top of page
!Zlatko Ugljen photo.jpg

Designers & Creators Directory

Zlatko Ugljen

(ZLAT-koh OOG-lyen)

Birthplace: Mostar, BiH

Heritage: Bosnian

Date born: September 13th, 1929

Education: Department of Architecture, Technical Faculty in Sarajevo (graduated 1958)


Zlatko Ugljen, praised architect, professor and academic, was born in 1929 in Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina (what was then the
Kingdom of Yugoslavia). Ugljen obtained his architectural education at the Technical Faculty in Sarajevo, Department of Architecture which he has graduated in 1958. He started working at the Faculty of Architecture in Sarajevo in 1960 as an assistant in the subject Design 1 (Projektovanje 1) where he became an assistant professor in 1970. Five years later, in 1975, Ugljen became an associate professor at the faculty and then subsequently became a tenured professor in 1985. Ugljen retired from university teaching in 2001, but the following year in 2001 he was bestowed with the title of "professor emeritus", a postition awarded only to the most notable of retired professors. Despite being officially retired, Ugljen still finds time to occasionally give lectures at his alma matar. Ugljen has been a member of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia & Herzegovina since 1990 and a corresponding member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU) and the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU). Apart from lecturing, Ugljen works as an architect at the Institute of Architecture, Urbanism and Spatial Planning of the Faculty of Architecture in Sarajevo. Among many architectural awards, the most significant was his winning the world-prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1983 for his work on creating the Sherefudin’s White Mosque in Visoko, BiH (Photo 1), which was unveiled in 1980. His continued lifetime contribution to sacral architecture of multiple faiths over his career has resulted in many critics praising him as among the most skilled sacral architects in the world.

[written by Laura Ikonomov Kovačević]

White Mosque, Visoko, Bosnia.jpg

Photo 1: the Sherefudin’s White Mosque in Visoko, BiH

In the early ages of his upbringing, Ugljen’s pursuit of architectural career was heavily influenced by Sarajevo professor Juraj Neidhardt (born in Zagreb on October 15, 1901). Professor Neidhardt came to Bosnia in the 1930s from Le Corbusier’s studio on the invitation of architect Dušan Grabrijan. Ugljen had a chance to encounter Neidhardt often, since his father, who was a mining engineer and the manager of the Breza mine, worked in the same company, Jugočelik. Ugljen accompanied his father and Neidhardt on visits to central Bosnia where they were designing a housing project for mine workers in Ilijaš. Ugljen reflects on the time spent with the Neidhardt family during WWII in Sarajevo in a 2012 interview Ugljen made with Oris Magazine:

"As a high school student, I lived, by coincidence, for some time in the family of architect Neidhardt. It was, in fact, my first encounter with architecture. Every day I watched strange drawings, models, collages. Prof. Neidhardt spoke with delight about them. It was only later that I realized that it was a valuable impetus for my pursuit of architecture. Basic guidelines in further cooperation with prof. Neidhardt revealed to me those sparks in which the search for the symbiosis of the regional and the universal arose."

Afterwards, Ugljen was encouraged to enrol in the Secondary Technical School in Sarajevo, where he was inspired to engage in extracurricular activities and traditional Sarajevan architecture. Later in his study years (second half of the 1960s), he went on the study trip to Finland, which he he found particularly fascinating. Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto left a significant impression on Ugljen for the admirable use of the local material, particularly timber, to organize areas in a topographic style in relation to the surrounding forest environment. These influences are clearly evident in Ugljen’s architectural expression, with many of his most memorable works being seamless blends of traditional and modern architectural styles, which not only meld with each other, but also with the landscape itself. This concept of marrying together architecture and nature was a concept borrowed from Japanese tradition and was employed by many modernist architects working in the early and mid-20th century (such as Frank Lloyd Wright, for instance). In relation to Ugljen's stylistic legacy, art historian Lejla Bušatlić makes the following description in a 2016 paper: "Synthesizing various elements and influences taken from the architectural heritage of Bosnia & Herzegovina, especially residential architecture, with a modernist aesthetic of pure volumes, along with artwork designed according to the principle of total design and Japanese traditional architecture, forms the recognizable architectural expression of Ugljen's work."

Object Design.jpg

Photo 2: Various purpose-built items designed by Zlatko Ugljen specifically for some of his architectural projects. [source]

As Bušatlić mentions in the above quoted passage, an additional facet of Ugljen's creative philosophy was the concept of "total design", where the architect not only take responsibility for designing the building's exterior but also the interior design, the furnishings, the ornamentation, the fixtures and so on. Through employing this level of creative authority, Ugljen created some of the most visually striking and artistically immersive built environments seen in the Yugoslav landscape, with notable examples being Hotel Bregava in Stolac, BiH and Hotel Vučko on Mount Jahorina near Sarajevo (today both unfortunately destroyed during the 1990s). A selection of fixtures and items which Ugljen designed for several of his projects can be seen above in Photo 2. Meanwhile, in addition to building projects, Ugljen has also used his architectural skills in designing several monument projects as well during the Yugoslav-era. Not surprisingly, these monuments bear the same thoughtfully deliberate and immersive artistic skill that can be found in his building projects.

