Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Life of Architecture Is Always Important

When I was a student at Politecnico, I was always cited by the professors as an example not to follow! This means, undoubtedly, that my architecture provoked something passionate and something hateful, and I don’t know frankly why. But I believe every one of us expresses himself in his own work, and there is something personal in my work, which I passed along.

I believe that the major importance of life is based on moral and poetic principles. I always think of several moments and memories. The memory of the city is very important; the collective memory not the personal memory. In this sense, I find the life of architecture always important.

The emergence of relations among things, more than the things themselves, always gives rise to new meanings.

Because every aspect of the building is anticipated, and because it is precisely this anticipation that allows for freedom, the architecture is like a date, a honeymoon, a vacation—like everything that is anticipated so that it can occur. Although I also love what is uncertain, I have always thought that only small-minded people with little imagination are opposed to discreet acts of organization; for it is only such efforts of organization that in the end permit contretemps, variations, joys, disappointments.

An architectural project is a vocational or a love affair; in either case, it is a construction. One can hold oneself back in the face of this vocation or affair, but it will always remain an unresolved thing.

The houses of the dead and those of childhood, the theater, or the house of representation—all these projects and buildings seem to me to embrace the seasons and ages of life. Yet they no more represent themes than functions; rather they are the forms in which life, and therefore death, are manifested.

by Aldo Rossi

Sunday, October 23, 2011

This 'Stuff'

This 'stuff'?!
Okay, I see.

You think this has nothing to do with you.
You go to your closet and you select, I don't know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance. Because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue. It's not turquise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean.
And you're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent, wasn't it, who showed cerulean military jackets?
And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin.

However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing a sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of 'stuff'.

Delirious New York

I would say that the writing of Delirious New York had one major “aim”:
I wanted to construct—as a writer—a terrain where I could eventually work as an architect.
I was trying to de-emphasize the artistic part of being an architect and describe a role that was much more concerned with the intellectual issues, where other interventions were possible and therefore, by definition, could not be done through drawing.

I would say that almost at the beginning of every project, there is maybe not writing but a definition in words—a text—a concept, ambition, or theme that is put in words, and only at the moment that it is put in words can we begin to proceed, to think about architecture;
The words unleash the design.
All of our projects, or our best projects or maybe our most original projects, are first defined in literary terms, which then suggest an entire architectural program.

by Rem Koolhaas

Monday, October 17, 2011

An Ideal of Perfection

I do not work toward architecture from a theoretically defined point of departure, for I am committed to making architecture, to building, to an ideal of perfection, just as in my boyhood I used to make things according to my ideas, things that had to be just right, for reasons which I do not understand.
It was always there, this deeply personal feeling for the things I made for myself, and I never thought of it as being anything special.
It was just there.

Today, I am aware that my work as an architect is largely a quest for this early passion, this obsession, and an attempt to understand it better and to refine it.
And when I reflected on whether I have since added new images and passions to the old ones, and whether I have learned something in my training and practice, I realize that in some way I seem always to have known the intuitive core of new discoveries.

by Peter Zumthor

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cinema and Architecture: The Invention of Small Worlds

There are a lot of crossover between the two discipline: for me, the connection between imagery and time came about largely thanks to cinema. Both the architect and the moviemaker create or invent things that interrelate imagery and time. For one, it’s a product that plays on total illusion, because there is no physical reality other than the set of pictures; for the other, the product is experienced as a piece of space that works to a sort of scenario, a bit like a small invented world. Both of us—film director and architect—invent small worlds.

by Jean Nouvel

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

From Journalist to Architect

Well, unlike most architects, I had a profession before I was an architect.
I think that being a journalist had an important effect.
Journalism is ironically one of the few professions that is almost completely immune to fame.
There are almost no famous journalists.
The journalist is driven by an insatiable curiosity coupled with the ability to find and condense information quickly.
That experience, coupled with the fact that I started relatively late in architecture
—I was twenty-five before I even started studying architecture—
Made it relatively easy for me not to feel intimidated by the architecture world at that stage.
The great benefit of writing a book before practicing as an architect was that it helped me get work.
But it was bad because it meant that my subsequent work had to meet an unusually heavy burden of proof.
I think that my experience exposed me to a number of unspoken prejudices that still operate in the current cultural moment.
There’s a strange prejudice that says you cannot both think and do architecture at the same time

by Rem Koolhaas


You know, I got very angry when other architects started making buildings that look like greek temples.
I thought it was a denial of the present.
It is a rotten thing to do to our children.
It is as if we are telling them there is nothing to do but look back.
It is like there is no reason to be optimistic about the future.
So I got angry.
That is really when I started drawing fish,
Because the fish has been around for thousands and thousands of years.
It is a natural creature, very fluid.
It is a continuous form,
And it survives.
And it is not contrived.
To tell you the truth,
I did not intend for it to become a central from when it first occurred to me.
It was an instinctive thing.

