Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Moment of Truth

My artists friends were working with very inexpensive materials
—broken wood and paper—
And they were making beauty.
These were not superficial details,
They were direct
—it raised the question of what was beautiful.
I chose to use the craft available
And to work with the craftsmen
And make a virtue out of their limitations...
I explored the processes of raw construction materials
To try giving feeling and spirit a form.
In trying to find the essence of my own expression,
I fantasized the artist standing before the white canvas deciding what was the first move.
I called it the moment of truth.

The moment of truth, the composition of elements, the selection of forms, scale, materials, color, finally, all the same issues facing the painter and the sculptor.

by Frank Gehry

The Fleeting Image

I don’t work within any theoretical framework nor do I offer a key as to how you should understand my work. What I am interested in is projects that anticipate new developments that one hardly has a name for yet and which exploit the potential of a specific place—the culture that prevails there and the resulting tensions and conflicts. I look for proposals that go beyond any passive notion of just giving material form to an idea, that, by trying to grasp all the facets simultaneously, refuse to impose limits on reality. The point, then, is always to avoid static images and a linear development in time. With every design you need to make a serious attempt to capture one concrete moment of a fleeting image in all its aspects. In concrete terms that means that a project begins for me as soon as I assess the situation of the site itself.
I let all kinds of elements work on me; they may be vague but that does not mean they are any less important.

by Alvaro Siza

China and The Future

I started thinking about the situation in China, about tradition in China and the future. I was especially concerned about the disaster of traditional buildings being knocked down everywhere. It produced a large amount of waste material so I used lots of recycled materials in my buildings, not just in small experiments but in large-scale projects such as school campuses, museums and a huge public building.

But I am giving people time to embrace my ideas. It is very important to focus on recycling and sustainability. Then, there is the Chinese culture. We have to think long and hard about it. It is not just about doing popular things. In China, everything is popular now but, if that is all they do, the Chinese culture will die and it is coming very close. I think raising this awareness is the purpose of my work.

China is a huge country that is developing very fast and increasingly influencing the rest of the world. If it does not take the right path, it will be disastrous for the whole world. It needs to do some serious thinking and take action. When people ask about the meaning of my work, I say that I may not be perfect but my message is that in China the impossible can become possible.

by Wang Shu

Architecture That Appeals

For us, architecture is above all an art in the background. At least it is in good hands there—it does not have to keep pushing itself forward. But there are exceptions, where it can be crazy and egotistical, in Times Square, in the center of New York.
Many architects are intoxicated with their belief in sincerity, in honest buildings that are only what they pretend to be. But there is also honest ornament, building decoration that is employed quite deliberately to give the building meaning. What is hypocritical about that?

by Robert Venturi


I have always confronted life as an unwavering rebel.
After reading Sartre, I viewed life as an unfair and unrelenting tragedy. When I was a young man of only fifteen, I was anguished to think of man’s destiny, doomed as we are to total abandonment, and defenseless against it. I was frightened by the idea of someday disappearing forever. Like everyone else, I have tried to erase such thoughts and instead take advantage of the pleasures of this brief and joyful passage on earth that fate grants us without our consultation. I have felt the ecstasy of the fantastic natural world around us, and, arm-in-arm with my friends, I cast aside the disturbing thoughts that so afflicted me when I was alone.
I wore a mask of youthful optimism and contagious good humor. I was known as a high-spirited and spontaneous personality, a lover of the Bohemian lifestyle, while deep inside I nursed a tremendous sorrow when I thought about humanity and life.

by Oscar Niemeyer

Architecture Is Too Professional

I don't believe that architecture is just about the works, as in art. It is also the construction process.
People live in fine houses but they learn nothing about architecture unless they are professional architects, even when they have the chance to do so during the construction process.

So, I had this idea. This structure adopts a very clear and simple principle: one principle and sticks all the same size; it is a small, everyday material but many people working together can build a huge space. This particular space is about 15 metres in circumference and approximately four metres high. Ten people working together could finish it in one day. Here, we had just three people and they finished it in three days, so it is a very exciting process.

It is about people working together to construct something – that is the meaning of architecture. Today, architecture is too professional and there is too much digital design. I think architecture should go back to its origins.

by Wang Shu

Amateur Architecture

Amateur architecture is unimportant architecture. One of the problems of professional architecture is that it takes architecture itself too seriously. Building is more basic than architecture: it is closely associated to contemporary life, it is simple, often trivial. Before I became an architect, I was firstly a literati - architectural design was only my free time activity. What's more important than architecture itself is the cultural atmosphere of the place; what's more important than technology is the brilliant language, norms, and ideas in simple craft construction.

by Wang Shu

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Where Lines Intersect

Recalling the city suggests to me a reading not only of my own architecture but indeed of architecture in general. I believe that I have access to a privileged way of looking, of observing. It is a position that is closer to the engineer’s than to that of the psychologist or geographer: I like to apprehend a structure in its broad outlines and then think how these lines intersect. This is no different from the experience of life and relationships: the nucleus of a fact is always rather simple, and indeed, the more simple a fact is, the more it is destined to clash with the events which it itself produces. I am reminded of a sentence from Hemingway which I found frightening yet fascinating:
All truly wicked things are born from an innocent moment.

by Aldo Rossi

Staying Power

It is very important to have the commitment to persevere, and to go back to one’s own education in a sense.
As a woman you need the confidence in a sense.
As a woman you need the confidence that you can carry on and take new steps every time.

I believe in hard work;
It gives you layer of confidence.
Now we can do a lot of different projects because we have an enormous formal repertoire.
The years in isolation, when we were quarantined in a sense, is like research in science,
The more research you do, the more and the better the results.
It was a vey critical period because most people thought I would disappear or give up.

by Zaha Hadid