Over the course of his career, Ugljen has contributed to over 200 architectural projects, which range in scope from modest endeavors such as small private residences and municipal buildings, all the way up to massive undertakings such as huge monasteries, religious buildings, hotels and presidential quarters. Today, Zlatko Ugljen resides in the Sarajevo area and still works on giving occasional lectures and labors on various design projects. His daughter Nina Ugljen Ademović is also a notable architect and has collaborated with her father on multiple projects over recent decades.

Works by this Designer:

This is a listing of a number of memorials, monuments, public art and other notable Yugoslav-era civic/architectural works by Zlatko Ugljen. Those sites listed in the upper part of this section have profile pages, while those listed in the lower part do not yet have completed profile pages. This list is not exhaustive and will be added to over time.

Monument works with profile pages:

Click photos to go to page

Vogošća, BiH

Vogosca new1.jpg

Name: Monument to Fallen Fighters

Year: completed 1969 (w/ Petar Krstić)

Monument works without profile pages:

Sarajevo, BiH


Name: "Menorah"

Year: completed 1964

Location: 43°51'26.9"N, 18°25'19.3"E

Turbe, BiH


Name: Monument to Fallen Fighters

Year: completed 1974 (w/ Petar Krstić)

Location: 44°14'28.4"N, 17°34'36.9"E

Vareš, BiH


Name: Monument to Fallen Fighters

Year: completed 1977

Location: 44°09'41.9"N, 18°19'32.9"E

Selected Yugoslav-era architectural projects:

Some photos link to articles describing the site

Visoko, BiH

!Viosoko Posta.jpg

Name: Central Post Office

Year: completed 1970

Condition: still operating

Coordinates: 43°59'13.6"N, 18°10'51.0"E

Bugojno, BiH

Vila Gorica, Bugojno, BiH (44.040463, 17

Name: Vila Gorica

Year: completed 1974 (or 1979?)

Condition: Destroyed in 1990s, in ruins

Coordinates: N44°02'25.3", E17°26'33.9"

Travnik, BiH

Hotel Orient-1 [44.227012, 17.660944].jp

Name: Hotel Orijent

Year: completed 1973 (w/ Smilja Janjušević)

Condition: closed, awaiting demolition [2021]

Coordinates: 44°13'37.2"N, 17°39'39.5"E


Vukosavci, BiH

Name: Motel Vukosavci

Year: constructed 1974-1976

Condition: Abandoned, in ruins

Coordinates: 44°38'08.7"N, 18°52'47.4"E

Visoko, BiH

Hotel Visoko, BiH, 1976-2.jpg

Name: Hotel Visoko

Year: completed 1974

Condition: closed, for sale

Coordinates: 43°59'30.9"N, 18°10'55.3"E

Tjentište, BiH

Tjentiste house-2.jpg

Name: Executive Council of SR BiH Residence

Year: completed 1977

Condition: Destroyed in 1990s, in ruins

Coordinates: 43°21'00.3"N, 18°41'11.0"E

Mostar, BiH

Hotel Ruza, Mostar, BiH, 1978-1-1.jpg

Name: Hotel Ruža

Year: constructed 1974-1977

Condition: demolished, expunged in 2010s

Coordinates: 43°20'16.6"N, 17°48'43.5"E

White Mosque, Visoko, Bosnia4.jpeg

Visoko, BiH

Name: Šerefudin's White Mosque

Year: completed in 1980

Condition: still operating

Coordinates: 43°59'06.8"N, 18°10'48.3"E

Stojcevac, BiH-2.jpg

Stojčevac, BiH

Name: Stojčevac Restaurant & Lodge

Year: completed in 1983

Condition: demolished in 1990s, expunged

Coord43°49'13.2"N 18°16'04.5"E [approx]

Stolac, BiH

Hotel Bregava, Stolac, BiH [43.083604, 1

Name: Hotel Bregava

Year: constructed 1975-1977

Condition: destroyed in 1990s, in ruins

Coordinates: 43°05'01.1"N, 17°57'21.9"E

Bugojno, BiH

Hotel Kalin, Bugojno, BiH5.jpg

Name: Hotel Kalin

Year: constructed 1977-1983

Condition: hotel closed, now private apts.

Coordinates: 44°03'23.6"N, 17°26'50.1"E

Kotor, Montenegro

Hotel Fjord, Kotor, ME, 1986-1 [Jovana M

Name: Hotel Fjord

Year: completed 1986

Condition: closed in 2005, demolished 2018

Coordinates: 42°25'19.2"N, 18°46'02.8"E

Zenica, BiH


Name: Bosnian National Theatre

Year: completed 1978 (with Jahiel Finci)

Condition: still operating

Coordinates: 44°12'05.6"N, 17°54'19.7"E

Jahorina Mountain, BiH

Hotel Vucko1-1.jpg

Name: Hotel Vučko

Year: completed 1983

Condition: demolished in 1990s, expunged

Coordinates: 43°44'08.6"N, 18°34'06.3"E

Tuzla, BiH

Tuzla, BiH, Franciscan monastery (Franje

Name: Sts. Peter & Paul Franciscan Monastery

Year: constructed 1983-1986/1989

Condition: still operating

Coordinates: 44°32'17.0"N, 18°40'17.8"E

bottom of page