“Architects need to be more connected to the world”

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you

where the offices in two locations but

Mexico City we use very much as the

heart yeah so this is where the team is

this is where we develop projects Berlin

is open and obvious space for us because

I’m from Berlin originally so we have

projects there as well if we use it also

as a base to work from there and

europe-wide because we have also some

others iraq so that is more like a side

office perhaps you could say it’s like

one two people and from there we operate

more like on the daily you know

technical basis whereas here is very

much where we develop every project so

here we have the creative heart we are

all the time here obviously we are

traveling a lot also through to : at the

same time we are trying to minimize the

travel of course so that might mean that

sometimes we are there for a month I’m

there for a month or so it’s obviously

that’s a big benefit of being a duo as

well because you can split your forces

and also it has to do with the fact that

we met after we met working in

Switzerland and we already have had at

that point experience in other countries

so basically I started my career in

Tokyo in Japan working for Sanne and

Christopher had also experienced in

England then we met in working for hair

salon you know born in Switzerland in

passing and then from there we moved

with the office to London and so our

work has been always moving around and

we feel that we we never plan this so we

are in a way just the result of a

certain interest of course but also a

generation that is renewable and moving

and yeah so it just happened

the reality is often that we develop a

project in a different place then it’s

actually at so for example because we

were just mentioning the tablet had

September on I was a based in Basel but

I was working on a project in London you

were based in Tokyo working on a project

in Mexico so this is almost our reality

now as well at least to a degree there’s

a lot of Mexican projects of course this

is the core of our work but then there’s

a lot of other projects that we develop

from here sometimes with international

staff I mean it’s almost observed we

have a German here working on a project

in Mexico on a project in Germany but it

can happen no oh we have English people

working on a Mexican project here so

it’s we are very flexible in that sense

and we see us perhaps also very

international in that sense now I mean

we speak Spanish we speak English at the

office we speak German French sometimes

depends who is around the team besides

that I mean there is a very strong

interest from our side as architects and

in our projects to make a very

site-specific project so for example we

have project in Iraq in Kurdistan and

not because we’re in Mexico we will be

more detached

so yeah maybe it’s perhaps because of

the fact that we’re doing projects in

very far distances who are very

interested in making the bracelet

specific for example for this project in

Iraq we we’ve been there and we’ve been

very interested in meeting people there

and learning as much as we can from from

the traditionals and from the local

culture and so yeah so that’s very

important for us so it doesn’t mean that

architecture needs to be globalized in

terms of its language and that whatever

you are designing if you’re designing

something in Iraq

you will look exactly the same we will

respond to the same as if you were

designing in Japan so you know Charles

is very important to be sensible and

close to people and close to the culture

to understand or to make a good approach

with a project so we this is a challenge

of course being in the far distance but

this has I think this has strengthened

our closeness to people and to different

places and this has been also very

interesting as for us as practice that

we’ve been traveling and learning a lot

from different cultures and different

people and this is I mean with this this

is also enriched and Richard are our own

practice in you know in our everyday we

don’t have a script to start a project

so this is very much what we stand for

it’s we don’t like to think that we have

a specific style or way of doing things

we like to think that we start every

project from mu and we start with a very

analytical process at the beginning of

every project where we like to or we we

we analyze as much as we can from the

Givens from the client which are you

know like the brief what we like to go

beyond that and – we like to be closer

to the urban condition and the social

political or or to understand a bit a

wider spectrum of the project and we

also like to make it a more

collaborative work so we don’t have to

just you know and we think is not enough

to just

as architects by our own we believe that

quality work in which is a project and

this means from engineers to specialties

but even artists for example we’ve done

a few collaborations with artists and

this of course brings us sometimes to a

point where we don’t know what you know

what there is a limit between

architecture and art and this has become

also great and reaching and interesting

in our practice and yeah and well so

that would be one yeah I think there is

certain themes that are current you know

that we are also following I mean

sustainability has been always very

interested it’s interesting for us and

relevant for us at the project and it

doesn’t mean that just because now

there’s more awareness that you know you

don’t use solar panels it’s really

inherent in the architecture that we’re

trying to do so we start already

thinking like what’s the climate the

local climate there we recess the glass

do we have all these like passive means

you know to build them into the

architecture that doesn’t cost you

anything you know and there’s not an

afterthought as well so we are very much

I think raised or raised with that

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awareness of sustainability so this is

