“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

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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 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 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 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

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