Sometimes I tell that every project, competition, assignment we do is like a specific exercise of classic gymnastics. This is the reason why in our office we use the word exercise more than project. We say projects or definitely buildings only when they strike a balance with reality and leave the paper. Until then, they are exercises because this way they make possible to develop a parallel activity of personal, intellectual, independent investigation with very peculiar interests, which can later be or not included in the project. We check them continuously.
Drawing is the basic element to measure the potential of each proposal. We draw and redraw, again and again, and every new sketch must produce a new possibility, to be formalized in a three-dimensional construction, a model. As far as they create new chances the project will move forward, going to and fro, frantically.
This gymnastic exercise gives consistency and lucidity to our work.
We verify that every project-exercise should form part of the successive, providing new opportunities. Also the disposition of our desks in the space we work makes the projects mixing and getting “tainted”. This way we confirm that we are always doing the same project.
Ever since I started, since my very first projects, I have translated drawing into wire. I believe our architecture describes precisely that which makes it possible, and tries to make visible those essential lines, necessary to its comprehension. I am not so interested in the structural purpose of these lines as I am in the role they have in the conception of the project. It is these lines that are responsible for verifying the potential of any drawing, its necessity.
Drawing in space enables to efficiently verify the validity of the drawing itself.
Evidently, these wire constructions form part of the process. Our spatial constructions are never of the finished project. Certainly, the current means do a much better job of visualizing the result than these constructions do. We make then solely as a means for our understanding, and in any event they help us in our search for the internal coherence of the project itself.
Really, this way of working turns our studio into a space of investigation, of systematic development of the design process, which enables us to have discourse of our own, personal and beyond a strictly architectural production.
And also enable us to talk about nature as the origin of all these geometries and aspirations, transformed in architecture, we continually draw and redraw to make them comprehensible and find a raison d’être.
My teaching work in this sense acquires connotations which are more instrumental than conceptual and affords the student a personal environment completely independent from mine, which is, in my mind, the way it should be. The distance that exists between the work of the student and the instructor might be a good measure of one’s worth as a teacher.
Drawing continues to be the material for the verification of our thoughts. Drawing should translate plainly and with the greatest care those ideas, intentions, that have yet to be discovered. We might even say that we are only able to conceive of what we are able to draw. This work on paper is done obsessively. The drawings superimpose themselves on each other with successive minor modifications, with successive approaches, and with changes that are often nearly imperceptible.
We find this concept of series, of production in series, extremely interesting, because it establishes a mechanism of order and control in our work. I believe that in these moments of production the project almost fades away in favour of a work that acquires meaning of its own.
I am very interested in the work of Agnes Martín and the relation she establishes with her work. An uninterrupted, constant work, absolutely personal, that depends only on itself. I often think that some of our drawings could be transposed perfectly to this support.