Milena, a project architect, understands architecture through the experience of the city at street level. After emigrating from Vršac, a small town in Serbia, to the exurb of Mount Zion Illinois, she was surprised by how Americans underutilized civic space. Instead of public engagement consolidated around a square, many spaces in her adopted home facilitated isolation and were devoid of culture. This dichotomy of experiences informs her view of architecture; to design spaces for the public that look to inject program to activate and encourage community engagement. She believes that focusing on the opportunities of the, often disregarded, program between work and home is what will elevate cities to democratic communities of inclusivity.
Milena earned her Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Master of Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her master’s thesis was the design of a university campus within a vertical high rise, focusing on the active grain that binds different program zones together, as it does in the streets of a horizontal city. Prior to joining WRNS, she worked at Perkins + Will in Chicago and San Francisco on a wide range of mixed-use residential and educational buildings. She was drawn to WRNS for the firm’s work on projects that span scales, requiring a balance of smart provocative designs situated within their context. In practice, Milena prioritizes design integrity with a conscience, resulting in quality sustainable buildings that have meaningful impact on their users and surroundings.