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  • Rita Girbal

Architecture for me is evolution and adaptation

Architecture cannot abdicate issues such as well-being in the architectural environment, as well as concerns for human needs in favor of aesthetics.

Gando Primary School. Photo by Simeon Duchoud.

We all know that the Human Being is in constant evolution, just as we know that this same evolution dictates the development of everything with which we are involved. So it is in culture, in art and in all aspects of human life. In architecture it couldn't be different and, to me, architecture is evolution and adaptation, respecting the past, being inspired by the present and adapted to the environment that surrounds it.

We can start from the basic need to build a shelter, where architecture is a physical structure, which allows housing, a basic need of the Human Being. This structure comes from a process in which the bodily and mental reactions that architecture itself can provoke are taken into account. But above all, and respecting the historical, cultural and evolutionary legacy of the Human himself, architecture is the result of research, dialogue, dedication and participation, with a commitment to the traditions and culture of the places from the beginning.

This encounter between the present and the heritage, between evolution and adaptation is extremely exciting and what inspires me the most - following the change in the evolution of the Human Being and the environment that supports it. This meeting also involves the planning of the city, to satisfy Human needs, even knowing that it will imply a constant reformulation of the space and, sometimes, a different amount of resources and technology. It inspires me that architecture does not translate only into mere construction, but rather into the experience of the object that has a certain intention and purpose, and which, in addition, arouses emotions, through its plastic character.

This question leads us to look at architecture a little further. As an art and science, architecture cannot abdicate issues such as well-being in the architectural environment, as well as concerns for human needs in favor of aesthetics.

An excellent example is Casa no Castanheiro, by João Mendes Ribeiro. A project that was born for an experience of isolation and rest, in the authenticity of nature. A refuge to rest and recharge through the proximity to natural elements.

Many other architects are, for me, an inspiration, because they combine, in a different way, and each one with their own vision, the legacy of the past with the adaptation to the present, respecting all the spatial cohesion and Human needs, but with a marked artistic signature. If in Dom Hans Van der Laan we can see a very unique method of work and way of designing, geometric and raw, we see in the Portuguese Álvaro Siza Vieira and Aires Mateus, a similar geometry, but with a more current look and more fluid silhouettes. In architects like Francis Keré, and through a markedly social aspect, we see a very different adaptation to the environment, with an important focus on the end user of the space, who plays an active role throughout the process, participating in the construction itself, as people are taught to build and be part of the architecture, using local materials and techniques, and contributing to the sustainability of the entire process.

It is in the entire creation process that architecture stands out. In dialogue, in history, in drawing, in design and, finally, in construction. The beauty of architecture is found in this union between respect for the past, evolution from the present, and adaptation to all the legacy that we find in the space.


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