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General Engineering and the Department of Civil Engineer of the University of Florence have provided final architectural and structural design for the rehabilitation of the Old Bridge in Mostar

General Engineering introduces here the architectural design:

interview to arch. Manfredo Romeo - General Engineering WorkGroup

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 Part I - Subjects:

Importance of the Bridge for the locals - Reason for which it was destroyed and now restored - How and if this matches with a current restoration approach - Architectural relevance of the bridge.

Journalist - Everybody in the World has followed, trough the news, the civil war in Bosnia and the same was also for the event of the Old Bridge destruction by shelling. But could you tell us what the Old Bridge really represented to the people in Mostar ?

Mr.Romeo - Well, actually, I have no right of trying to explain such a feeling since I'm not a Mostar citizen, and I have never been in Mostar since 1997. But as far as I'm concerned, trough documentation, historical notes and from people's opinion, anybody can gather that the Bridge was to the City something really special: Mostar was built around a passage over the Neretva and, we could almost say that the town developed, during the Ottomans period, around the bridge which has always been the historical core of the historical town. The Bridge has always been the reason of the existence of the whole town and of its population to the point that it gave the name to both of them: Most, in the local language, means bridge and Mostari were the guardians of the bridge which were the very first inhabitants of the original hamlet.

Journalist - This is the case of many other historical monuments all over the world. Nowadays we are pretty much sensible to the ancient values of the past times…

Mr.Romeo - Yes it is true, but the relationship between the citizens and the Old Bridge was something peculiar and it wouldn't be so easy to find a similar case… at first I thought that it could have been like for me the Dome in the town where I live: Florence; but then I realised that it was not a matter of measuring the artistic importance of the monument, and beyond this, many other aspects related to history and to way of life made things incomparable.

Journalist - Therefore shelling the bridge was a way of striking the people of Mostar in their souls.

Mr.Romeo - Yes, I guess so.

Journalist - But the bridge was destroyed for the will of those citizens that didn't want connection with the other side…. so not everybody in town shared the same feelings about that monument !

Mr.Romeo - Somehow you are right: in town there was civil war and two parts were fighting, so apparently not everybody was sharing the same feelings concerning the preservation of the bridge. But to understand things in depth we should point out that the Old Bridge actually was not connecting fighting factions as it has incorrectly been said so many times ! The Old Bridge was in the historical core of the town, was spanning among two portions of the Muslim area and was an Ottoman monument. That's it.

Journalist - Wasn't the river the so called "limit" between East and West Mostar ?

Mr.Romeo - No, not in that portion of the town. Confrontation line was mainly along the Boulevard where still nowadays we find most of the ruined building.

Journalist - May the bridge has been destroyed because it could have been considered a military target ?

Mr.Romeo - I do not know anything about war events and how things exactly developed. It may have been anyhow… but it was only a pedestrian bridge.

Journalist - What was, then, the meaning of such event on your opinion ?

Mr.Romeo - The destruction of the bridge was an attack to the cultural identity of a community, on one side, and a world cultural heritage huge loss, on the other. History is plenty of cases in which, during wars, it has been chosen as target not only the troops but also civilians, their houses, their holly places and their symbolic monuments in order to cancel any reference point to the origins and to the reasons of aggregation of a group. I think that this has happened quite strongly all over Bosnia and particularly in Mostar, from both sides, maybe mostly because this war was a civil conflict.

Journalist - Do you think that, analysing things after about ten years, all Mostar suffered such a loss ?

Mr.Romeo - I’m quite sure of that. During war things may get uncontrolled and of course they do not reflect the democratic will of a group. This is also proved by the fact that, somehow, the whole Mostar is involved in this ambitious enterprise.

Journalist - Do you think that all this may have anything to share with your technical work ?

Mr.Romeo - Yes I think so. I'll tell you more. I think that you can not understand the design of the Old Bridge if you do not know what the Old Bridge represented to the people of Mostar.

