Past, Present, Future is an interview project by Itinerant Office, asking acclaimed architects to share their perspectives on the constantly evolving world of architecture. Each interview is split into three video segments: Past, Present, and Future, in which interviewees discuss their thoughts and experiences of architecture through each of those lenses. The first episode of the project featured 11 architects from Italy and the Netherlands and Episode II is comprised of interviews with 13 architects from Spain, Portugal, France, and Belgium.
The goal of the series is to research these successful firms and attempt to understand their methods and approaches. By hopefully gaining a clearer picture of what it means to be an architect in the 21st century, the videos can also serve as inspiration for the next generation of up-and-coming architects and students as they enter the field.
Juan Herreros is an acclaimed Spanish architect with multiple award-winning projects to date. In addition to his impressive creations in the construction field, he has strived to redefine the practice of architecture by teaching at the School of Architecture in Madrid and at the GSAPP Columbia University in New York. His collaborative office, Studio Herreros, is an award-winning firm with projects built all over the world, ranging between residential and public spaces. These projects vary between small-scale, "immediate" projects, and internationally-commissioned structures and building competitions, allowing the architect to be one of the most influential Spanish architects practicing today.
Following are the videos and selected quotes from Juan Herrero's interview.
Juan Herreros explains how he launched his architecture career inspired by some of the biggest names in the field, and how the city of Madrid influenced architecture and its academia.
GIANPIERO VENTURINI: Could you share with us one or two anecdotes of the first period of your career?
JUAN HERREROS: "When I was teaching at the AA, I met Cedric Price. Cedric Price was really a surprise for me, he was completely different than the mythology of Cedric Price that the Cedric Price lovers were instigating at that time. I still had the idea of Cedric Price as a “non-architect” person or being against the discipline. But what I found was a person incredibly, deeply engaged with architecture and with the practice. And it was really quite interesting to me. I would say I learned from him the necessity of having a critical approach to everything we do."
The architect explains how he uses the pedagogies of teaching in his architecture office and vice versa, elaborating on the similarities and differences between 'theories' and 'practice'.
GV: How would you define your practice?
JH: “I’m not very obsessed about looking for this cool word that everybody is fighting for to define their practice. I can say that the work we do is quite pragmatic, collaborative - in the real term of the word, not in a fancy way - and absolutely obsessed about simplification. So the process of the work we do is usually explained through taking a lot of information, working a long time, having a lot of conversations, to produce something incredibly simple that can be given back to the world.”
Herreros defines the true identity of an architect: a designer, and explains how design is what marks architects' role in society, creating things others are unable to for the benefit of society and community.
GV: Which are the key-words that you think should guide architecture in the future?
JH: “My message for the young generation is not «You are the future», it’s «You are the present». Never before has the difference between the work of the younger architects and the established ones been so great. And never before has the work of young architects informed so much the work of the established ones. So we are looking at the work of the young architects, searching for information, using them and using their work to understand the conditions of the present that perhaps are not so easy to understand for us. In other words, my message for the young generation is «Let us work together».”
A project by: Itinerant Office
Curated by: Gianpiero Venturini
Videos by: Luca Chiaudano