In a recent interview presented in collaboration with PLANE—SITE, architect Christian Kerez and curator Sandra Oehy speak about Incidental Space, their exhibition for the Swiss Pavilion in the Giardini at the 2016 Venice Biennale.
Kerez explains, “what we tried to do for this year’s Swiss Pavilion at the Venice Biennale is to really make a building, actually—to build a space, to offer an experience of architecture. Basically, a space at the Biennale doesn’t have to be very functional. You don’t have to live there; you don’t have to work there. It’s really about experience. This is also about the question, how much can you imagine? How can you create a space with the utmost architectonical complexity?”
In an interview with the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), Bjarke Ingels reflects on the design of skyscrapers, noting how "sculpture is fine, but if its arbitrary it's not as interesting." Architects, Ingels argues, have the problem of "skilled incompetence:" the notion that they "already know the answer before [they've] even heard the question." This prevents them "from questioning the question, or having the question rephrased, or elaborating on the question, or even listening for the question – because [they] already know the answer."
"Design always presents itself as serving the human," state Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley, "but its real ambition is to redesign the human." Their curatorial statement for the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial, which will open later this year and is themed around the title Are We Human? The Design of the Species: 2 Seconds, 2 Days, 2 Years, 200 Years, 200,000 Years, brims with reflective and often prescient statements such as this. All that will be encompassed by this Biennial, they say, will revolve around one pressing provocation: that design itself needs to be redesigned.
If one thing is certain, this Biennial will not come off as a 'trade show'. Wigley (New Zealand) and Colomina (Spain)—both Professors of Architecture at US institutions (Columbia and Princeton, respectively), theorists, writers, and critics—have exerted a profound influence on architectural discourse and pedagogy over the course of their careers. This Biennial, on the other hand, serves as their first formal foray into the world of 'design' – a field which few architects actively engage with.
In an exclusive thirty minute-long discussion with Kevin Roche, described in this interview as "arguably the greatest living architect you've never heard of," Monocle's Steve Bloomfield hears about his early years in practice through to the evolution of his design philosophy over a career which has spanned five decades.
As part of OMA co-founder Rem Koolhaas' sixth interview with Charlie Rose, the Rotterdam-based Architect discusses why the Dutch port-city is his practice's base – and why he switched from journalism and scriptwriting to architecture. In the discussion, of which four snippets have been made available, Koolhaas also explains why he feels that smart technology has a "sinister dimension," and on how he—and his practice—have a tendency to "resist aesthetic."
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In an exclusive half-hour interview with Lord Norman Foster, Monocle's editor-in-chief Tyler Brûlé discusses matters of urban planning and "big-thinking emerging economies" with "one of the world’s most innovative and revered architects." Foster, who turned eighty years of age this year, has been the recipient of some of the world's most prestigious architecture awards – from the Pritzker Prize, the Stirling Prize, the AIA Gold Medal and the Prince of Asturias Award (Spain). Over the years, Foster's practice have become world-renowned experts in high-density transit design (namely, airports) – a focus of Brûlé's questioning.
“We as a profession have to encourage young architects to understand that the technology they’re using is merely a tool. They have to understand how to build the building that they’re creating, but also understand that this place is going to affect somebody. So what can we do to make it a place that—in a sense—I want to be a part of, that I want to attach to?”
“Something I always tell my students is that it’s important to fail on a continuous basis—and I’m not talking about the grade. I mean it’s in the spirit of risk, that you have to be willing to free yourself from a set of preconceptions in order to get to this new place. And if failing constitutes making mistakes in order to learn from these mistakes, then you have achieved an enormous amount. In fact, you’re only able to move forward because of this new-found knowledge.”
“I think one generational shift that’s going on has to do with the interest in architecture students to be involved in the community. Students see architecture not just as a profession, like medicine or law, they see it as a kind of service profession, on the order of social work or social science, where they understand that the work they do affects communities and real people, so they want to involve the communities from the beginning in their design process.”
“Students who enter schools of architecture today are entering it at a very young age, perhaps when their total world experience and awareness is relatively narrow, and they’re making the decision to become a practicing architect, and putting aside those studies—general ed., liberal arts studies—that might actually, in the end, make them more contributing architects. […] Fewer and fewer people are having that basic liberal arts, general ed. knowledge in the profession. And it’s a serious problem.”
“What makes a livable city is the place where the resident—the occupant—feels in charge. So, for a child, a neighborhood that’s child-friendly. Or for citizens, a place that is physically beautiful, and handsome, and nourishing, and inspirational—a place where there is [a] substantial [amount] of public realm.”
“I think that [sustainability education] is a massive responsibility of ours: to go beyond what we’re being asked to do, and to teach our clients what a good building is, and to get them to look at buildings in different ways, and get them to do […] the right thing.”
“These are methods to actually create the optimum amount of freedom for the occupant themselves to figure out how they want to use the space and live with the least […] architectural impediments, and the least […] predetermined idea of where things should go and what should happen where.”
“I always had an affinity for architecture which I attribute to growing up in a neighborhood and town that was constantly under construction. Our house was the first on the block. I think that in a way I was more interested in the abstractness of the foundations and the initial framing then in the completed structures themselves. Things I made back then had that incompleteness about them. As I became more aware of architecture in the wider world Brutalism was one of the styles of the moment. Looking at architecture magazines as a child and seeing hotels in French ski resorts (Marcel Breuer at Flaine) made of concrete suited my sensibility, I was hooked.”
For New York-based Calvin Seibert, sandcastles are more than just a fun summer hobby. Using a paint bucket, homemade plastic trowels, and up to about 150 gallons of water he creates spectacular modernist sandcastles. Read on after the break for an interview with Seibert and to see more photos of his work.
“If you look at just carbon emissions, what we do for a living—building buildings, running buildings, all that— is 50 percent of all the carbon emissions in the United States. […] Well that’s both sort of dreadful and wonderful at the same time. […] The opportunity is, because it’s so concentrated, a relatively smaller group of people can do something about it. ”
As a part of its Archicultureseries, Arbuckle Industries has interviewed HOK president Bill Hellmuth on his experiences in architecture school and working in a large practice. In the interview, Hellmuth discusses his path in architecture school, how large firms allow for the creation of teams, and issues involving sustainability and livable cities.