Journalist - How do you see the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Talibans in relation to the case of the Old Bridge in Mostar?

Mr.Romeo - In Both cases we have a loss for the World Cultural Heritage which is really deplorable, and that has been defined as a crime; but the reasons that have brought to tragic events are substantially different since the Talibans by destroying the Buddhas wanted to strike, challenge and provoke mostly the Cultural World and the western countries, which were trying to protect the monuments trough diplomatic actions. As far as I know, Buddhas weren't worshipped anymore by the whole local community, and were not even considered pretty much an aggregation cultural symbol for the country: all the religion causes were rather more an excuse than a real target.

Journalist - But both monuments have been destroyed anyhow, and Unesco has recently stated, during the International Conference on the 24th of January 2003, that is not favourable to the reconstruction of the Buddhas statues since their loss is part of history and is not possible to preserve something that doesn't exist anymore. How do you see this position in relation to the ongoing yard for the reconstruction of the Old Bridge in Mostar?

Mr.Romeo - Well, I totally agree with the position of Unesco in relation to this important matter. It is a position that I professionally share and that is nothing new to the current restoration approach in the western culture: it has been also stated in all the International Charts since 1931: we should only preserve what is left from the past, as it is, and we should slow down as much as possible the unavoidable process of ageing and deterioration. But you omitted to mention that UNESCO, during that International Congress, has also stated that the final decision on what to do for the Buddha statues should be up to the Afghan People and Government, and still we do not know what the final decision will be. In the case of Mostar, it has been the City of Mostar and the Population of Bosnia that have expressed the will to rebuild the bridge on site again.

Journalist - Does this mean that you have followed a direction which doesn't match with your professional ideals and thoughts ?

Mr.Romeo - No, I wouldn't say that. I'd rather say that during this difficult and delicate task I realised that there is something that can not be expressed trough rules and principles and that is much stronger than any other theoretical and professional approach: it is the will and the spirit of the people that live in the place. You can theoretically work out methodologies and rules, but, on site, every restoration is different from all the others and the case of the Old Bridge in Mostar is undoubtedly quite peculiar: because of the symbolical value, because of the reason that have brought to destruction and for all the political and social consequences that are related to the whole event from 1993 till now.

Journalist - Are you saying that the International Charts are lacking since they do not foresee such peculiar cases ?

Mr.Romeo - I do not have any authority to say and not even to think anything similar. I only wanted to underline that on one side I totally share those directions which have been slowly matured in one and half century of history of restoration works; but on the other side I can not neglect, ignore and disapprove the will of 500 thousands people in Bosnia that want their bridge back. Moreover we should have an humble approach when talking about these matters since these principles are shared only in the western countries of the world and only in this recent period of our history. The rest of the world is another matter and we should not impose our ideals and philosophy elsewhere.

Journalist - Was the bridge of Mostar actually a masterpiece of architecture and how much of its notoriety has been brought by war events and by symbolical significance either of its destruction first, either of its current reconstruction now ?

Mr.Romeo - The Old Bridge has been known all over the world due to war events but it wouldn't have became so important if it were a monument of small relevance on the architecture side. It was a stone bridge of very slender and elegant shapes: its profile and its skyline were so thin and so high over the river waters that it was hardly to believe that such a structure could be worked out of huge stone blocks. Built in tenelija stone, it was of a light tone colour, bright and changing during daytime depending on sun colours. The bridge was mainly conceived as a functional structure, aimed mostly at connecting the two banks of the river: it may hadn't, originally, any additional ceremonial and monumental meaning, and its design has been quite influenced by the morphology of the site which is totally matched by its abutment walls. The whole monumental complex, including the adjacent fortification towers, is totally part of the site, castled on the rocks and winding the banks, it is not the result of a single design work, but of a development during time, that has followed the historical happenings and the need for protecting and keeping the bridge. The bridge had few esthetical devices and no ornamental element; its architectural beauty and value were to be found in the simplicity and in the essentiality of the structure: the shapes of the bridge were not linked to any time, to any style and to any fashion, in a way that the bridge of Mostar has always been admired as symbol. The bridge arch and elevations were made of tenelija stone, (local lime stone), and connections were performed with the use of mortar and of metal reinforcing cramps and dowels. The use of forged iron devices to strengthen the structure was one of the peculiarities of the monument and was applied almost to every element of the bridge following different assembling methodologies.

