What prompted you to partake in the Non Architecture competition?
A friend and I already participated in a Non-Architecture contest which theme was “Showing” and we had the chance to win one of the first prizes. Since then, I try to be aware of new contests that come out because their topics are often very interesting and inspiring. They allow to find concepts for some architectural programs while giving more artistic freedom. Moreover, I believe that participating in idea competitions enriches teaching and skills, while developing both vision and critical thinking in architecture.
What is your take on competitions as these which aim to challenge the power of the drawings within the realm of architecture?
Personally I am very attached to the question of the image and the representation in architecture. When realizing images, I try to keep taking a critical look at what they have to show. Whether photographic, virtual or mental, the image crystallizes to me the gateway to an elsewhere that is visually apprehended by the association of elements from reality. I think that these contests are very enlightening to me as the image cannot be separated from the architecture.
How did you approach the research and understanding of the building of Casa da Musica?
I have always been seduced by the work of OMA / Rem Koolhaas, and their way of giving an unexpected and unique answer to an architectural program. While already knowing the history of this building, I wanted to represent what could be hidden behind it, behind what we usually get to see from it, through the course of its architect, some elements from Porto as well as fragments of ideas. It was a very rewarding experience and I was delighted to participate in this new type of competition, allowing ma to take a critical look at such an iconic building.
Had/ have you visited the site before? If not, how did you acquaint yourselves with both the building and it context? How pivotal was the interest and google maps?
I did not have the opportunity to visit this building yet. To get acquainted with the building and the context, I searched for a maximum of information on the internet, especially on Google maps, but also in books and articles. Friends who visited the Casa da Musica also gave me their personal pictures to see and understand more precisely its structure and the importance of the materials used.
What informed the response to the brief and structure?
Analyzing the building and its history, I realized that Casa da Musica could be seen as Rem Koolhaas’ thought box in which he would have shaped his intimate vision of architecture. This is where my concept for the image that I presented started.
How do the words selected drive the image and vice versa?
The keywords that I selected can guide more or less the reading of my image, even if to me the strength of an image is also the subjective interpretation that can be made of it.
#fragments : it refers to the fragmented appearance of the building and materials in confrontation.
#brain : I see the building as an assemblage of the architect’s thoughts that could be found in his brain.
#storytelling : like an atlas, I wanted my image to capture the history of the building and its founder, while leaving place for everyone’s imagination
#references : Casa da Musica is full of surprises and references related to its context.
#hybrid : the building, like the image I made of it is hybrid, assembling and stressing architectural elements of different natures.
What is for you the power of the image within architectural discourse?
To me, the image cannot be separated from the architecture. The image is needed in each step/stage of an architectural project. To imagine a concept and better communicate on an idea, we create mental images before transcribing them into physical images (whatever the technique). Even after the realization of a building, we take pictures (images of a state of progress of the architecture) to keep track of it and to communicate on someone’s work. Whether material or mental, the image is to be seen and thought about. It is the cornerstone of the process of human reflection.
What is for you the architect's most important tool?
I believe that the architect has several important tools, but one of the most important is his/her open-mindedness and his/her ability to question himself. It involves knowing how to look around and looking at domains that seems far from architecture, while questioning about the future of our territory.
The aim of the “Re-Draw” competition is to develop one visual to ‘represent’ an iconic architecture.
The participants are asked to draft one image, with absolute freedom of scale, technique, and level of abstraction. We encourage creativeness, criticality, and innovation. The drawing can highlight functional aspects of the building, showing a deep understanding of one or more design aspects. It can focus on the aesthetic qualities, experimenting and mastering a drawing technique with hyper-realistic outcomes, or it can be an optical deformation, a caricatural interpretation, a distant abstraction of the built architecture. The drawing can strengthen a conventional interpretation of architecture, or explore a new angle, a new point of view, intellectual and/or physical. The building can be portrayed as a whole, a part, or a collage of disconnected moments. The entry is completely flexible and adaptable to the participant’s interpretation.