Interview






In order to reflect on 2A magazine visions in 2A Continental Architectural Award for Asia and Europe the jury members have been interviewed by
Ahmad Zohadi as follow;


Question 1- How can architects, Planners and landscape designers intervene to alleviate the human afflictions in the realm of the built environment?

 

Nader Ardalan: The theme of displacement is today one of the dominant human afflictions in the realm of the built environment that has drawn increasing attention in recent years from architects, historians, designers, urban planners, and artists seeking to meet the now growing range of challenges related to human settlements. These challenges especially include the tangible impacts of climatchangeseleveriserefugecommunities, and the economic-political displacement of masses of peoples across Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Northern Africa, the Caribbean and Central America.

In addition, they also include the more intangible and accompanyinchallenges opsychologicaand spiritual displacement. These crises have moved the theme of displacement and design mitigation strategies to address and alleviate these challenges to the center of education, research, and practice in a wide-ranging field of architectural design and urbanism and its related fields, including philosophy and theology.

to design spaces (within the limitations of site, budget, available technology etc.) that help in bringing man closer to nature. I create interactive spatial nodes that facilitate the reconnection between various people. I design courtyards, verandahs, niches, transitional spaces that help in reestablishing our spatial link with our cultural roots. And finally, can our spaces embody that quality of sanctity and silence that would take us closer to our own selves ?

 

Waro Kishi: If I could answer that question, I would be so happy to be (so happy as) an architect. I cannot find the answer even today and I keep on looking for it in every project that I am engaged in.

Sergei Tchoban: Architects and urban planners actually do not have the power or sufficient instruments in order to alleviate the human afflictions, even not in the realm of the built environment. They usually are not supposed tditArchitects are rathesupplieroideasand their budget responsibility is limited to a very tight and predefinescope.  But  within  the  given  frames  they can make aware of certain conditions and offer single improvements in order to convince the decision makers.

I think it is very important for architects, and especially for professional beginners, to understand that most buildings belong to the ordinary urban surroundings and thus have to meet the needs of their inhabitants in the first place, including a humane and enjoyable appearance.

In fact, the latter point is much more important than many of us think. We have to take into account that the bigger part of the buildings is just supposed to produce a particular common urban pattern which is interesting because of its little elaborate details. Outstanding buildings,  on  the  other  hand,  do  occur  eventually.

representing a kind of leader within a swarm and granting a point of clear identification.

Considering this approach, the design of the urban surroundings is able to contribute a lot to a better life.

 

Question 2- Please follow this idea:Between the countries from different civilizations in the different continents(Asia and Europe in this case) , there has been a constant history of trade, migration and sharing of cultural practices, which has extended strongly, even in the field of architecture. I realized these countries have a deep and true connection with moral principles, which has affected all aspects of its society (Culture, Architecture, Art and their identity in general), their root and identity hainfluencetheir architecture.  I  alsunderstood that their traditional architecture has been naturally developed in a sustainable manner, I believe that the underlying cultural, historical and spiritual values has led to creation of this form of natural sustainability."

It is the differing uses of history, to create varied sets of architectural languages within our contemporary framework that is of interest. This is especially true in the context of globalization, which has a powerful tendency to homogenize.”- Hence, I would like to ask you as a member of the jury member of 2A Asia Architecture Award 2017, do you consider this thought when you design and practice?

Nader Ardalan: As a first principle, I believe in the explorations of the values and timeless lessons of the differenRegional and CulturaArchitecturaidentities that have historically existed and adapted sustainably to their natural context. These perennial worldviews can continue to shape the natural, ‘spirit of future sustainable built environments to survive.

As a second principle, I hold that globalization can make a beneficial contribution by its spread of technological innovations    and design    opportunities.        However, their use must be thoughtful and appropriate to the context. Unfortunately, the products of globalization as commercial instruments are highly market driven that have resulted in what I call “in-between cultureswith non-sustainable built environments lacking deep moral value systems and characterless, displaced cultural identities.

Shirish Beri: While designing, I do not tend to make a conscious consideration for the for the above thought mentioned by you. As an   architect with Indian roots, these overall design considerations seem to happen spontaneously and almost sub consciously. In a few specific projects, these considerations become more conscious efforts of introducing traditional architectural vocabulary and systems.

My designs happen more in response to the traditional / cultural attitudes to life rather than responding to visual traditional architectural elements, with this sustainability also happens effortlessly.