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Part II - Subjects:

The design objectives and definitions - What is actually going to be done on site - Devices for declaring new interventions - How the bridge will be rebuilt - The future for the ancient ruins - the project for MoMu: Mostar Museum.

Journalist - Could you explain briefly but clearly what exactly was the objective of your design assignment ?

Mr.Romeo - The objective of our assignment was to design a bridge identical to the former one. To quote the words: "a structure identical to the one prior to destruction". This was a decision that reflected the will of the people and that was taken first of all by the City of Mostar represented by the PCU -Project Co-ordination Unit-, with the support of the ICE -International Committee of Experts- and of UNESCO. This happened before we bid the design work. Of course, during the development of the assignment, of which we were in charge, many specifications have been introduced in order to better define the objective that I have so briefly resumed.

Journalist - Do you mean that this objective has been improved ?

Mr.Romeo - Yes, coherently with the adopted approach, some additional indications, concerning the philosophical contents of the design, have been developed in order to gain a more mature awareness of the aims and finalities of this delicate and peculiar rehabilitation intervention.

Journalist - How would you, then, define and name the intervention for the Old Bridge ?

Mr.Romeo - This Pilot Project has been named, in agreement with PCU, as "Rehabilitation of the Old Bridge in Mostar" since it is partially composed by different practical approaches: conservation and preservation, remedial and repair interventions, dismantling and remounting operations and reconstruction works. All the above should be aimed at the final rehabilitation and restoring of the Monumental Complex of the Stari Most in Mostar.

Journalist - This doesn't sound very much clear to me… and here we come to the most important question: I guess that "reconstruction works" is referred to the bridge portions that have been destroyed…

Mr.Romeo - Yes properly

Journalist - Will those portions be composed by the same ancient stones of the former structure ?

Mr.Romeo - No, no way… We have to understand that with war something has been definitely lost and it will not be possible to recover it. At the very beginning of this assignment everybody involved in this ambitious project was thinking and hoping to have the technical possibility to rebuild the bridge following a sort of anastilosis technique…

Journalist - what do you mean by "anastilosis technique" ?

Mr.Romeo - You perform an anastilosis reassembling when you remount single destroyed elements of a small portion of a monument in the original locations trough the help of wide and reliable documentation and by declaring the portions that underwent to these peculiar procedure in respect of the original ones. This way the integrity of the monument is preserved with its historical value, but those portions will have a lower relevance. Of course this is generally possible only if applied in small portions of the whole structure: it was not the case of the Old Bridge of course.

Journalist - Why wasn't it possible to proceed this way also for the Bridge ? was this only a matter of quantities and percentage of portion of the monument that was blown in to pieces ?

Mr.Romeo - Not exactly: it was the small quantity of recovered stones from the river: think that, counting also those stone blocks still on site next to the abutments wall, we could reposition in the original location not more than 22% of the global amount. But this was an optimistic evaluation since many of these stones were fractured in the inner portions and moreover most of the voussoir, (arch stones), were assembled in big blocks trough the ancient anchoring system. This would have required to disassemble those stones with a procedure that might have provoked further damages to the stones and the definite loss of the examples of the ancient refined assembling technique used at the time. In other words even in the case that technical issues could be faced, there were so little stone of the former bridge available, that we would have gained a new bridge with some stones of the old one inserted as spots. It was decided that this was not acceptable.

Journalist - This is really disappointing… but how is it possible that so many stones have been lost ?

