PORTUGAL - Teresa Novais and Jorge Carvalho of aNC in Porto talk about their experiences with Pritzker Prize winners, architectural education and the conditions of architecture in Portugal, and elsewhere.
aNC arquitectos was founded in 1991 in Porto by Teresa Novais (b.1962) and Jorge Carvalho (b.1964), both graduates of the Faculty of Architecture in Porto. Their work was nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award 2011, won the P.A.U.M.A. Award 2006, and was awarded the silver medal in the European Architecture Award 'Luigi Consenza' 2002. Teresa Novais teaches Design Studio at the Architecture and Arts Faculty of Lusíada University in Porto. Jorge Carvalho is Guest Professor of Construction at Coimbra University. Teresa Novais was president of the Ordem dos Arquitectos – SRN (Association of Portuguese Architects – North) from 2008 – 2010.
Hans Ibelings: You've worked with a range of Pritzker Prize winners: Álvaro Siza, Norman Foster and Eduardo Souto Moura, with Rem Koolhaas as the local architects for the Casa da Musica, and also with David Chipperfield, who is a not unlikely candidate for a future award. Do these architects have something in common?
Jorge Carvalho: With all those architects you mentioned, everything, all aspects, all scales of the project and all scales of thought are taken to the limit. Without compromise. That's what they share. They all feel free to judge the world they are working in, the conditions of the project, the available options. All this is connected. So taking everything to the limit, and always assuming the freedom to do so, seem to be common characteristics.
Teresa Novais: We usually say to our students that what our experiences over the years have taught us, is that these architects are extremely persistent and they never deviate from their chosen path. There are no special tricks; architecture is always very difficult and it is as difficult for these top architects as it is for anyone else. The only difference is that they never give up their aesthetic and ethical positions and they always manage to find a positive aspect to difficult things. They push the client, the contractor, the people who work with them to the limit all the time. Architecture in the end requires a huge amount of work and determination. It has nothing to do with management and all that sort of thing. That's important, of course, but what really matters is persistence when it comes to the creative process.
Architecture, Design, Interior, Theory