Architype Dialogue presents
Javier Larraz, Architect
What was the single hardest issue to predict about working within this building type and/or the most unexpected challenge that influenced new thought in the building?
Without a doubt, the fact of projecting a building for three year old children. A nursery is the first public space that they are going to inhabit out of their home, in a time of their life that is going to condition their future adult capabilities.
The project contains numerous pedagogic concepts, prepared in strict collaboration with child education specialists. A remarkable aspect would be that of the “double scale”, or how some spaces have been designed with the aim of achieving a different perception of them from both children and carers.
Did this project or building type require an expansion and evolution of your role as an architect in any way? In general, do you feel that the role of the architect is having to expand, change, or evolve on projects?
We believe the present times require a second thought from all of us involved in architecture. It is important that we architects bear in mind our responsibility, which should aim beyond an achieved “image”, and show a firm longing for compromise with society. This compromise involves the need to undertake each new project with intensity and exclusivity, beyond any purely architectonic issues.
How is this particular building possible today in a way that it may not have been before and how have trends in technology and society inspired new solutions?
Beyond the projecting aspects attached to the main building’s pedagogic function, the most outstanding technical questions involve energetic issues, like sun and natural light control, the sustainability of both the building process and the building itself, and its energetic efficiency. The project contains the best actual possible energetic qualification in Spain.
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 increasing professional specialising of our society gets widening interdisciplinary teams involved on any project, structural engineers, other engineers of various specialities, biologists, lawyers, etc..
The architect must bear, therefore, his “director of orchestra” role, in order to be able to coordinate his entire efforts in the same direction, and not as isolated actions, and always search for the enrichment and coherence of the final result. Besides, and although it is our duty to keep ourselves on a continuous recycling effort that will enable us to assume the new technological developments and tendencies, we think it is necessary to always keep a safe distance towards the “most recent”, in as much as it is one of the conditions of good architecture to endure.