Mr.Romeo - I have no precise idea… but as far as I'm concerned, I can say that trough careful examination of the video documentation of the destruction of the bridge it was clear that a large amount of the stones of the bridge were reduced to powder due to multiple direct hits of the shelling. Moreover I think that if you take a stone and let it fell down from an height of 20 meters together with other stones and over the rocks in the bottom of the river… then I presume that you might find many small fragments and a few preserved blocks…

Journalist - Therefore the bridge will be a new bridge ?

Mr.Romeo - Yes, we can call it "the new Old Bridge"

Journalist - How can this bridge have the same value and same symbolical meaning of the former one?

Mr.Romeo - It will not have the same value, nor the same symbolical meaning, and it couldn't be otherwise. The destruction of the bridge is now part of our history and it would be simply an utopia to cancel it. The new old bridge will be spanning over the Neretva and everybody will know that this is a copy of the former one: there will be different declarations devices in order to show the limit from which the new structure starts, and this will be also the way to remember tragic war events trough the observation of this bridge that will restore the global view of the monumental complex, the memory, the cultural identity and the symbol of the people. But for sure we can not, and we should not, consider it the same old bridge.

Journalist - I have heard anyway that it will be built following not only the same geometry but also the same materials … can you confirm this ?

Mr.Romeo - For information about this subject you should refer to LGA: the German Company in charge of the tests over all the materials. Anyhow I can anticipate that stone has been quarried from the ancient site and will be the same type, there will be some exceptions due to safety and structural requirements concerning, for instance, the type of mortar. But what is more important is that the new old bridge will be assembled following the same complex technique used in the past, with cramps, dowels and melted lead.

Journalist - Will you build the bridge exactly in the way it was performed in the XVI century ?

Mr.Romeo - No, I didn’t say that… The objective of this project is to build the same structure, and not to perform the presumed organisation of a XVI century yard ! What could it be the meaning of such enterprise ? Moreover at the time they didn’t have to respect each stone size and geometry like we have to… but you will obtain more information about the yard asking to ER-BU: the Turkish Company in charge of the reconstruction of the bridge.

Journalist - And what about the ruins of the former bridge ?

Mr.Romeo - The recovered stones are, at the moment, the only valuable elements of a great ancient monument, they have historical value, and they represent an interesting example of the ancient technique of assembling voussoirs and a constructive method which should be further studied and investigated. Recovered bridge stones and arch voussoirs, being what is left of the Old Bridge of Mostar shouldn’t be reused, and should be preserved exactly as they are and kept in good condition to ensure their long lasting.

Journalist - Where would you physically store them ?

Mr.Romeo - Recovered bridge stones and arch voussoirs should be settled in a purpose built museum and they may be organised for exhibition purposes. This would guarantees complete safeguarding and preservation of the ruins that still represent the Old Bridge, or at least, what is left of it.

Journalist - Is this museum part of the global plan for Mostar ?

Mr.Romeo - Not yet, unfortunately, and this is a very important requirement of the project: without a museum we wouldn’t know where to store the most valuable remnants that it was possible to save after war ! This way the whole project would have no meaning…

Journalist - Is everybody informed of the need of such a structure ? How is it possible that nothing has been done so far ?

Mr.Romeo - General Engineering is doing very much in this direction, since is promoting one of the most ambitious project ever conceived for the town of Mostar: the MoMu.

Journalist - What is MoMu?

Mr.Romeo - MoMu means Mostar Museum and is a project that foresees the construction of a new museum in Mostar for the Town of Mostar, and not only for the bridge. This would involve many countries, companies, professionals, world famous architects and many resources but would definitely make Mostar a cultural pole with all the economical benefits that you can imagine.

Journalist - Has this idea obtained success ?

Mr.Romeo - Yes. I have found many favourable opinions and I’m confident that soon we will have serious developments, but of course the project is quite ambitious and it is not easy to start it specially in a moment like this one, when the difficult yard of the bridge is ongoing.

