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.
Award-winning architecture firm Barozzi/Veiga was founded 15 years ago in Barcelona by Fabrizio Barozzi and Alberto Veiga. The practice has a rich portfolio of international public and private projects that have received prestigious distinctions, such as Design Vanguard Award (2014), Mies van der Rohe Award for European Architecture (2015), RIBA Award for International Excellence (2018). Co-founder Fabrizio Barozzi studied architecture at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia and completed his academic studies at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Sevilla and at Ecole d’Architecture de Paris La Villette. Since 2009, the architect has been a visiting professor and lecturer in many universities across the globe.
Following are the videos and selected quotes from Fabrizio Barozzi's interview.
Fabrizio Barozzi talks about his education, early beginnings in the field of architecture, and the events that helped him launch his career, leading to co-founding the architecture firm Barozzi/Veiga.
GIANPIERO VENTURINI: Could you share any anecdotes or funny stories that represent the beginning years, something that you think is important to remember of those years?
FABRIZIO BAROZZI: “Since the very beginning, when I was a child, I wanted to be an architect, really. So since then, I was very interested and loved architecture - well, not architecture - buildings or something. For me, studying architecture was a very easy, natural decision. I remember that the first time I ever had contact with contemporary architecture and started to realise what it was was when I saw Villa Malaparte by Adalberto Libera. Basically, it was because Libera was born in the
same town as me. He was born very close to my house and so I heard people speaking about this architect who was born very close to me but I had no idea who he was and this architect made this wonderful, incredible building in Capri - that is
Villa Malaparte. So I have very clear memories of this first image that I said, ‘Wow, this was made by a guy born close to me.’ And I think in a way it was the first image that I saw - just because of the proximity in the town - which marked my future career and I realised that I wanted to do something similar.”
The architect describes the dynamics and hierarchy within Barozzi/Veiga, and explains the design approach behind their projects.
GV: Are your interests of today the same as the beginning or how has it evolved through time?
FB: “ In our work, we try to find a balance or an equilibrium between doing something specific for a place but at the same time, we try to create an autonomous or independent object. I think that this dichotomy that is at the base of our work, this
idea to find this balance between these two opposite concepts comes from our biography. In the first years, our first project tried to be linked more to the context, it tried to work in continuity with something. In the more recent projects, they try to be
more autonomous, creating some kind of an absolute object. And I think that this move in these two concepts is something that explains the evolution of our practice. I think that these two elements - of working in the specificity of the context and place and create something that is able to preserve the autonomy of the form - are the two extreme, opposite conditions in which we work.”
Barozzi talks about his dissatisfaction with today's generic solutions in architecture, highlighting the importance and uniqueness in having different contexts. He ends his interview with advice and insights for the future generation of architects.
GV: What is a message you would like to tell the younger generation who are facing the profession today?
FB: “ It’s very difficult to address a message. But I think that to be an architect is an amazing profession, it’s something I loved seeing when I was a child. But in order to continue working and to be an architect, it’s quite difficult, a really hard profession. So I think the most important thing is to be optimistic with what will happen in the future and also to be patient and constant. Architecture is something that is linked with a long time in order to see a building finish, you may have to wait 8 or 10 years, so you need to control the time and to be patient and to be constant and for sure, optimistic, if not, it is very difficult to work in this beautiful profession.”
A project by Itinerant Office
Curated by Gianpiero Venturini
Videos by Luca Chiaudano