certainly something that we continuously

work on and now we get hurt more perhaps

by clients which is interesting and you

know fun because you can understand

discuss different principles that before

purchase that like so that’s great I

think but apart from that I think

certain themes also change and very like

more they’re more subjective perhaps so

that you are currently it’s almost like

an artist I guess working on you know

the blue face the pink face so there are

certain phases that we also go through

or I think of I wouldn’t call it styles

but you know interested in certain

subjects we develop projects sometimes

parallel that almost have something to

do with each other but they are not they

don’t have anything to do with each

other in fact what is the Mexicans in

Germany for her perhaps but there are

yeah I mean to make it concrete anyone

is currently

working with wood so there are certain

principles about wood how you bring it

together that we just completed a house

Berlin outside Berlin in the woods may

tota totally made out of wood and then

we also developing projects here in wood

and these are and all of a sudden you

you share our knowledge and you know a

detail from Germany maybe gets solved in

the Mexican context and that’s

interesting for us overlaps and things I

think it’s materials and that means we

were not so practical in terms of that

you know as architects sometimes you

design and yourself spaces sometimes

with you know like window like as a

product or coming from catalog for

example know we like to rethink how we

solve things and almost whatever project

would like to redesign or rethink how we

solve things or how we imagine things

and these means for example we like to

experiment with materials and if it’s

wood you know it’s not just only that we

are there a wood floor what it means

that we like to think of wood as

material and we’re how can it perform

also as a part of architecture no and we

like to think also of what is the smell

of that material and what is it look and

how is it aging so we try to go believe

it as much as we can you know to do only

with beyond the conventional of

specifying a truck or or thinking of the

wall thinking of a window so as much as

we can because of course projects have

limits in terms of you know timelines

and cost so it doesn’t mean that we’re

just gonna go crazy and and you know

like we have to make it work this is our

of course our jobs our necks but we like

within the room that we can have of

creation of design how can we improve or

be playful with materials

and yeah well I think the collaborations

that we do with artists are very

naturally they they came about very

naturally by knowing them as friends by

actually being very close to out in

general I mean it’s one of the main

source of inspiration for us also

perhaps more than even some you know

ancient architecture something so I mean

I personally even studied at an art

school I even did my thesis with an

artist so there is a certain link there

and we’ve always been very much in the

object also like from the beginning on

that we you know we do installations

ourselves which you know on the

borderline to art like is it a useful

space no when you can’t inhabit it so

what is it is it art no it’s actually a

space but so these kind of questions and

it’s a little bit uncomfortable

sometimes that no one really wants to

take ownership of that we like very much

and in that sense we do a lot of

collaborations with artists but it’s not

in the sense that we are the

architectural component in that game so

that the artist comes with the idea and

we make it into a space is actually done

well I mean that’s also one scenario but

we don’t do you don’t work out that we

work that we form a team I really like

an artist team and we shared all those

and we develop something together and

that’s the interesting part for both

sides to be honest so the artists also

then balances with us the ideas back and

forth and it becomes something very

unique that is not just you know art as

the artist will do and also not just

architecture as we will do it’s

somewhere in between somewhere that is a

spatial installation that could only

happen through the two coming together

and this is how we understand the work

that is always up

so we you know we don’t come in at the

later stage we do it either together as

a project from the beginning we don’t do

it but then there’s also been other

projects where as it’s just us working

in that way you know so we don’t

necessarily need an office to work on

that edge towards art we’ve just

completed one project in the United

States in New Mexico for the University

there a art work together with artists

and there is a spatial installation it’s

a good example I guess we will probably

share it with you soon

it’s a special installation where it’s

about knowledge we create basically

knowledge in the form of hard drives

with all the files on that we melt them

and make mirrors out of them and make

this mirror space from it and which is

something that you as a student can

experience an everyday basis so this is

something that we understand as you know

walk about our heart and say yeah and

these collaborations started as

Christopher mentioned just not really we

you know like we just ended up having

conversation with friends artists that

invited us to do these projects and so

on and oh well at the beginning was like

a surprise and then it’s been happening

and reoccurring and it’s becoming

natural practice and I find it really

incredible and it’s it’s for me it has

become like a space or room for us to

experiment a bit more than sometimes we

can do with architectural projects and

sometimes we have a little bit more of

time when room to experiment play and

and think more of and and it also

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challenges it has been challenging us in

