Martina Vrankas (Slovenia, Architecture) and Josè Oliviera (Portugal, Architecture)

NE Martina Vrankas and HE Josè Oliviera

New Entrepreneur (NE):
Name & surname: Martina Vrankas
Country: Slovenia
Age: 29
Sector of activity: Architecture
Did you already start your business? No
What is your future business? Archi Wander, an own architectural design business

Host Entrepreneur (HE):
Name & surname: Josè Oliviera
Country: Portugal
Sector of activity: Architecture
Experience in running a business (in years): 43
Name of business/website: Sitios e Formas II, Lda
What is your business? Architecture, design and consultancy

Period of exchange: 01/04/2021 – 30/09/2021
Duration of exchange: 6 months


New entrepreneur Martina Vrankar is a young Slovenian architect, who is planning to start her Archi Wander brand because she wants to develop her own business to share her passion for architecture, design, and traveling with others. She decided to take part in the EYE program in 2021 with the purpose to improve her ability to manage architectural projects. Through her participation, Martina learned about Quality management systems and Project Management, gained experience in licensing documentation for building permits and management of execution projects for the rehabilitation of cultural heritage buildings in the Coimbra historic center under UNESCO protection. She encourages other new entrepreneurs through participation in presentations of the EYE program, writing articles for the newspaper, and knowledge transfer of management.

Host entrepreneur Jose Oliveira has more than 43 years of managerial experience in the architectural sector. In the past, he was working as a manager through S&F on international projects of several scales from architecture to urbanism, and nowadays, he is focused mostly on rehabilitation projects in Portugal. Jose has an opinion that EYE is a curious program because it gives a possibility in a way to return to the small architectural studios that existed 40 years ago. Young professionals in the past started to work in their small offices in contrast with western big size offices with a lot of employees. It is important to connect the core architectural production with knowledge of management with solid foundations. Nowadays for investors, loyalty architects need a good foundation with additional knowledge of management.

Portugal is a dream land on the edge of the Atlantic ocean. Portuguese architecture is characterized above all by a strong attachment to location, horizontality, authenticity, and a minimalist abstract search for essence. Martina Vrankar and her host entrepreneur Mr. Jose Oliveira found each other on LinkedIn. She was hoping to benefit from the knowledge transfer on the management of the architectural office, get the opportunity to learn marketing strategies and business communication from an experienced entrepreneur, and besides that work on practical and concrete architectural projects of building heritage.

Discovering the old S&F business strategies from the year 2000 represented her transit into a sphere of entrepreneurial rebirth. Together with the host entrepreneur she talked about quality as a responsibility to its dedication to excellence. Understanding customers’ needs and satisfying their requirements by the ISO 9001 standard gave her insight that architectural service is not just designing an idea of an architectural masterpiece. During the EYE exchange in Portugal, Martina was involved in project management for the renovation of Baixa in the historic center of Coimbra, working on tasks for the licensing and execution project. Designing architectural heritage limited with the UNESCO restrictions with protected existing walls, roofs and facades and at the same time having client expectation with the return on investment on the square meters for sale was an extremely challenging test.

During the knowledge transfer of management processes, she experienced the adventure of guiding steps through the mentors ’S&F process manual for the architectural office. She was dealing not only with architecture and design aspects but also with economic issues and doing graphic improvements for the marketing materials. As her mentor said “great project management is very important” and the analysis of the working process helped her to understand the world of architectural production.

Ms. Martina Vrankar gained a new set of skills in the fields of business management, financial management, and marketing in a short period of time. The EYE exchange will benefit her future business by providing knowledge transfer structure of management organization of the architectural office and the rehabilitation processes of build heritage. At the end of their exchange, Chris Burton from the British Portuguese Chamber of Commerce invited her to the Sustainable Development Event where they also talked about cork as sustainable material. She is proud and grateful for the knowledge and experience gained at S&F, so it was time to bring the knowledge transfer of management in architecture back to her home country.