“Architecture cannot be viewed purely through the prism of investment” Future Builders talks to Alvaro Siza

Future Builders’ most recent guest told his audience that “Business is important and it determines development, but architecture cannot be viewed purely through the prism of investment”. Taking part in ALUPROF’s pioneering project, Alvaro Siza, globally renowned Portuguese architect and winner of a host of awards, talked about a number of topics, including reconciling developers’ goals with the interests of the community and culture.

“Are architect-artists becoming fewer and further between?” Given Siza’s versatility, it was with this question that Piotr Żabicki, PhD, who was leading the event, chose to launch the interview.

Drawings and designs have become instruments for me to express my thoughts”

Siza confessed that, to him, architecture is a form of art and self-expression.

An architect has to develop this side of their sensitivity continually, as something that has a positive effect on life and society and that brings inspiration. What irritates me, though, is the direction that architecture is developing in. I can see it in Portugal, but I think it’s happening in other countries, too. A great many people treat architecture and property solely as business issues, neglecting green spaces or the legacy that buildings can be.

He followed up on this by admitting that reversing this trend is of the essence to him, so that, in the future, thinking about architecture will be comprehensive, reconciling business goals with respect for tradition, heritage and the environment.

The architect has always been expected to be a teacher”

How can the architect’s loyalty to the client and their responsibility towards society and the environment be reconciled? Siza sees dialogue and education as crucially important here. In his own words:

A developer comes to a client with particular problems to be solved and challenges to be met. The architect’s role is to coordinate that, but also to have an influence on the client’s view, to clarify all sorts of issues connected with the organisation of the space and with the architecture’s relationship with the landscape and environment, the proportions, the lighting and even the furniture and the materials used. We have to talk in order to move forward. And it’s important that others also take part in the discussion. Scientists, technicians and engineers. Everyone who can help improve the world and build a better future.

Future Builders is opening up the discussion to everyone, without discrimination

In Siza’s opinion, Future Builders is valuable initiative, since it involves various groups in the dialogue, providing a free exchange of ideas, experience and viewpoints:

To me, what’s most important is for all of us to work together in striving to create a better living space and trying to improve the future that awaits us.

He also focused on the international nature of Future Builders:

We shouldn’t only be talking individually, in separate countries and closed milieux. We have to open up to the world, to treat the future as a global problem and seek solutions as a global community.

The Future Builders platform. An open resource

A recording of the Alvaro Siza interview can be watched on the home page of the Future Builders website and on ALUPROF’s official YouTube channel. A podcast version is also available on the Future Builders official Spotify channel.

The Future Builders platform, an initiative launched by ALUPROF SA, a leader of the European aluminium joinery sector, is a place for the exchange of opinions between top architects from Poland and all over the world who have the daily opportunity of working on trendsetting projects, creating the world we live in. More information about Future Builders’ guests and recordings of the events can be found at https://future-builders.com/.

Coming soon! Bogdan Zaha as Future Builders’ guest

The next Future Builders guest will be Bogdan Zaha, computational design expert, university teacher and world-renowned lead architect of Zaha Hadid Architects Ltd. The event, which is free of charge, will be held on 21st October at 2.00 PM (GMT +2). Register online at |https://future-builders.com/.