„Out best ideas come from things we’ve seen during our daily existence…“
Introduction of MoDusArchitects from Brixen, Italy
AIT-Dialog from Hamburg asks young offices from the fields of architecture and interior design about their motivation and interests, why they have joined forces and when and where they are creative.
Why did you decide to study architecture?
Sandy: My older brother studied architecture and I saw how drawings could become a model or a space. Seeing the physical manifestation of an idea gave me a sense of security—I was intrigued by the notion that ideas could be pinned down and made visible.
Matteo: My love of art and architectural history undoubtedly comes from my mother, she started a family before she finished her degree in architecture and so in many ways my decision to study architecture could be seen as a continuation of her passion that she instilled in me during my childhood.
What made you decide to found your own practice?
Meeting one another!
What does good architecture mean to you?
Good architecture never gets old, it just keeps on giving, good architecture means that it “feeds the fire of others” so to speak, good architecture keeps ideas alive and stands the test of time.
Are you guided by a certain philosophy or mindset?
We are our own mindsets so it’s important that our mindsets stay nimble, stay clear so that we can still listen to our intuition, follow our curiosity and encapsulate fleeting ideas amongst the clutter or our lives.
Which existing building would you have liked to design yourself?
Hatshepsut Temple, the Bicton Palm House and any one of Sigurd Lewerentz’s built works… or even any one of the projects published in Bernard Rudolfky’s book “Architecture without Architects!”—all projects entirely “sustainable,” driven by plain old common sense, an unaffected sense of beauty, and a rootedness in a place and culture.
What was the first project you realised with your office?
The Children’s Day-care center on the grounds of the hospital here in Bressanone, close-by to where our office is located.
What do you think about it when you look at it today?
I always think about how we would go to the jobsite obsessively and keep it clean—sweeping, moving things around—as though doing so would help us better see and therefore learn more quickly all there is to learn on a construction site. I feel empowered knowing that many little ones have passed through there playing and day-dreaming in the spaces that we designed with them in mind.
What was the most significant project you have realised with your office so far?
The Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center in Bolzano.
Why was it so important for you?
For two reasons. The first because we saw what happens when someone in the local, public administration takes a project under their wing, has a vision and works with you to navigate through all the ups and downs. And the second because those living and working there today have made it an amazing place (they call the institution a “school for life”) that—whether they realize it or not—have embraced all of the ideals that we poured into it as young architects working on our first major, public works commission. And also because the structure of the project and the governing ideas are one of the same.
With whom (architect, designer, …) would you like to realise a project?
I would have liked to realize a project with Lina Bo Bardi and Matteo would have loved to work with João Vilanova Artigas. If we were to choose a person alive today, it would have to be Francesco Venezia, an Italian architect who still would have so much more to give if he hadn’t withdrawn from the the profession.
What does your lunch break look like?
We live just around the corner from the office so lunch break is generally a family affair with hungry teenagerss waiting impatiently for the parents to come home (always late) and whip them up a delicious meal in no-time.
Where do your best ideas come from?
Out best ideas come from things we’ve seen during our daily existence, or from travels near and far—or, if we take the time to actually read, ideas abroad!—or they come from brainstorming with nonchalance between ourselves without deadlines, expectations or onlookers pressing upon us. Ideas also undoubtedly come from teaching, taking the time to prepare lectures or struggling to find ways forward with student projects.
MoDusArchitects has been awarded most of the top architecture awards in Italy to date and has been published widely across the globe, remaining small (in size) and true to their passion of building beautiful buildings that can last and be loved.