Paolo Brescia from OBR Open Building Research
1) What is the "mission" of an architect?
To make a contribution to those who live in our time, bearing in mind the future.
2) What are the requirements for achieving the highest quality in contemporary living?
Quality in contemporary living must be sought by promoting - through architecture - a sense of distinct community, being able to share the same values in the same spaces and, at the same time, enhancing the individual identities of its inhabitants.
We would like to liberate living from the home, regaining the fundamental feature of living, which is to "take care". This happens when the inhabitant can "carry out" their own style of living, directly interacting with their environment and the community. It is how we live that determines how we inhabit, not how we inhabit that determines how we live. In an era in which we work at home and live in the office, living refers to the same symbiotic relationship that is created between the garden and its gardener: if it is true that the garden is "looked after" by its gardener, in the same way it is also true that the gardener is "held" in time and space by his/her garden. In practice, the garden (home) and gardener (inhabitant) are inextricably linked to each other.
Photo credit: Mariela Apollonio Photo credit: Michele Nastasi
3) OBR is an international firm. What is the image of the contemporary Italian architectural scene from abroad?
We live in a very interesting situation of great economic and (transnational) cultural changes. The environment in which we work is increasingly uncertain, suspended between the city and the world. The world has become a ‘city-world’, where different types of products, messages, images, fashions, artists… and architects circulate, and are exchanged. But it is also true that the city is a ‘world-city’ with its ethnic, cultural and social differences. In this sense the ‘world-city’ contradicts the illusions of the ‘city-world’.
The phenomenon that we are seeing is the awareness of national identities, especially in emerging markets. In practice, whereas previously the architecture produced by the hand of the international architect of the moment could contribute its own recognizability (and self-reference) to its position on the international stage, today even the international urban market has chosen to focus on the logic of differentiation and uniqueness, starting from the cultural identity and social specifics of the promoter (both public or private).
As a result of what we are experiencing in Asia and Africa, we are increasingly converging on the idea of design as the result (rather than the beginning) of a cooperative process that is evolutionary. This will be valued more as international trade, fundamental for the future, becomes more intense.
After all, even though architecture is anchored to its site, it must depend on other and more mobile means to spread the ideas it produces; and the spread of ideas is necessary so that they may have a life and be tested in the world.
4) What can’t you live without in an architectural office?
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