Re-Draw: Natura Morta

Project

The project ‘Natura Morta’ received honourable mention for the Re-Draw competition hosted by Non Architecture in collaboration with KooZA/rch.

Key Words

  1. Transplant
  2. Mutation
  3. Graft
  4. Fear
  5. Desire

Interview

What prompted you to partake in the Non Architecture competition?

We considered applying to this competition because of two factors: on the one hand it allowed us a certain level of freedom in developing the work on the other it offered the idea to promote a critical thinking not only with regards to architecture but also in its Representation. This was very important for us and is essential within our field of research. We were challenged by the idea of having to elaborate one single powerful enough image which would clearly convey our concept.

What is your take on competitions as these which aim to challenge the power of the drawings within the realm of architecture?

We strongly believe that the representation of a project is not only linked to the design process and as a tool for communication but rather exists as an explorative thinking tool that allows one to open their minds and challenge contemporary pre conceptions. Thus, this kind of competition represented for us the opportunity to practice our critical thinking with regards to both the architectural project but also on how we conceive our profession, reviewing and re-visiting architectural and urban theories. This allowed us to break with our own paradigms and theories experimenting new drafting techniques.

How did you approach the research and understanding of the building of Casa da Musica?

We approached the building, first by trying to understand it from different perspectives, analyzing its urban context,  the design of the building itself,  the architect’s design process, his cultural background as ya oung student with reference to the masters and architectural influences as Archizoom and Superstudio. Then we proceeded in establishing a critical thinking which encompassed all of these aspects.

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?

We haven’t yet had the opportunity to visit the building. We used the web to gain an understanding of the building and its surroundings. Google maps/earth was essential to learn the differences in scale and the relationship between the structure and the observer. These tools were pivotal in allowing us to understand the volumetric relationship between the urban context and the Casa da Musica.

5. What informed the response to the brief and structure?

Our response to the brief was defined by three aspects:
– Early Rem Koolhaas’s biographical references as influential in the representation (Radicals movement from Italy, Superstudio, Archizoom).
– Architectural and Urban criticism, in relation to Rem’s building approach. We confront the ‘isolated object’ to its multiplicity. Re-thinking the cities, leaving down-under the present city.
– The contextualization of our criticism in contemporary problems, as the Climate Change and Sea Water Raising.

How do the words selected drive the image and vice versa?

The words chosen are related to our conceptualisaton of the landscape which, in this case, generates the critical futuristic vision proposed.

Defining concepts:

We establish Transplant as a building approach. We conceive of it as a way of inserting an entire ‘living being’ into another ambient. It’s an experiment which is responsible for adaptation and changes to different conditions.

This establishes a metaphor of otherness and alterity.

At this point, we explored Casa da Musica not as an isolated object by itself, but as a multiplicity which generates a ‘new artificial landscape’.

We confront a Mutation, a new way of making the city that at the end, contextualizes in an extreme futuristic expression the climate change conditions.

Representing through our response the last surviving Archipelago.

Thus, Graft represents a new way of living. At the end Graft and Transplant both deal with the concept of intentional change. They are the result of a strong action which requires vibrant and dynamic resources to succeed.

In this vision, the Fear and the Desire are the two aspects of the human condition. Fear to the consequences of our own decisions and Desire to endless survive, our “last boat” for hope.

In our proposal we discuss the controversial experiences and changes in urban and not urban landscapes occurring in the immediate future.

What is for you the power of the image within architectural discourse?

The power of the image is the necessity to be strongly communicative at different levels: the concept, the emotion perceived as a scenography, intentionally, with special focus points and rich in details.
Proportion and composition, perspective, colors selection, highlights, focus and blurring effects are the main tools which build strong sensations and feelings about the place. In this way we transmit the experience of being into the place; Our response is not only a view, an image. It discusses and represents experience.

What is for you the architect's most important tool?

The most important tool, for us, is the perspective technique with the view-point at the observer level. This connect in a more direct way, people who are looking, to the image. Transmitting the design experience of the place is a very important goal for us, as we architects, not only create spaces but we strengthen ways people live, move and feel into the space.

About

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.

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