In today’s reality, it is important to balance our  universal expressions with our perennial value systems to balance the new unity with the traditional diversity of form … to balance the measurable with the immeasurable.

Waro Kishi: Basically,I agree with your interpretation of the cultural situation in Asia. As a practical architect, I am used to confront the local situation of the project itself,  including  its  site,  financial situation,  local  laws and, of course, client’s taste. Basically those specific conditions are to be cleared in every aspect, but this is just the starting point of our design process.

Wshoulput any specific projecithcontexof cultural history of its specific area, and also the project has to be important in the context of contemporary, world-wide culture.

That  is  why I  proposed  “History/Contemporariness”  as the key concept covering both ways. It is important to respect the history and to be contemporary at the same time.

Sergei  Tchoban:  Well,  of  course,  the  ideas  of  cultural exchange, free trade and free movement of individuals, which roughly make up globalization, do influence my work. And it is impossible to elude the impact of global powers.  But  still,  having  in  mind  that  we  are  strongly involved in the current global tendencies, we can decide how to act locally within the framework of a project. Along with the growth of global exchange the architectural language  has  obviously  changed.  Outstanding  forms, huge solitaires undeniably attract more professional and public interest than ordinary urban ensembles. And yet we should give our best, especially when designing everyday structures,  in  order  to  avoid  endless  clean  glazed  or concrete façades.

In addition to economic and ecological sustainability we have to create sustainable structures also on the level of a pleasant and worth appearance which can age in dignity. That’s why a lot of architectural offices return to using regional materials and traditional languages. We should focus more on making the surrounding value by working precisely with details. The relationship between the  outstanding buildings and  their  surrounding should become more harmonious, even if it would be a harmony of contrasts.

Hubert Nienhoff: The answer is yes, absolutely! Because as an architect you stand on a cultural foundation, which is composed of numerous general social and personally shaped building blocks. One could say that globalization or homogenization is not entirely a new phenomenon. At least since Greek antiquity, there is a strong super-regional architecture that claimed validity as a classic over space and time.

 

Question 3- In order to understand the contemporary architectural and urban landscapes in different continents, in your opinion, what are the emergent manifestations of the world in contemporary Architecture and Urbanism?

 

Nader Ardalan: can decipher two significant emergent themes in contemporary world architectural and planning thinking:

 

“The future lies in the past”

Projects that are small, modest, human scaled and following in the ‘footsteps of their grandfathers’ have gained  an  evolving role  in  design thinking.  Projects that strive to reinforce existing spatial traditions, such as courtyards, and the use of local building solutions, such as earthen and wood construction that are following timeless sustainable and socially relevant design principles, but which still allow contemporary, affordable and innovative designs are gaining favor in low income regions of the world.“Low-tech is the future high-tech”

There  is  a  worldwide  growing  awareness  and  trend for healthy living, natural building materials and methodologies that result in low energy needs and usage, cost efficiency and recyclability. Most low-energy buildings do not require mechanical ventilation while providing comfortable indoor climatic conditions. As High energy buildings, due to cost and lack of energy availability are phased out, low energy buildings will become the future.

Shirish Beri: I am sorry, I do not understand this question clearly…. However…. I feel that the emergent manifestations in today’s architecture and urbanism should not be purely anthropocentric but evolve as an inseparable part of this wonderful web of life. They need to create more open, vulnerable and equitable spaces that foster an empathetic, compassionate feeling of oneness, and closeness with everything around us.

These new manifestations should help in shifting our present day emphasis on saleability to sanctity, from glossy, outer wrappings to meaningful inner content and from greed and overconsumption to restraint and simplicity.

 

Waro    Kishi:    Emergent    manifestations...The    problem is weare not able to find “emergent manifestations” nowadays. The world seems to be in a critical state now, but we cannot find the new standard of value to replace Modernism until now.

After the Soviet Union and the Berlin wall collapsed, the world has become completely uniform, and the world has lost its way at the same time.

We can do anything now and we have no “emergent manifestations” at all. This is the basic understanding of the contemporary world where we live in.

 

Sergei Tchoban: Sustainability is one of the most important points in terms of structural standards, which means ecological, economical or social sustainability. The importance of certificates as DGNB or BREEAM proves that it is not enough to deliver only a spectacular form. The building has to be an all-rounder.

Moreover, I think that a certain kind of modesty is highly valued. Look at this years’ RIBA Stirling Prize, the renovation of the Hastings peer. It is a very calm and pensive project, revealing a love for details.

