A friend pointed me in the direction of BOMB Magazine earlier this year, because of a collection of great interviews with three award winning South American architects and an ex-mayor, Paulo Mendes da Rocha Smiljan Radic, Sergio Fajardo and Giancarlo Mazzanti, published in BOMB’s Winter issue over the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 respectively. I had never heard of BOMB Magazine before, but this was a great introduction. Further perusal of the site showed it to be a wonderful resource, particularly for in depth interviews with a wide variety of artists, designers and taste makers.
A couple of passages from the three pieces
Paulo Mendes da Rocha in response to a question about the role of technique in architecture says “As far as I am concerned, the thing to do is to head off any kind of disaster. Architecture has a huge responsibility regarding calculations; it is mostly not how to do something, but how to stop from doing the norm.
, “In the restaurant, the granite rocks are themselves the structural support of a building that lays on top of them, almost in a casual fashion…The choice of these mountainous granite rocks, their shipment to the site, and their incorporation into the project through both calculation and direct manipulation are now part of the history of the building. It’s a history that we own as direct fabricators, and that allows us to acquire a knowledge that is difficult to obtain though any other means.”
Sergio Fajardo discussing the way in which the administration of Giancarlo Mazzanti attempted to use architecture as a tool of rupture, in order to repair the social and urban fabric of contemporary Medellín explains, “That is something that is often misunderstood here. Underneath it all is the most important word in all of those urban interventions in which architecture plays an important role: dignity.” However, such work doesn’t come easy, Fajardo notes that these projects were based around the idea of community participation in decision making, which necessitated him visiting “the Parque Biblioteca 700 times before it opened!”