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interview ISSN 2175-6708


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SEDREZ, Maycon; CELANI, Gabriela. Form doesn’t matter. Interview with Arnold Walz. Entrevista, São Paulo, year 15, n. 058.03, Vitruvius, jun. 2014 <>.

Maycon Sedrez: Could you please talk a bit about the interest of contemporary architects in designing and fabricating complex forms?

Arnold Walz: First of all, they want to be special, and there are different types of guys. For example, an extreme is Miss Hadid. She has her personal style and she wants to solve anything with that. If you hear a lecture of Patrick Schumacher (her partner), he would like to plan whole cities in a Hadid look, which I find a little bit too much. On the other extreme is Renzo Piano, because I think he looks completely innocent on every new project. He has a different approach for each new project.

Generally speaking, I think this thing called Blob architecture, as it was called at the beginning of this phase, which started sometime at the end of the last century, was some kind of reaction on the hardness of architectural design. We want something totally different. And I also believe that this phase is going to an end, because now we have not only high quality buildings like that, but we have also a lot of bad buildings. If you see the skyline, this expands in this way, what for? It is really a quality to have this kind of skyline? So I think it is going a little bit down and now it is our problem to guide this experience more into a day-by-day architecture. As I say, to widen up the freedom of design; you are not bound to box buildings because of cost aspects, production aspects. I have a feeling that a lot of architects kind of surrender. in front of the building industry, because this is the type that they can build in a rather economic way, fast and reliable. But as soon as you escape that, as you want something special, it gets very difficult. We have to try to use this experience and bring it down to the normal architecture; this means we have to design new building processes, and new ways of building parts and then assemble it to a building.

Gabriela Celani: You already mentioned Renzo Piano, who else are your clients?

AW: Well, in the last years we worked together with Zaha Hadid, Foster and Partners, Herzog and De Meuron…

GC: Only star architects?

AW: Mostly, but not always. For example, the façade of Hotel InterContinental in Davos. The building originally was designed by Matteo Thun, but for some reason he went out of the project. The architect that finished this project was not really well-known but he came up with a good idea for the façade.

GC: You mentioned that most of your clients are starchitects. Why should us, or a regular architect, or maybe an architect in Brazil care about digital production of buildings?

AW: Surely not because he wants to continue building Blob architecture. I like intensive rooms, when I go into a new space and get impressed by the atmosphere, the light, the acoustics, the color or whatever. There are a lot of houses with a very interesting façade but if you go inside it is a normal space, with normal rooms and normal windows. For me it is a little bit too boring. If you go back in building history, building culture, there was so fantastic stuff going on. The question now, that we have to point out to the young generation, is: how do you want to live? Are we looking to architecture as a short term investment? You build a house and maybe in 10 or 15 years later, everybody says let´s build something new. Or do we try to develop a new better quality style of architecture, which has the chance to last a few generations? Look at all those buildings from the end of the nineteenth century, which are still the most preferred living places in the center of big cities. The apartments are slightly bigger, they are higher, and they have bigger windows. And you do anything in there, you can make an office, students can live in there, somebody can have their business in it. Why? It is just because they are a little bigger and not as highly optimized as they now think architecture should be. And then another aspect is that although those buildings are individually different they fit together, they form an ensemble, and they form a unique atmosphere, a strong atmosphere. We have a lot of those buildings in European cities that were not destroyed during the war. People like to go there, because it is so strong to walk in the streets although these houses are different. There´s a limitation of material, colors and stuff like that, but today you have an endless selection of materials and colors, and textures... These cities are not homogeneous, every house is basically something by itself. Of course you can have a point of view and see that they have something in common, it depends on the way you look at it.

GC: How do you think we can get this kind of result in the city, with this type of underlying language of architecture, that is not monotonous and at the same time is not abrupt... Is it a question of urban regulation or architecture education?

AW: Surely both, I would like to separate. I would say, first of all the architects do the inside of the building as the client's desires, but when it comes to the façade and the outside proportions he has the responsibility to the neighborhood. This is why I like to have an exchange with the young generation, because it is their future, not mine, to find out if they have any ideas or visions of how they want to live in the future. If they come and say I would like this and that, I would certainly find a way to produce it in a fairly economic way in the future. But I don´t know what it could be. What should be different from how it is today?


058.03 tecnologia
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original: português

outros: english




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