terms of questioning certain things for

example we’re used as architects to get

a commission that is program that we

know like a house or an office tower or

whatever and

and when our zone you know the

conversation starts with okay let’s work

with wood and let’s make you know

let’s show in a public public space a

collection of wood for example and what

is that now you don’t have a yet a

function or a program as we have you

seen or a gallery space and then as an

architect it’s it’s a different

challenge you know you are creating a

space to be to look up to look at things

or to tell a story so it’s you know it

becomes a very interesting interesting

element I mean at least for me is that

it you’re you’re entering territory of

no conventions let’s say like an art

isn’t necessarily a convention in an

architecture there most of the time is

you know like if you enter a building

you want the door there the door has to

be safe that we can bring in and has to

perform acoustically and all of this

when you’re in art you know there’s a

threshold and it’s a important

experience and you can design it in so

many ways you know the same entrance you

know as a light feature as a tunnel as

you know as a big element that you have

to move away and so you engage much more

with the user and that sense is not a

user it’s a visitor let’s say so this is

we like very much because in the

architecture it is often around

functions only like how does it serve a

certain person it’s all valid and it’s

our job but there’s also this other side

that we enjoy and do parallel to that

yeah

and the process in itself it’s exactly

the same for us to when we’ve done

artwork or work with the architectural

spaces sake is in process and is been

also very interesting that we have

exactly the same process just that

perhaps with the artwork is the length

thing or that you give more time to the

thinking process or intellectual process

behind and and then the project I was

mentioning was hollow is a

when I was speaking about the wood its

projectile collaboration we’ve made with

Katie Patterson she’s the Scottish

artist and she and also we created this

artwork in a real fort gardens of

Bristol England and it’s a permanent

public artwork in these public gardens

and it’s a collection of more than

10,000 species of wood collected from

all around the world and from long years

back going back to fossils from horses

to commercial boats and it’s just a

space work through look at the history

of wood and you know to perceive with

all your senses is this collection in my

opinion what I’ve seen from what I

remember from my childhood because since

I was a child I was very interested in

architecture no kidding and I remember

that at least in Mexico the scene was

very limited or when you just a few

things of architecture and although the

city has a lot to offer in terms of

interesting architecture the the the

practice or the practicals that were

known when I was a child for example or

very few mostly money

very few and this is changing and what I

see nowadays is that the scene is much

broader there’s much more architects and

there’s also more and more ways of

communicating architecture as with art

daily for example it’s one one that has

to also come to to open the little bit

the field that we can see more and know

more and this this I think is the most

to me one of the things that cause more

of my attention that is there’s more to

see that’s what happened I don’t know if

there’s more happening but at least we

know that there’s more happening and

this is very important I think because I

can imagine that perhaps there were

other things before but they didn’t get

the opportunities and now that we have

more platforms and more ways to show

architecture we can discuss more we can

select we can have different tastes

which is also important you know

different inclinations or different

approaches to architecture it doesn’t

mean that everything serves the same

things so some things are better Awards

you know it’s just that there’s more

diverse diversity this is something good

I mean from my point of view as a non

Mexican but a Mexican resident and a

person who has a company in Mexico in

Mexico City I find a place very

inspiring because very dynamic with all

its pros and cons of course it’s

compared to Europe of course where

cities are in a very complete you know

you always repair a little bit or extent

but they are in themselves working very

working entities and here I’m faced with

a situation where there’s a lot of

things in really to to do challenges and

this is never stops stopping and it’s

never standing still so it’s constantly

growing urban sprawl at the cities that

we all kind of blend out but it’s the

reality of a very large chunk of the

city I personally find very inspiring

and I see ourselves actually a little

bit as this merging powers you know

there’s a new Mexican position there’s

the European position at the same time

I’ve been living now in Mexico for quite

a while so I adopts other things you’ve

been living for a long time also abroad

so it’s kind of this mix of different

perspectives that we are applying and I

think this is what we stand for

perhaps naturally we didn’t choose it

you know it’s it’s it’s our background

it’s our knowledge so I guess what we

can contribute to Mexico also is or to

the scene here is

this diverse perspective so it’s not a

purely Mexican perspective at least for

me it can never be of course but I think

that allows for some new solutions new

thinking often results also that our

buildings maybe don’t appear so Mexican

perhaps you know in the context of you

know other cultures maybe did on the

piece of German either you know so we

are we we don’t really know I guess but

we are very cosmopolitan and

international and we embrace it we

accept it and this is the strength that

we have to have these different

influences and to create something

through or with these different

influences something new perhaps and I

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hope it’s useful for the city and it