However for my part I’m missing a new profound theoretical basis. Without strong values we are forced to find always new approaches on the one hand and on the other the construction process is highly dictated by the building industry. As a result the cities become more and more similar.

 

Hubert Nienhoff: Architecture is globally deprived of its intelligibility, of its ability to serve understanding: everything seems possible. A consensus about the design of our environment has been lost. Through singular decisions in search of new sensations this arbitrariness is promoted. The architect Hans Scharoun put it very succinctly: An architect should not be guided by sensations, but by reflections.

 

 

Question 4 - How important  is context in Contemporary Architectural Design? As a professional, researcher and educator working in Asia/Europe, what are factors, criteria or even constrains that have influential impact on your profession?

 

Nader   Ardalan:   The  dictum:  “Think  Cosmically,   Act Locally”  was  a  useful  way  that  Buckminster  Fuller,  the great thinker and inventor, defined the essential context of existence and approached this question. He assumed that humanity was designed to perform an important function in the Universe in two key movements: Movement  1.  To  be  in  resonance  with  the  intention of  cosmic  evolution  to  transform  humanity  into  an integrated, harmonious whole with the universe. Movement  2.  To  achieve  the  First  by  living  evermore efficiently within the given cosmic-energy income of the earth, without wasting its capital resources, ninety nine percent of which comes from our sun.

Shirish Beri: Context, for me is of utmost importance. Our design context can be a measurable, physical context such as the site, the tree, the rock and the climate or it could be the immeasurable one, such as the socio – cultural values and behavioral patterns. Even the physical site or the tree will have immeasurable undercurrents that surely influence our designs.

 

However, most contexts today are being swept away by the single overpowering commercial context of economic returns. This is the major reason why we see all over the world, the boring, monotonous homogenization of the built form.

 

My designs tend to respond to a variety of contexts – even to the seemingly unimportant and irrelevant, small ones. This multi layered diversity and plurality creates a very special, spatial experience for the user.

 

Waro   Kishi:  I  believe  in  the  classical   meaning  of vvArchitecture—Imeanarchitecturewith a capital A. Architecture is the expression of the “Order” in every age, from the ancient times, including Egyptian, Greek, up to Modernism.

I, myself, believe in Architecture in this way, even if I may look anachronistic in this 21st century.

 

Sergei Tchoban: As I mentioned in my previous answers there are a lot of factors which influence my work. In fact you could divide them into two categories: hard and soft factors. While architects have to deal with a variety of hard factors as for example budget, clients’ wishes and legislation, they also have to consider a lot of soft criteria. A particular surrounding (depending on the city and country you design and build), certain building traditions or the atmosphere of the place are such soft criteria. All this let the architecture turn into a long and complicated process of coordination and discussions.

 

Hubert Nienhoff: It is fundamentally always about relationships, nothing is detached only for one’s self, and whether as an architect, one focusses on the contrast or the harmony with the context. However, it is important to me not to have too many illusions about the influence of our profession, even if architecture undoubtedly shapes people. If one takes a look over time and at larger simultaneous relationships, this is quite evident.


Jury Meeting

18th October 2017

 

 

The jury meeting took place on 18th October 2017, in Beuth Hochschule Fur Technik Berlin university.The respective juries of every award, both Asia and Europe judged the panels of candidate projects in separate

places, the jury members of 2ACAA for Asia were Nader Ardalan, Waro Kishi and Shirish Beri. The jury members of 2ACAA for Europa were Ulrike Lauber, Hubert Nienhoff and Sergei Tchoban. The projects were submitted in 7 different categories as following:

1)Residential

    A - Apartment

    B - Villa

2) Commercial (Office & Business,  Retail and wholesale,

Production)

3) Public (Sport & Leisure, Education, Hospitality, Culture,

Mixed Use, Health, Religion, Civic ,Transportation)

4) Urban Projects, Rural Projects, Landscape & Public

Spaces (Including squares and streets) 5) Old and New (Reuse and adaptation, Renovation,

Restoration, Regeneration)

6) Interior Architecture

7)Future Projects and Innovative Design

The judging criteria of 2ACAA 2017

• Design Achievement including Concept, Strategy and

Proceedings

• Technical advancement includes engineering

achievements (structural, mechanical, etc.) and

innovative use of materials

• Reflection of sense of place, cultural identity and

ecology; environmental sustainability (including

ecological, and sociocultural sustainability)

• Social responsibility and community and urban

connectivity

• The effects of economical condition on the project

• Transcendent Dimensions of Architecture



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