Today we’re aiming the spotlight at Aleksandra Savic Rakocevic, founder of the emerging Melbourne-based practice Star Architecture. Since their establishment in 2015, Star Architecture has been fortunate to complete a variety of projects from residential new-builds, additions and alterations, to hospitality and office fit-outs in various suburbs of Melbourne including Northcote, Hawthorn East, Elwood, Elsternwick, St Kilda and Melbourne CBD. With more than 15 years of international and local industry experience, Aleksandra spearheaded Star Architecture to be one of the most sought-after architectural practice in the area. We took some time out to chat with Aleksandra to find out a little more about her, the team, and their projects. Let’s hear what she has to say..
George Takes Twelve
1. When I was growing up, I wanted to be…
Neurosurgeon was my very early choice, but during the high school times that changed to architecture. I never looked back…
2. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your company?
After graduating from the Faculty of Architecture at Belgrade University in Serbia, my husband and I ran our own architectural practice in Belgrade for eight years. During this period, we delivered a number of projects of varying scales, including renovation and redevelopment of the National Museum in Belgrade, development of new Head Office Buildings for Coca Cola and Siemens, also in Belgrade, Kura Olympic Centre development in Azerbaijan and others.
After moving to Melbourne, I worked for a couple of design-oriented studios for six years before establishing STAR Architecture in 2015. STAR is made of my urge to produce well-designed houses through a deep understanding of site possibilities and constraints, client’s needs, habits, and daily dynamics.
Being a small studio, we have developed a wide knowledge and set of competencies, where the combined efforts of all our collaborators have great significance in the project’s final result.
Although my passion is residential design, we were lucky to get opportunities to work on different types of projects, including office fit-outs and hospitality project in St Kilda. And yes, that was so fun!
3. How is your studio structured?
STAR is structured as a company. Our studio is located in Northcote and the number of people in our studio fluctuated over the years from just me to four people. Currently, the practice consists of me being full time in the studio and James Colgan, a masters student, working between one and four days a week, depending on his schedule at the university.
I also employed a senior architect in Belgrade. She worked in our old practice for a long time and we maintained the relationship after I moved to Australia. This is still working great and she mostly works full time on documentation packages.
During the last couple of years, we usually ran between two and six projects at the same time, often at different project stages.
4. What exciting projects (present or past) are you proud as punch about?
I am very proud of how we delivered a project for a renovation, and extension of a Victorian heritage residence in Hawthorn East. This project was very troubled when it came to our studio – we managed to get the clients excited about their house again and to get the project off the ground, all the way to the completion in March 2018. We now have a very demanding bespoke residency in our portfolio and a very happy family living their dream through our design.
Hawthorn East House
The renovation of this heritage home which was also previously featured in our blog honours the historical significance of the frontage, while the contemporary three-storey addition and a series of social spaces internalise the view, providing privacy and reinforcing the landscape.
These different ambiances can be used as a private sanctuary or as an entertainment space for social gatherings, always providing a well oriented and ventilated space. The new basement comprises a garage, a car wash, a bar, and a home theatre, and is connected with an existing cellar underneath the heritage house.
The lift/stair shaft connects all levels, along with the private sky lounge on the second storey with an unobstructed view of Melbourne city. The contemporary addition – pool, gym, and pavilion, designed on top of the basement – created the collection of various spaces, linked through access and visual connection.
5. What’s the most treasured belonging/item in your own home?
An awesome guy named Ivan and our two teenagers Angela and Vasa, that I share my life with. I’d have to add our dog Charlie to the list as well.
6. What’s the most impressive party trick you can muster?
I don’t really have one, except a couple of funny dance moves.
7. Are there any architectural trends you are excited about?
I love the work of Snøhetta from Oslo in Norway. Their design reflects all practical, aesthetic, sustainable and social aspects of architecture that I believe in.
8. Tell us about a project that excited you but you never finished.
The project for the restoration and extension of the National Museum in Belgrade was a very significant project in my career. We worked on this project for three years – from the preliminary meeting with the stakeholders to the delivery of the construction package with the approved building permit. Unfortunately, with the change of the government, the project was cancelled and never came to life.
9. What’s your go-to routine to shake off a busy week?
Friday night board game with my family, Taboo is our latest favourite.
10. You’ve got a week off, where are you going?
To the warmth and the beaches of the North.
11. Tell us about your best strategy for those dreaded uninspired moments. What gets you out of slumpville and back climbing the creative pinnacle?
12. Favourite architectural style from a bygone era?
Bauhaus – in architecture, art and design.
Meet the Architect Radio
“Very eclectic list of feel good songs from different places and times. This list is great for both work and singing.” – Aleksandra
Where to find her
Name: Aleksandra Savic Rakocevic
Business Name: STAR Architecture
Job Title: Director
Facebook: Star Architecture Melbourne