In this episode of Design and the City - a podcast by reSITE on how to make cities more liveable – Trey Trahan, founder of Trahan Architects, discusses the importance of designing spaces that foster human connection and encourage self-reflection. With ecology and the poetics of space as core values, the work of Trahan Architects focuses on creating impactful cultural venues and in this podcast, Trahan argues for a design centred around elevating the human experience.
ReSITE - global non-profit acting to improve the urban environment, launched the second instalment of its Design and the City podcast earlier this year, with previous guests including Winy Mass, Thomas Heatherwick and Gary Hustwit. Covering a wide range of inter-disciplinary topics, conversations on the podcast have ranged from issues such as surveillance and security to child-friendly urban planning to how to tackle gentrification in growing cities.
In conversation with Alexandra Siebenthal, Trahan discusses how his upbringing in rural Louisiana informed his interest in ecology, particularly the soil and the search for "a meaningful dialogue" between architecture the landscape. The architect uses the example of the Mississippi River and the indigenous architecture in Louisiana to stress the importance of soil both as a construction material and an essential factor for the health and economy of an area. Building on a parallel to the ecosystem of a forest, the architect advances the idea of designing for a range of different lifespans, thus creating greater opportunities for urban environments to evolve in response to unpredictable conditions.
Trahan then talks about architecture that encourages human engagement, nurtures reflection and memory or reconnects the users with the natural world. The conversation touches on subjects such as the architecture of religious spaces, the profession's move away from the starchitect system, architects relinquishing the overcontrol of their designs, the value of unpredictability and the "architecture of healing".