1 – What is your office’s experience with architecture competitions? Is it something that you do on a regular basis? What are your motivations?
Our experience with tenders here at the office is very important and part of who we are.
Unlike the beginning of most offices that start informally with small refurbishment jobs, friends, family, we officially started in 2015 with a very important project in the Douro Valley. Two years later we got another important commission through a competition, and so until today we already have 4 big public commissions through a competition.
Our motivations, besides the more pragmatic character of obtaining projects that we find more challenging and stimulating, have to do mainly with challenging ourselves and putting us in front of situations that otherwise, in the day to day of the office we wouldn’t have the opportunity to think about.
2 – And about architecture ideas competitions, where most of the times, it’s not about getting a commission for a something to be built?
Ideas competitions are on the one hand very rewarding but on the other hand they sometimes introduce an excessive wear and tear, we think that any firm in the long run will rethink its position towards these contests, namely when they are very open.
But for us, ideas competitions are moments of freedom, opportunities and challenges where we have the power to propose what we believe to be the best for a certain project. On the other hand, they are also moments of great anguish and loneliness when we have to make fundamental decisions, because we don’t have an interlocutor to give us feedback, and architecture needs these moments of confrontation with other parallel realities, to inform itself and become better, more pertinent and adequate.
3-Do you think that is a challenge for architecture students or recent graduates only?
Here at the company, we think that we are always facing new challenges to the profession, whatever the level of the new professional life. We are always in the vertigo of our pertinence and relevance.
We believe that new generations always bring something better than us, evolution will always be positive. The challenge for the younger generations is always to find their place, either as authors or as part of an increasingly complex team. The sooner we find our place, the quicker we value ourselves. To conclude, we have a policy here at the office when it comes to recruiting, which is to look first at what the younger generation has done outside the college course, and here student competitions, workshops etc are very important for us to identify with the younger generation and to understand what they think outside the safe environment of the school.