Friday, July 12, 2013

Winners of 2013 speaks out


Li Xiaodong

We have to start somewhere. 

Li Xiaodong Atelier

















Why did you submit the Liyuan Library for the Architecture of Necessity?
It seemed appropriate to choose that project because it responds to the Architecture of Necessity manifesto in many ways. Just as important as keeping to the five topics of the manifesto, architecture is about finding the point of no more and no less”.

Working with the awarded project, what was your greatest learning?
Each project is a testing of new ideas. The Liyuan Library has turned out to show how to stay close to nature without loosing the understanding of technology.

What is the most urgent challenge within sustainable community planning in China right now?
Chinese architecture has, during the late 20th century, consisted of symbols. But architecture must be a matter of debate. As well as usage of local materials, it is important to give the building a meaning to the local people.

What inspires you to work for an architecture of system change?
We have to start somewhere. Small architecture can make a large impact, if you do it right. The tall landmarks you can find in several cities around the world are often published as a single photo without further architectural meaning. Big architecture can make little impact. In my practice, I always strive for the balance of “just right”.



David Sim and Simon Goddard, Gehl Architects

Bicycling in China must not be replaced by car transportation!

Gehl Architects and Christchurch City Council

























Why did you choose to submit the Christchurch project for the Architecture of Necessity?
DS/SG: It was so obvious. We work with projects in developing countries as well as developed countries. Since the award is Swedish, we chose a project where people hopefully can recognize oneself.

Working with the awarded project, what was your greatest learning?
DS: The most touching part was that, when planning for a new city after the earthquake, peoples wishes were to go back to basic”.
SG: It is striking how important it is to listen to the citizens. We arrived to Christchurch prepared to teach about how to rebuild the city, but it turned out that we and the citizens learned from each other during the process.

What is the most urgent challenge within sustainable community planning right now?
SG: Globally we must have the developing countries to value their already sustainable parts of the society. For example, bicycling in China must not be replaced by car transportation. The developing world must not make the same mistakes as us over again.

What inspires you to work for an architecture of system change?
DS: The city of the future is less “futuristic”. At the office, we work according to Gehl’s theory of “Life first, then space, then buildings.



Ed Williams, Fletcher Priest Architects

People actually laughed at my idea, and now they love it.

Fletcher Priest Architects
Photographer: David Soar




















Why did you choose to submit One Angel Lane for the Architecture of Necessity?
We have several projects on the drawing board that suits the demands for the Architecture of Necessity, but we chose to submit One Angel Lane because it is a completed project.

Working with the awarded project, what was your greatest learning?
The context in the city centre in London demands an understanding of numerous actors involved. That kind of process is always very slow and heavy with high expectations. For each completed project you improve how to communicate your ideas to be able to realize them.

What is the most urgent challenge within sustainable community planning in London right now?
To reduce the energy usage in all stages of the building process. Also, the challenge of convincing without being aggressive. At an early stage when designing the One Angel Lane, people actually laughed at my ideas. It turned out as a very successful project, particularly commercially, and now they love it.

What inspires you to work for an architecture of system change?
We are very proud of the remarkably increased public space created in the One Angel Lane project. More public spaces in the city is an inspiration and a must to form a sustainable society.



Arne Toennissen, Roswag Architekten

We always prefer low-tech solutions. 

Roswag Architekten




















Why did you choose to submit the Pakistan school project for the Architecture of Necessity?
When we heard about the triennial, we were on the site in Pakistan. The project responds to the manifesto and was very current.  

Working with the awarded project, what was your greatest learning?
As with previous projects, we find the educational process to be the main reason. At our office we have a close relation with universities and we run scientific research along with the design process. At the same time it is important to meet the local artisans on their conditions, and to respect and learn from each other.

What is the most urgent challenge for you as German architects working in the developing world?
We always prefer low-tech solutions. In Germany, high-tech alternatives are standard, and that must change. For example, natural air circulation combined with the right choices of natural materials are superior to high-tech air circulation systems.

What inspires you to work for an architecture of system change?

To offer solutions and share them by open sources gives hope to the future. It is important to develop an awareness, educate and listen to each other.

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