Architecture with a detour

As a starting point, our architecture always tries to resume itself into one single gesture: one simple set of rules that can orchestrate a building. In contrast to many contemporary practices these ‘rules of operation’ are not directly based on ‘program’, ‘research’ or other external references, but rather developed through formal, spatial or tectonic investigations; this is, through the architectural object itself. The main goal in our architecture is to establish a fruitful clash between our personal interests (our own stubborn will) and the will of the assignment (this is the latent possibilities embedded into the site, context, program, budget, client, etc.). Only when we can establish here an intense and meaningful relationship of conflict, then a new, unknown and surprising set of architectonic axioms can arise.

Since we believe that the key to resolve a problem cannot be found within the material of the puzzle itself, we use our own interests and playful try-outs as a trick to focus on something completely outside the real problem, and so† - through a detour -† to come up with fresh and powerful solution to a problem (although maybe not always the most logic one). In this way the ‘concept’ (or the key idea of a project) will not be that ‘magic trick’ that resolves all design challenges, organizes program and defines forms. No, on the contrary, it is that disturbing decision that ñ carefully taken after a slow process of tryouts and eliminations of options - will put you in danger, make you committed to the project and will demand new solutions from you; it will ask you to rethink your architectonical vocabulary, technical solutions and programmatic organizations.

It is interesting to see, that when these initial decisions are well made, the project almost evolves by its own inertia: no extra theories, concepts or definitions seem necessary when this initial clash between the intention and the site has been made successfully. At a certain moment in the process, we ñ as architects ñ then behold how the internal architectonical logic, latently present in the design challenge, starts to float above, becomes visible to our eyesÖ and seemingly independent from our will, new and unexpected principals of internal coherence, will start to define the project.

Text written for 'AR Architecture Awards 2009' as 'design statement, PRODUCTORA, september 2009