwide. They recently won a large business complex in Venice Marghera, Italy and a residential complex in Graz, Austria. However, it was by winning 180 apartments in Petit Ponts, Paris, their first large scale development to be constructed abroad, which led them to open a branch office in France, 2007. This has been followed by a second large scale development with the construction of a football stadium in Borisov, Belarus, due for completion is 2012.