gives new pulses I mean ultimately what

we want to do you know we want to give

something back to the city so if we have

a project we always think of the public

space you know even if it’s a private

commercial development can be just cut a

little bit off from the front to give a

little garden maybe to the streetscape

you know and give something back to the

city kind of so there’s a look like that

that we are trying to experiment with

them sometimes it works and they let us

do it you know and sometimes it just

yeah but we are trying that about well I

would give definitely the advice to

obviously understand and see

architecture as a contemporary

phenomenon you know we’re living today

and we have to find solutions for today

but it doesn’t mean that the today’s

technologies and I’m referring to all

these 3d modeling you know up to

grasshopper all of these are very useful

tools and their progress and they even

go into the production process of pre

manufacturing and all of this but all of

that are just tools and I think it’s

from my own experience as someone who

studied at

where I still had to learn to draw by

hand with ink and with you know the

scales and construct the state

perspective and the conference I have a

very key understanding of how space can

be communicated you know through our

hands even that’s how we understand it

and nowadays I can do it in a 3d model

much quicker and much more precise

perhaps but my point is that I think

these very basic tools also like you

know drawing understanding what I’m

doing actually and not just like playing

around take it serious this tool is a

very powerful potential thing so every

line means something this is very much

what I always say also within our studio

when we work so if we do a section think

about you know how to construct it where

to cut and like and all of this is very

useful in the process of getting

somewhere where we all want to be or

creating is an architectural but I think

this there’s a lot of steps in the

process that you can’t just skip so

easily so it’s not just that you put in

Photoshop a render together and that’s

architecture for me that’s not you know

that’s a sketch of something but you

need to get there and it is sometimes

painful because you need to resolve

things but so my advice I guess would be

to not dismiss these very traditional

techniques also you know of making a

section for example trying to draw

different plans really like think

analyzing also all plans so in that

sense I think I’m not skeptical against

all these new progressive tools but

they’re just a tool and advice or the

recommendation of looking at or

experiencing rather

detector physically so I think with

other fields is like for example if you

were a doctor if you study medicine for

example you can learn in the books you

know but if you are studying

architecture more than in the arts

perhaps I believe that you need to

experience architecture and that doesn’t

mean that you need to make a world tour

because you know specially if you’re a

student or a young architect is very

difficult to go around the world and

look at ancient or contemporary great

architecture I think that you can go to

you know the countryside in Mexico you

know make a foldable trip and look at

and shouldn’t imagine constructions for

example no and you can what I mean is

that architecture has this

three-dimensional aspect that sometimes

were missing when we look at images and

we look at texts so I think at least in

my experience I’ve learned very

inaudible SNP and also got most of my

inspiration as an architect by the

experience of physically living a space

and it doesn’t mean that you need to go

also necessary to the greatest

architects or whatever I think that you

can learn certain things from different

things even if you’re not really

interested in a building you can learn

for example something very interesting

about the light how that architects over

lights

the natural light for example and you

can learn a lot or you can physically

you know have that experience and

sometimes it’s not even a rational

learning like conscious learning

sometimes it’s even soft conscious like

observing of things and then later on

even years later

kind of comes back to you that knowledge

or that that experience well I think

that we are in a very interesting point

in architecture although I’m not an

architecture historian so I don’t want

to make a very complex of the region of

what’s our time but I think that we’re

in a very interesting point of change

where we need to be very aware of what’s

happening in the planet there’s a lot of

awareness of what’s happening

environmentally and of whatever future

will be so I don’t I think we need to

change this modernist naive

understanding of the future of just of

industrialization and you know the

modern and the idea you know we need to

I think we’re in a point where

architects need to become a bit more

helpful or or aware and connected to

what’s happening and architecture will

start changing and it is changing in

terms of that we don’t have as much

resources sometimes for projects as you

know there used to be and they shouldn’t

sometimes you know like you know these

kind of like just spending and wasting

material and you know we need to

introduce an architecture also something

that doesn’t exist you so much that is

how our detector can really become

sustainable and more in harmony with

with nature and with the environment and

how can we also lower the impacts of how

architecture works and so I think this

is one of the key aspects but also yeah

so it’s also changing in terms of in

terms of the global because it’s

becoming more global you know it’s it’s

also raising a lot of questions of what

is architecture here and what is there

to tell we also have a little

emergencies

like immigration and others that we need

to react fast without victims oh it’s

it’s an interesting point