Name: Slavica Nikolic, AIA LEED AP BD + C
Title: partner, principal project architect
Company name: Ronnette Riley Architecte
Real estate associations or organizations of which you are currently a member: AIA
What brought you to your current profession?
I entered the architectural field at the age of 19 (college) and have never left it. I was curious about many different aspects of the profession: theory, social activism, town planning and planning, and later pure architectural design. I immersed myself in different experiences: Research work, teaching and professional practice. I have worked in New York, Belgrade and Moscow. I had my own architectural design studio, worked in hospitality, retail and residential, adaptive reuse, interiors, feasibility studies and blueprints, compliance code, etc.
I am grateful for this wide exposure and am always quite curious and lively to experience a variety of new and different projects and approaches to solutions.
In the past year, which project, transaction or achievement are you most proud of?
Last year has been a very strange year that is less about professional achievement and more about personal resilience and adaptability to different aspects of the pandemic. On the contrary, it has become even more evident to me how much wellness is an essential part of any design effort. If I look beyond this pandemic context, I am very proud that over the past few years I have broadened my expertise to design accessibility from various perspectives, as a designer and expert witness. , which inspired me to think about accessibility in a broad and holistic sense. way.
Who was / is your mentor and how has he / she influenced / helped you in your career?
I have always had excellent female architectural mentors, and this continues to be an inspiration to my practice. I was the first graduate of the talented Dr Ruzica Bozovic Stamenovic from the University of Belgrade. I was very fortunate to meet a New York architect and visiting professor Frances Halsband, FAIA, during my postgraduate studies at Ball State University, who introduced me to Ronnette Riley, FAIA, in the office of which I learned my first professional steps, and which gave me confidence to start working alone for many years to follow. Interestingly, or logically, I returned to RRA a few years ago to join its executive committee, which is 75% female. Ronnette, with her vast knowledge and experience, continues to be a valuable mentor.
What trends will dominate your industry in the coming months?
I believe the post-pandemic world is all about wellness and resilience, so flexibility and adaptability are major design goals. The awareness of how we interact with a space, how it can affect our health, mood and life in general, and how it can adapt to continue to be beneficial in different scenarios, this awareness grows. . Starting with flexible, hygienically improved, accessible interiors and sustainable energy practices, architects will continue to be at the forefront of creating more humane environments for the new post-pandemic world in which we live.
How do you contribute to your community or profession?
I value professionalism and practice responsibly, no matter the size or type of job, always doing my best. This is how I see my major contribution. I also try to integrate old and new beneficial wellness practices into architecture and interior design. I am a Certified Feng Shui Consultant and I organize Feng Shui workshops and presentations, involving people to become more aware of how we can benefit from our environments and lifestyles.
What books or social media influencers would you recommend to other women?
There are many ideas to help women discover their potential which may have been hidden in a patriarchal culture. Women should empower themselves while embracing a new vision of leadership. This includes embracing our nurturing and relational nature, focusing on inclusiveness, and enriching our common future.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
In my early childhood, I wanted to be an accordionist. I ended up studying it for eight years and playing in my youth in different orchestras and groups. In my first diary notes, around the age of 10, I expressed that I didn’t want to have a regular job, but rather an artistic and bohemian life. First notes on architecture dated 12 years. I wrote, I wanted to be an architect in New York, the center of the world. I guess this was one of the fantasies that I had forgotten and during my high school years I pursued science, music and writing, but when I finished high school I decided to pursue architecture, and I have never regretted that decision.