Architects Helping to Create a Sustainable Built Environment

For Serban Tiganas, founder and President of the Order of Architects in Romania (OAR), being an architect involves a wide range of interests and skills: a love of building, artistic inspiration, talented mentors, competitiveness, and a spirit of teamwork, since every construction project, large or small, demands the efforts of many people working together. A native of Cluj who founded his own architectural firm with civil engineer Florin Dico in 1997, Serban Tiganas has participated in projects throughout Romania and abroad and sees himself as “an architect citizen of Europe and the world who has made a career in Romania.” He discusses OAR’s activities and goals.

What is OAR’s mission?

Serban Tiganas: OAR strives to develop a cohesive and responsible professional community guided by a code of ethics and focused on promoting and enhancing quality architecture. OAR is the unified voice of its members nationally and internationally and is committed to best practices, high expectations, creativity and meeting challenges. We founded OAR in 2001 when Romania implemented new laws on architecture. First priority was to enhance the quality of Romanian architecture by training professionals in the field and making sure they meet high standards. OAR has grown from 2,400 members in 2001 to more than 8,000 today. Our main mission is to contribute to a good, competitive, well balanced professional environment for construction in Romania, which is not easy because of the legal context and the existing culture of construction.

What is your message to young architects?

Serban Tiganas: Architects are seen as the ones who make a building attractive, like makeup artists, but we also deal with crucial issues like making sure structures can withstand earthquakes, fire and other natural disasters. Even more, as architects we can help create a high-quality built environment for people to live in, one which brings pleasure and meets current and future needs. My message to young architects is to have patience to develop their skills and to avoid professional compromises under clients’ pressure. Good architecture is more difficult to obtain than a good business with architectural projects.

What is the current state of Romania’s construction industry?

Serban Tiganas: Standards in the industry are rising because of EU regulations and more informed consumers. The public sector has a crucial role to play, since even though it is responsible for less than 10% of new construction, it sets an example for the industry. I think the future of construction in Romania will be a new, higher-quality generation of sustainable buildings, and OAR is trying to help the government move forward with this vision. OAR also wants to unify construction-industry professionals in a commitment to best practices, but I believe that the construction sector in Romania is still immature in terms of quality exigencies.

What is your message to investors?

Serban Tiganas: Romania offers very talented people in construction-related fields and is a market with outstanding growth potential. Foreign investors should uphold the same quality as in their countries of origin, rather than taking advantage of the Romanian market. I urge local investors focus more on progress in terms of quality of constructions, rather than advertising. Let the best, smartest and most competitive win!