Part III - Subjects:

technical description of the architectural design - phase a and b of the project - preliminary studies - main technical approches - design results - main difficulties - design limits - more info - personal opinions

Journalist - If you had to resume in a few words your work how would you define it ?

Mr.Romeo - The design of the Old Bridge of Mostar has revealed to be one of the most complex, delicate and undertaking enterprise of the history of the interventions held over the world cultural heritage. It has been based on wide preliminary studies and on all the available documents of the Old Bridge, it has been developed on different sides in order to give answer to issues concerning the restoration, the preservation and the declared reintegration, respecting the structural requirements and safety security factors as foreseen by the European standards. This was in brief…

Journalist - But now let's get more in depth for the ones that are fascinating by the technical challenge of this project: could you tell us more about your task and how it has been performed ?

Mr.Romeo - The design stage was mainly divided in two phases: A and B. During phase A we studied the monument and the ruins and we acquired any historical document, drawing or picture that could be of use. We moreover focused over the main issues and we worked out some preliminary hypothesis. During this first stage of the work we performed also many photogrammetric surveys related to the current condition of all the site including the towers.

Journalist - What were the most remarkable issues of this preliminary stage ?

Mr.Romeo - Main issues were about the geometry of the former bridge, the reuse of the ancient stones, the ancient assembling technique of the stones and connections to released masonry of the remaining portions next to the abutments wall.

Journalist - Starting from the geometry of the bridge, could you give us some details ?

Mr.Romeo - We had a very difficult task, since we were supposed to make the survey of something that was not anymore one site ! and of course we had to work out a purpose built procedure trough the analysis of what it was available: we had some recent surveys, one was dated 1955 and another one was dated 1982, then we had our own surveys over the remaining portions and some photogrammetric elaboration that we could perform over the images pertaining to the previous condition. We started with a comparing numerical system of all these information that were converted in to an homogenous digital format: we had about 200.000 numerical values to manage in order to check all the co-ordinates. Any incoherence has been located but we couldn’t follow a statistical approach to get a mean value since we didn’t have enough source samples, so we had to follow a probabilistic method in which it was considered the type of dimension and its reliability in relation to technique used to survey it.

Journalist - what was the result of this huge numerical analysis ?

Mr.Romeo - The result was "the most likely bridge of Mostar", as we have named it, which is the geometry that most probably and most closely matches with the whole structure as it was before war events. Results have been really satisfying and I believe that trough this method we have experienced, for the first time, an approach that could be also employed in other cases of historical and artistic interest.

Journalist - how could you determine the inner portion of the bridge ?

Mr.Romeo - well, on one side, we can say that the inner portions of the bridge were even more visible after destruction then before: anyone from the site could observe, looking at the ruins, two transversal sections of the bridge: one almost by the abutment and another one by the arch reins. On the other side I should admit that it has been really an hard work to determine the peculiar system of stone assembling trough a sort of archaeological research held over the recovered stones from the river waters.

Journalist - You should give more details about this assembling technique that was performed in the ancient times… and how it was managed within the architectural project.

Mr.Romeo - Former bridge stone elements were assembled with metal cramps and dowels sealed with lead poured in purposely built slots. This refine technique has been considered, in the design approach, as one of the most important value to be preserved of the ancient construction: design has therefore studied with high accuracy all the peculiarities and the positioning criteria of the above mentioned metal stuff with the declared aim of gathering all the wise devices that were proper of this ancient assembling method. At a first glance, the positioning of the strengthening metal elements could seem to be approximately performed, but with more accurate observations held on the bridge remnants it became clear that there were some important rules linked to practical and technological requirements for the right functioning of the structure...

Journalist - Were all those metal reinforcements of use for the stability of the structure ?

Mr.Romeo - You can have more information concerning this subject asking to professor Vignoli, that has developed the structural design within the Department of Civil Engineer of the University of Florence. I can anticipate to you only that, according to structural analysis, those reinforcing elements actually gave a small contribution to the bearing of the ordinary live and dead loads. Nevertheless no one can say how much those elements actually contributed to the long lasting of the structure since they could bear horizontal loads and shear forces that usually develop during seismic events and hydro-dynamic loads caused by river floods.

