What prompted you to partake in the Non Architecture competition?
We saw the opportunity to participate in the Non Architecture competition as a great chance to explore a more creative and experimental side of architecture. As architects we are also used to work in a different way as proposed in the competition. Usually we have a concept and then we develop it into a design and having already a design and then having to conceptualize it seemed easy at first sight, however it actually proved to be really challenging to produce only one and powerful drawing that could express our concept . Another interesting aspect that we could observe is that as architecture students, we are often taught to be creative, however, always keeping in mind the engineering side of how to make the idea possible to be built. Non architecture competitions are amazing counter proposal to that second thought, making possible for us to expand our creativity beyond what’s physically possible.
What is your take on competitions as these which aim to challenge the power of the drawings within the realm of architecture?
For both of us it was the very first time that we joined a competition as this one, but we see the importance of this type of challenge, especially in the architecture field where plans, facades and technical drawings took over for such a long time. Drawings and art in general can express so much more than that and have a bigger impact. Architects are used to first present their ideas through drawings which is an impossible task, since the space can’t be created in a 2D drawing. If a physical space is three dimensional, how can it be represented in one flat drawing? What it is possible to do, is to create a virtual space that makes the viewers trigger imagination, the senses and the atmosphere. The inspiring results of the Non architecture competitions demonstrated many powerful drawings which evoke all senses to enter the space imagined by the architects.
How did you approach the research and understanding of the building of Casa da Musica? 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?
Haruka has visited the building previously and was really impressed by its architecture and in particular its interior expression. So even before we applied for the competition she enthusiastically explained how did she feel, how was the experience of being there, and the essential elements that could be translated into one drawing. Later on we read articles and interviews of Rem Koolhaas about the building, the history, and the process of the design and concept behind Casa da Musica.
What informed the response to the brief and structure?
We wanted to bring out some of the key elements and features of the interior qualities to express more of what Casa da Musica is all about in one glance. The design of the concert hall goes beyond its architectural shape and facades, so the idea was to also show the magic of what was happening inside while keeping it clear which building was it inspired on.
We treated the building as a jewel, something precious. The value of it is not only for its architecture importance as a whole, but also for what represents for the music. So, putting it in the jewel box seemed an interesting way to show this. The idea of the music box from where the building comes out is also based in one of the acoustic principles for perfect harmonics and reverberation that Koolhaas used inside the building. Only this time instead of controlling the sound waves the “shoe box” becomes a “show box” producing the music and making the Portuguese ceramic walls to dance.
How do the words selected drive the image and vice versa?
From the very beginning, our intention of what we wanted to demonstrate through one drawing was clear: letting the inside out. At the same time that we wanted to write so much more than the title and the 5 key words, we acknowledged that the title itself was actually already saying pretty much everything we needed to say. Words and images both are complementary tools to provoke imagination. You can have your own interpretation of the image, but when checking the words the concept becomes more clear and the same happens on the other way around. We tried to create a poetic connection between vocabularies and drawings.
What is for you the power of the image within architectural discourse?
In the world of debating “space”, an image plays a crucial role. Without an image there’s no discussion since words aren’t enough to describe space. An image can organize thoughts, shape new perspectives and even shift your humor.
What is for you the architect's most important tool?
For us the architect’s most important tool is a powerful yet simple drawing which can translate virtual space into conceived space accurately.
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.