What prompted you to partake in the Non Architecture competition?
There is something attractive about a single image and idea prompt in the world of architectural competitions — a prompt that doesn’t require the full package/full feature breakdown of a design idea. The call for a single drawing, particularly of a programmatically and materially special building was the primary driver for participating in this competition. And of course, the opportunity to create a part of a curation of drawings with a single theme was quite enticing.
What is your take on competitions as these which aim to challenge the power of the drawings within the realm of architecture?
I am absolutely in favour of these challenges. Drawings tell the story, drawings convey the idea, drawings are the visual descriptor for architectural design. As they say, if you can tell an idea through a drawing, you can save yourself a thousand words.
How did you approach the research and understanding of the building of Casa da Musica?
Casa da Musica is one of those special buildings that usually end up getting studied in Architecture School. I was first exposed to it in detail during an intensive concert hall case study for my final project in graduate school. My primary approach to learning almost always starts with pencil to paper, so I spent quite a bit of time sketching and redrawing aspects of the building – from the typical orthographic plans, sections and elevations, to perspectival sketches to really understand the unique qualities of this 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 internet and google maps?
Unfortunate as I must admit, I have not visited the site in person. The internet is a miraculous library of documentation and so I scoured for information as well as past case studies in order to understand the building best. Thankfully the case studies from architecture school were extremely helpful, but suffice to say, the internet ended up being pivotal to my research.
What informed the response to the brief and structure?
As with all Non Architecture competitions, the brief and structure are quite flexible, asking only to present a single drawing that represents one or more ideas about the building. My goal was to focus on not more than two ideas, and let those ideas branch out into the full fledged drawing. To really hone in on what those one or two ideas were, I started with the basics – context and programming. From there, I picked out the aspects that stood out to me the most about the Casa da Musica — building as an object, and patterns.
How do the words selected drive the image and vice versa?
The words and image work hand-in-hand. While the specific keywords were not finalized before starting the drawing, they developed naturally as the drawing slowly came to life. Object and Pattern were the keywords that informed my drawing. The building as an Object is informed by how each programmatic Volume is slotted together. Each of these Patterned volumes are Connected together via the Puzzle.
What is for you the power of the image within architectural discourse?
As a highly visual learner, I can’t imagine anything more powerful than the image in architectural discourse. The image can describe a single idea, a multitudes of ideas. The image can also encapsulate an audience within fractions of a second. The image can inform a narrative without the narration. This isn’t to say the image is at its best alone. I believe a happy union of image and text tells the greatest story in Architecture.
What is for you the architect's most important tool?
Can’t argue against pencil and paper.
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.