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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: ARCHinterviews_Ibón Bilbao

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I am from Bilbao, but I came to Barcelona to study.

Here I discovered another way to look at things, it was through architecture.

For me it was really a turning point because that opened

completely a field that I know for sure is enough to last for my whole life, it's an endless field.

So architecture is for me a way to be on the move,

to be able to look, and to develop yourself in life, in other words.

You always bear in mind the place, the program, etc,

but I think recently there are some new inputs that architects feel like introducing, a series of questions,

in my case for instance, more related to ways to live, to ways to sociologically relate with your environment,

, to a whole question of new tools that ended up being really important.

Housing is probably the functional program that everyone knows since they are born,

but the one that, proportionally, we have dared less to develop.

The most difficult thing for me is to pass on to my students this possibility of reinventing everything.

But they have to do the housing they need nowadays.

And precisely, because it is an experimental field by itself,

any architect that lives in a house or any students that have been living in their homes for about twenty years,

that's more or less the age my students have,

they should have some interests ready to be thrown into practise as soon as they get a chance,

and to generate a new answer for a great need,

to a problem that needs to be solved and that you have already experienced in your life. As a user.

For example, it's interesting to notice how few final projects concern housing,

specially because, I believe, that at the end of the degree much could be said about the housing that will be needed in,

let's say 2010, knowing it will last until 2060.

2060, 2070, that sounds like we'll all be flying around the city instead of walking.

And housingů how will it be preparing by then? It seems a totally suggesting field to me,

but it's being approached too shyly and with much fear.

Housing means buildings and buildings mean city, and you can interpret this relationship in both directions, from housing to city and from city to housing.

About 90% of cities is used for residential purposes and in this sense, working well that little unit and giving it quality,

automatically gives quality to the city.

So working on what makes the better the city on a small level should make a much more interesting city, better planned, in other word.

Because thinking about housing implies thinking about the city.

To me a contest is, above everything, the possibility to make a client.

And it is a risky way to choose clients, but it has the positive point of saying , I'm interested in a specific project,

a concrete proposal, and if everything goes well I can go on with this project.

And I think it's interesting, but contests have reached a horrible stage.

An architecture proposal is that, a proposal concerning architecture.

It's not about money, an architect has to be able to say something about a place, a programme, and how it develops from an architectural point of view.

And we either take a time to stop being considered as providing a material and be what we are,

professionals who understand a number of complexities that only we can understand from an architectural understanding

or competition will end up being just that, a sort of battle of who does things cheaper or who is the one who bends over the most for a prize.

In that sense this is the most pessimistic part of the competition, but for me it is essential that competitions still exist,

as they allow you to get an idea of the research line in the firm, go to a certain type of competition because you are working in a line of research.

And I think this should not be stopped or aborted.

Student competitions are left with the interesting part of what I said before, that of the professional person.

And it the student facing a question and a good answer, in short.

And I think that's a point of freshness, a very straightforward point that you've got to take as a chance to think.

And with the fun of knowing that it's almost the first time you are next to someone who is thinking about the same things

and the challenge of how to get the development of what I have in mind in a clear, direct way

and that is able, in this case, to compete with other ways of presenting it.

I think it is fun to raise a number of solutions to some specific questions,

but especially the way of doing it, this way starts forcing a student to know what to say, how I say it, with which instruments, and in what format.

All that mental exercise seems very healthy, and in the case of the second competition organized by ArchMedium

and from what I've seen of what has been done with different ArchMedium sites,

what I think that is a success is the combination between the program and the site you seek.

So, in the case of Athens, the programme required and the site where it stood seemed very well fitted.

In this sense, the range was wide,

we should consider the dialogue between a strong pre-existing tradition and, at the same time a very cosmopolitan programme.

I think you had to be let yourself be conditioned and contaminated

in the best sense of the word for the student work that had been submitted, in this case.

So what we did see, talking about these packages that could be re-selected,

is that there was a first thing concerned about how to place oneself on the site.

There was a very important part in the program that had to do with the public space of relationship

that was already going beyond the idea of the program,

and I think that the organization was looking for the contestants to make a second reading of that public space that had to be joined,

between the city and the museum.

It was interesting to me to see those who felt that this public space was the space before the building,

ie read from the perspective of the city, the lobby of the building itself was the public space.

So, I remember when we talked with the jury and we did this with the hand.

If this is the site, there were those who were placed by generating a very clear limit of the building with the street itself.

In contrast there were those who acted to the contrary, with the concavity of the public space ending with the building,

and so to speak, the building absorbed the last process of public space and the receptive placement of that public space a the same time

generated a much distinctive limit than the other series of buildings that were a little scattered and somehow had a little blurred limit.

I believe that placement of concavity, as I said earlier, in relation to the site,

made two things easier:

the reuse or redevelopment of that great empty public space

and the definition of the limits of the intervention itself.

Then, I remember that the winner,

we all strongly agreed that the project was one that had to be ahead,

because it looked like he had played with that distance from the vacuum

and knowing that the building would have as a background that relationship with the Acropolis.

Well, it is detail like this, so clear, so simple and clear as this, which puts you in a proposal or another.

On the other hand I also valued, with the other jurors,

proposals that are redefining a little the programme organization.

In some cases, people came to the museum through a series of layers of the program itself or,

a very funny project, which seemed like an exaggeration, but started from the evolution of the exhibition space.

In other words, we valued the way necessary parts to explain

what was intended to explain in this museum was used as an tool of the project.

And so, the final form, it was not very decisive or not very important,

it was the decision to use the route as an instrument of the public space project or that public site as an instrument,

or a particular integration with the site topography also a tool for the project,

I valued this kind of things.

And inevitably in the end the winners of the entries were some of the highlights of those packages of projects,

because you could put participants into one kind or another and eventually some representatives,

who ended up being the prizes or mentions emerged

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