Miraval, Villas and Guestrooms

Architype Dialogue presents

Paul Wazner

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?

During our work at Miraval Resort the challenges were less about the building type and more relating to our approach to utilize local building materials and techniques. We looked to regional, indigenous building traditions that would support the project goals-to connect guests to the place in a direct, authentic and meaningful way. One of the primary materials used was rammed earth; a challenge to this was finding a way to take time-tested techniques and utilize what modern building science has taught us, bringing long lasting value to our client.
Did this project expand or evolve your role as an architect in any way? In general, do you feel that the role of the architect is changing on current projects?

The architects’ role continues to evolve as leaders in the collaborative design process and this project was a good example of that. As the role grows, I believe the creative leadership needs to come from a strong design-focused individual. One who can pull the great ideas from the entire team, ask the key questions, challenge the team and ultimately focus all the creative energy, creating solutions to meets the Owner’s vision.
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?

It is interesting that in some ways we are going back to the way buildings used to be realized while in others there is new technology allowing us to push the boundaries. We are celebrating the unique local conditions of site, sun control, ventilation, water, materials the way architects did before the introduction of air conditioning, modern manufacturing and transportation. Our modern tools such as energy modeling, information sharing, BIM, GIS data, etc, allows us to understand the potential buildings and respond to these conditions in a very sophisticated way.
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?

The young architects and designers are coming to us with a strong background in 3D modeling and graphics. With these tools, our younger staff is able to help the team to easily review alternatives in the search for an ideal solution. It is my hope that a multi-disciplinary and holistic approach to the design process is and will continue being cultivated in academia-as that is the future of the profession.

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