by Frank Gehry


Faith is a strange thing.
You believe in something for no reason, a complete trust.
You try to sustain it for no justification, it's irrational.
You tell yourself don't be stupid, save yourself from all the disappointments.
Then you realize... who are you kidding?
To have faith is a part of yourself.
You can't change it, you might never will.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Drawings Tell A Story

It all started with me drawing to represent a project in a nonconventional way.
I thought about architecture in a different way.
I thought the tool we have to represent architecture was not useful to me,
And it did not show the meaning of what I wanted to do.
So I started off with really trying to devise a way of projection which was useful to me.
That’s how I started, trying to see it from a different angle.
The drawings become a storyboard.
They tell you the whole story of the life of this project.

by Zaha Hadid

Monday, October 3, 2011

It's Gone

One day you’re there.
And then all of the sudden, there’s less of you.
And you wonder where that part went... if it’s living somewhere outside of you.
And you keep thinking, ‘Maybe you’ll get it back.’
And then you realized, it’s just gone…

Peggy Olson,
End of season 2 dialogue with Pete Campbell
Mad Men

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Chaotic Adventure

Architecture is a hazardous mixture of omnipotence and impotence.
Ostensibly involved in “shaping” the world,
For their thought to be mobilized architects depend on the provocations of the others
—clients, individual, or institutional.
Therefore, incoherence, or more precisely, randomness,
Is the underlying structure of all architect’ careers:
They are confronted with an arbitrary sequence of demands,
With parameters they did not establish,
In countries they hardly know,
About issues they are only dimly aware of,
Expected to deal with problems that have proved intractable to brains vastly superior to their own.
Architecture is by definition a chaotic adventure.

by Rem Koolhaas


I tend to think of concrete as being very hard and sharp.
I like the sharp edges and planes that can be made with concrete.
When they come into contact with nature they are like a powerful foil.
The precise order in contrast to nature can make both elements more dynamic.

However, over the years of using this material,
I have come to see different qualities of concrete.
Depending on the space I am trying to construct,
I may see it as just the opposite: softer and less severe.

I began as a craftsman and a builder working with my hands.
I still miss that now.
Working with your hands and muscles is important.
It is very important,
Very important to understand scale and weight and the voice of materials.
I don’t want to design impractical things that a human being cannot build.
Working with your hands teaches you very basic concept of beauty.
For example, I like concrete because it is handmade compared to some other types of modern building methods.

by Tadao Ando

There Are No Real Rules

I am a slow architect;
I take a long time to create,
So the thought that my building ideas are just tossed in the air and land is the furthest thing from the truth.

For me it is a free association,
But it grows out of a sense of responsibility,
Sense of values—human values.
The importance of relating to the community, and all of those things...
And the client’s budget, their pocketbook, the client’s wishes.
But even within that there is a range of creativity possible,
And I think it behooves us to explore that envelope and push at it.
It comes out of intuition,
Or a learned intuition, I guess.
You study a long time ‘til you can do it.
But it is from looking around you,
It is from understanding what is happening in the culture,
What is happening in the world.
It is a really big picture.
Because there are no real rules.

I think that the architecture comes out of a lot of exploration.
When you’re young and you’re starting out,
You need to build things and try things.
You need to learn to build.
And it is hard...
A lot of people don’t bother to learn that.
They go right into theorizing their design before knowing how to build.
Building is its own discipline.
The building industry has its own mechanisms,
And you have to learn it in order to manipulate it
Because you are making a three-dimensional object.

The chain link for me was about denial.
There was so much chain link being absorbed by the culture,
And there was so much denial about it.
I could not believe it.
That is the populism in my work,
As opposed to the art.
What is wrong with chain link?
I hate it, too,
But can we make it beautiful?
I said, “Maybe, if you make it beautiful—if you are going to use it in huge quantities—you can make it beautiful.”

Whatever I did the first go-around could not be quantified,
Could not be talked about.
I could not say, “This is what I was trying to do, and this is what I did.”
I started out to do something,
And then I followed the end of my nose.

You were never sure what was intentional and what was not.
It looked in-process.
You were not sure whether I meant if or not,
There was something magical about the house.
And I knew that the thing a lot of people hated or laughed at was the magic.

by Frank Gehry