Josep Miàs | MiAS ARCHITECTS on Architecture and Travel
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What is the importance of Architectural Tourism?
For architects is very important. It’s important because it’s a way of dealing in a very general way with a city. People can understand, by making this kind of tourism, that the city is important for the human beings. I don’t really know if they understand what they are looking at but in some sense for us it is interesting to see this kind of people moving around and looking at things, trying to understand why architecture is important for their lives.
What is the importance of traveling, especially for architects and humans in general?
For architects, for humans, for everybody is important because is a way of culture. But for architects, I think it’s the only way. I think we are used to look at books, issues and all this kind of publications but I’m really interested in architecture when you are really involved when you are really touching things. That’s why our projects are much more interesting when you are visiting them. You can look at our buildings in these publications but people being there is a new kind of experience and sometimes they are much more grateful and there is no disappointment. I am really happy about that when people after being in the site or just travelling around our buildings, they say “It was very different from what I could imagine”, that’s why I am really very interested in not only looking at this kind of publications, books, photos but just pushing people and pushing a real architect to go to the sites and go to the buildings and just looking at the buildings in a way that only an architect can do and I think it is not only being there but find to touch and trying to really describe what happens with the city and with the building itself.
What is the added value that architecture creates within a city?
We could survive without architects. That’s something really important. I don’t know if we are really necessary but I think in the end we can really modify things. That’s really important; this idea of modifying things. When we really do our work and we are doing the best, for sure we are improving things. Then I prefer thinking of architects as somebody capable of improve but not as somebody necessary, because a lot of architecture has been successful without any architect. So you realize that perhaps without the architect it works better but when you really see very good piece of architecture, very good city it is because of an architect of course. We can really modify things and we have some kind of power. Of course politics are much more important, but we are very close to politics when we work together.
At the end, can you please provide your personal proposal for 10 buildings (constructed and visitable) which you think as the most important worldwide that someone must visit anyway?
Part of them is very close to my experience. For me it was very important for example to see Louis Kahn’s “Phillips Exeter Library” and the Kimbell Art Museum. Louis Kahn for me was very important as it was very important for me Le Corbusier’s “Unité d’Habitation” in Marseille or even “La Tourette”. It was necessary to be there and I felt the need to be inside. I felt a need of going there and test what I have been looking at the books, so that’s why I’m interested in being inside and just living architecture in a very real way. They were, Kahn, Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright in New York, Louis Sullivan in Chicago, part of my history. Nowadays it was important for me to visit Jean Nouvel’s housing building close to Nimes. Even Rem Koolhaas in Netherlands and even Foster’s project was quite nice. It’s a pity but I am not very fond of recent projects. I try not to belong to this actual moment; it’s a kind of reaction. I really trust what I am doing and I don’t have a lot of information from the others. I am really against to getting information from others because in the end when I have an opportunity to see a project, I go there and I am disappointed, so I prefer coming back to my old Frei Otto’s buildings in Stuttgart for example or perhaps Högner, a very interesting architect in Stuttgart. He is not known and he is 80 years old but he is very interesting. Högner’s works for me are amazing. The best you can really offer to your students for example is a week of traveling to see his work. Not this kind of fashion architectural trips, I prefer just discover. For example yesterday I was with Herman Hertzberger, this Dutch architect. It was so nice to discover the previous works and he showed me a lot of interesting things from 80’s and 60’s. Discovering for me is very important and architecture nowadays is like pornography. It’s not erotic, it’s pornographic. There are a few sexy buildings; most of them are very pornographic buildings so I just come back most of the time.
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