Nina Jotanovic

PhD Student



  • MAA II, Architecture, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain (2016)
  • BSc, Architecture, University of Belgrade, Serbia (2014)


Materiality has always driven advances in architecture. Its importance spans from personal impression of a space to physical properties and mechanical performance. Last century brought many advances in material science and created a vast array of synthetic materials for architectural use. But majority of these materials have two limitations that need to be addressed urgently. Synthetic materials, to a large extent, exhibit a lack of ‘character’ when compared to naturally occurring and biogenic ones. This research questions perceptual flatness of synthetic materials, from massive to thin, in comparison to extremely minuscule, but highly expressive and performative biogenic ‘veneers’. In contrast to current understanding of thin as flat, research investigates biogenic veneers whose microscopic bulk exhibits highly ordered three-dimensional structure, to which material owns its radiance and peculiar strength. Besides perceptual expressiveness inherited from biogenic formation, the research draws on sustainability of these processes. Current material fabrication processes include harsh conditions — extreme pH level, high pressure and/or high temperature. Facilitating these conditions requires energy which in turn increases atmospheric carbon-dioxide and contributes greatly to global warming. New processes of material creation are crucial to address both challenges.

Nina Jotanovic