Six Quick ones with the ARCHI-DUO OF BE ARCHITECTURE
Six Quick ones with the ARCHI-DUO OF BE ARCHITECTURE
- Your favorite materials in architecture and why?
Etchegorry: Definitely this would have to be wood. Nowadays, there is great technical development around wood industry in order to increase, enhance the intrinsic properties of wood, pushing up to unthinkable limits certain behaviors of the wood. Its uses and applications would range from structural capacities to ornamental, decorative purposes. It is a noble, versatile, natural material, perfectly malleable by contemporary digital fabrication processes, renewable, extremely sustainable fitting within the cradle to cradle concept. Its various types, tints, textures, makes it a material that stands on its own, with no need been complement with additional colors or other materials. Finally, as a natural material, I believe the most interesting property of it, is the capacity of aging, showing in almost any architectural application, the patina of time and use of people.
Brammer: Folded sheet steel, because it is able to precisely cut out volumes from space, like a sculptor's tool, and at the same time to frame and define them. The fascinating interplay between spatial presence, graphically abstract planes and open lightness. Painted white, it can be wonderfully combined with the warm materials of exposed concrete and wood.
- Define BE ARCHITECTURE - what is your style/architectural language?
In BE ARCHITECTURE, we are trying to create the culture of architecture and design. It might sound a big statement, architecture as a cultural discipline should always set a kind of conversation with precedent architectural projects -the rooting parameter; in complete understanding of nowadays trends and needs -the now, the present parameter; in order to be able to produce certain innovations within any given socio-cultural environment -the what’s next parameter…
I prefer not to think in terms of styles, but rather architectural language. Through my academic studies and teaching years, I was always preoccupied in understanding the contemporary ‘way’ in which a society expresses itself. In this realm, I come from the first generation of architects that embraced the digital medium into the practice in the 90’. Therefore, my architectural language evolves from an abstract way of thinking that works with concepts. Every project, then would be driven through one or a series of concepts that enables the outcome of innovation within the project. This is a complete dynamic process of developing form that translates into a specific language, in no way it is a static process.. Take as an example our project: One Column House, the use of a specific material in order to reinforce the architecture experience through a structural innovation of a twisting column.
I had the great opportunity to work for 6 years as Associate /Senior Architect with Ben van Berkel at his Amsterdam practice UNStudio (i.e. Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart, The FOUR in Frankfurt) and these years gave me a complete insight on how is it to practice and develop international projects, with contemporary digital approaches of the discipline.
I think that also our architectural language is being motivated at the same time by minimalism and abstract expressionism, thinking of land-art, Eduardo Chillida, Donald Judd, Richard Serra, Mark Rothko.
- Perfect house?
Etchegorry: This has to be Can Lis (1972, Mallorca) from Jørn Utzon. This is a house that he has designed for him and his family after resigning from the Sidney Opera project… Why is the prefect house? Harmonious with its context, almost vernacular yet innovative for its time that became a classic… Calibrated use of natural materials: local stones and wood… A prefect balance…
Brammer: I am torn between two Japanese examples:
The Katsura Villa in Kyoto as an archetype of the Japanese house, which in its matrix of rooms and courtyards almost completely dissolves the boundary between inside and outside and thus the concept of house, and on the other hand SANAA's Moriyama House, which analytically breaks down the concept of "house" into individual building structures and thus dissolves them equally.
Personally, however, I would die to live in Case Study House No. 8 by Charles and Ray Eames, with its succinct, almost improvised construction, the wonderful dialogue with its garden and the interior, which is not a museum but a real home.
- Perfect location?
Etchegorry: This is a tricky one, because a certain project might have a not so interesting location, but through the responsible articulation of architecture, the location and context could evolve into something never thought of before… And vice versa, a project might be in the best location, but if one does not take enough care, the project, the context and location can be downgraded exponentially. But personally, I prefer locations that are in contact with nature. My family and myself enjoy outdoor activities, besides from originally coming from Patagonia in Argentina where the outdoor landscapes are immense and breathtaking…
Brammer: It is not so much the "perfect place" as the perfect moment that touches me: When light, temperature, the smell of fresh air, wind and sounds come together and immerse the place in a unique atmosphere that often lasts only for a moment.
- Your inspiration?
Etchegorry: As I mentioned before, while a part of my inspiration comes from the minimalism and abstract expressionism art movements; I believe that being connected to different yet related disciplines around design, brings thousands of inspirations.
Brammer: I draw my inspiration from nature, music, abstract sculpture. But also, the interrelations between places and the social and cultural actions of the people who shape them are important sources of inspiration for me.
- Best restaurant in your hometown and in Frankfurt?
Etchegorry: In Frankfurt I would go for two extremes: on one side, the new LEUCHTENDROTER Restaurant, Bakery & Alcohol in the Lindley Hotel (Lindleystrasse 17, Ffm). Here the proposal is based on the use of locally cultivated vegetables and ingredients, served in small portions -tapas style- in order to promote the sharing within the people, it is a very social experience… And continuing with social experiences, I love street food as well, therefore, I think the Aroma Vegetarian (Oeder Weg 80, Ffm) serves the best falafel pita in town. It is a must, besides from getting interesting chats from strangers, while eating there…
Brammer: I grew up in a settlement in the rural-suburban area of the Odenwald - there wasn’t really a restaurant here. So instead I would quote the Cooked Food Market of the North Point Urban Council Center - in my temporary second home in Hong Kong - where in a large, noisy and open hall, lit by bare fluorescent tubes and furnished with Resopal furniture, a variety of food stalls were serving basic but good food to the families of the neighbourhood.
Not necessarily the best-ranked in Frankfurt, but I feel at home in the modest Biondo restaurant in “my” district of Bockenheim. And I very much regret that it will soon move due to the constantly rising rents.