Architype Dialogue presents
Chris M. Baribeau
What was the most difficult issue about working within this building type or the most unexpected challenge that may have influenced new thought in your project?
The airport terminal building type is wrought with code and agency approval…but in this particular small project these paper limits lead to thoughtful master planning and a careful insertion of an architectural form into the tight site constraints for a rural airport. Distinct program requirements, view corridors, and site forces—particularly wind and solar—all emphatically shaped the form making process of the design.
Did this project expand or evolve your role as an architect and designer in any way? In general, do you feel that the role of the architect is changing on current projects?
As the first civic project undertaken by my firm, the Terminal evolved our capacity to provide a new model of how projects of this scale, occurring all over the rural landscape, can be more provocative and indicative of the value that architect’s can instill in everyday projects through good design.
I believe that the role of the architect needs to evolve towards the community builder capacity—a status we perhaps once held. Our design insight, from planning to building, is valuable across a spectrum of communities both rural and urban.
How is your building possible today in a way that it may not have been before and how have trends in technology and society inspired new thought and solutions?
This project is actually quite simple and low-tech; we believe this is a proper formula for rural Arkansas construction. However, I am positive that the general population’s media exposure to a wider range of ideas made our form-driven, machine-referential design more plausible and ultimately exciting.
In the context of this project, how is your office and design process being influenced by current trends in academic curricula and incoming young architects? In turn, how are current projects and processes guiding the ongoing reformulation and development of academic curricula?
I am an active liaison, critic, and resource for the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture. I feel a strong connection to the students that look to my young firm for inspiration and possibilities. The relationship with my alma mater was evolving during the Terminal’s design, and following the completion of the project, its subsequent publication and media exposure enabled more students to see the work we are doing. This exposure ultimately leads to more engagement with students locally and at other universities. We are nurturing this symbiotic relationship or at least the breeding grounds for one; Modus Studio is directly involved with a University design/build project and it is apparent that an opportunity for theory/design/practice/build back-and-forth is healthily unfolding.
Architype Review thanks Chris M. Baribeau for his interview and for contributing to this collection of Architype Dialogue.