Journalist - On your opinion, did the Ottomans new about all this ?

Mr.Romeo - In the ancient times they didn't know about forces which is quite a recent concept introduced by physics theory but of course they new a system of causes and effects that was more than enough for them to work out architectures and structures that nowadays we hardly understand how they have been conceived!

Journalist - …But, please, keep on with what you were saying about these metal devices…

Mr.Romeo - Before proceeding to final design, studies and surveys have been performed, and for each element it has been determined a range of location measurements and a range of dimensions. The study has led to work out some limit measures to be respected in the positioning of the metal strengthening devices compared to the shapes and dimensions of the stone blocks and their joints. The same method has been consequently applied to the stone blocks and to their carved channels and slots. Design dimensions and measurements, for the above mentioned devices, have been given with ranges and with limits following the determined ancient criteria; this because it wouldn't have been theoretically correct to give a single average dimension to be repeated identically all over the structure, while, in the ancient bridge, a different method was followed, which was more suitable to the variability of the stone elements depending on the natural availability of the quarry.

Journalist - Are you sure that by giving all these dimensions managed by computer devices you do not go far from the real spirit of the ancient and imperfect structure ?

Mr.Romeo - You are quite right: this is a very important issue and we have worked a lot in order to avoid this risk: former Bridge was characterised by small irregularities, variations and by ordinary constructive imperfections, of which there is no documentation, (apart from surveys of the Bridge remnants). These small variations are precious and are part of the beauty of the monument and shouldn’t be neglected to guarantee the final global aspect of the bridge. In our design they have been considered and analysed to fulfil to the required aim of reproducing the ancient bridge as it was, and to avoid the construction of a polished structure quite different from the former one. Design, in order to manage correctly the above mentioned features, has given range dimensions for some of the elements that were subjected to variations. At the same time, design has adopted a tolerance systems which allows the possibility of slight variations: leaving margins free to be slightly managed during the on site stone assembling, by practical and manual adjustments, similar to the ancient adopted techniques, this way we will guarantee the reproducing of the same level of imperfections of the former bridge. A special system of progressive control has been determined to make sure, step by step, that we are not going far from the final design and far from the former bridge.

Journalist - After all the detailed studies and analysis did you proceed with the final design ?

Mr.Romeo - Yes, and we decided to develop a design in which every single stone element of the bridge was correctly represented and documented with its dimensions, position, and assembling procedure. We have worked out approximately 45.000 data only for the stone cut, and we had to give specifications for each work phase since we couldn't hope to find anyone in the world already experienced in such a constructive technique used by the Ottomans almost 500 years ago ! That also was a very difficult issue to face !

Journalist - Do you think that it will be possible to follow practically all those specifications and dimensions ?

Mr.Romeo - Design has been developed being well aware of the gap that there is among accuracy of the drawings and practical technical impediments and constraints in performing the works on-site, having to manage the stone as construction material. For the above reasons special devices and procedures have been determined in order that dimensioning of the different stones and voussoirs would not be so difficult to be performed. Moreover thank to the given tolerances (like quarrying tolerances), and the management of some groups of dimensions trough the range system, it will be possible to face this matter that has been defined as "technological issue" of the design.

Journalist - Before, you mentioned an issue which was related to the connection between ancient and new… could you explain what exactly it was ?

Mr.Romeo - Yes… one of the most difficult and delicate point of the project was related to the limit between ancient structure and recent one either for structural reasons, either for technical ones, and even for theoretical reasons ! After bridge collapse, all those masonry remaining portions of the abutments and of the bridge have released due to sudden lack of the dead loads thrusts; moreover those masonry elements were sometimes fractured and unstable. We wanted to save as much as we could of the remaining portions but everybody was conscious that we could not start building the new structure on such weak and fractured masonry remains. We decided to propose a partial dismantling and remounting following a sort of anastilosis method, and along those limits it has been foreseen a declaration device made of marks and visible joints that could allow the location between ancient and recent masonry.

Journalist - How has it been designed this declaration device ? Is there any risk that it could be somehow a stuff that is not matching with the bridge ? And for what reasons is it required ?

Mr.Romeo - A refined design plan with marking of some joints and stones, has been worked out to gain the results with no-shocking devices but with slightly interventions that at a first sight may be not gathered but with an accurate observation they are readable. This marking of the joints and of the stones is required for two different reasons: one is mainly scientific, and related to restoration requirements for which it is important to identify in future times each different intervention on the monument; the other reason is instead historical, and is aimed at preserving the trace and the course of time and events.

Journalist - Are you able, in brief to resume all design interventions which are foreseen ?

Mr.Romeo - I will try: conservation and preservation of the ancient stones recovered from the river; remedial and repair of built-in stones, bridge remnants, abutment walls and flooring; dismantling and remounting in the original locations of some portions of the bridge remnants; reconstruction of a "new old bridge" marked and declared as a recent intervention. That's all.

Journalist - Did the project undergo to special checks and reviews ?

Mr.Romeo - Of course. Even if we were a big team of about 25 people we were not alone! International Committee of Experts, a special Committee of Unesco, the Project Co-ordination Unit Technical Assistance, and the World Bank consultants have constantly reviewed our work and finally we had to submit the final design to three stages of corrections and integration and on that occasions any kind of critic has been proposed… as you can imagine.

Journalist - How long did it take to finalise your assignment ?

Mr.Romeo - We signed the contract on the 17th of April 2000 and after 8 months, on the 17th of December 2000 we gave the first layout of the final design. Correction stages lasted until March 2001. It was the shortest time possible… we couldn't have done faster.

Journalist - What kind of difficulties did you find during the performing of the assignment ?

Mr.Romeo - any kind… any kind

Journalist - But you seem to me quite confident … a perfect result is expected !

Mr.Romeo - No architectural design work will ever be enough to guarantee a perfect result on-site for such a delicate intervention as it is the rehabilitation of the Old Bridge of Mostar. To gain an high level of architecture work, which could compete with the marvellous former monument, all the given technical advises, specifications, warnings and requirements will be useless if rehabilitation is not performed with sensible, careful, humble and respectful attitude. The quality results, final aspect of the structure, architecture details, finishing works, are all in the hands of the Work Supervisor, (Omega Engineering Company from Dubrovnik), and in the hands of the Workers, (ER-BU Company from Turkey): with equal technical specifications we could have either the worst, either the best intervention of the kind, depending mostly on the accuracy with which works will be performed. The spirit with which restoration works should be held is not the same that is used for ordinary construction interventions: money saving, serial organisation, simplifications, time and deadlines are things which absolutely do not match with the requirements of an intervention of this type. Rehabilitation should be held with a spirit of research, of study, of understanding the ancient values, of humble observation of the wise technique used many years ago. If this spirit is not shared by all the members involved in the project, then we will soon loose the real meaning of this work and we will get something which will never satisfy the expectations of the whole cultural World and, what is even worst, of Mostar citizens. The rehabilitation of the Bridge will have to be conceived also as an important moment for the population of Mostar and of Bosnia: the symbol of the town will be restored after war events, and the construction period will assume the characteristic of a local, quite and thoughtful celebration.

Journalist - Many thanks for this long interview, and congratulations for your work.

Mr.Romeo - you are welcome … it was my pleasure.

date:  Florence 7th of February 2003

interview to: arch.Manfredo Romeo - as representative of the General Engineering - WorkGroup

This interview has been prepared as a guideline for TV Communications - Doclab (Italy) - Vidicom (Germany) - Deblokada (Bosnia) producers - International Broadcaster documentary distribution  

3d model and rendering: arch.Orazio Soleti - arch.Alessio Talarico


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