On Balance by Juan Fernando Lopez & Alejandra Alvarez-Icaza
Giuseppe Zampieri, partner at David Chipperfield Architects and founder of the Milan office, gives us his thoughts on architecture’s call for adaptability, curiosity, and inquisitiveness in a thought-provoking discussion centered around balance.
Becoming an architect is often the result of a curiosity, or calling, to discover and improve upon our built environment. In our conversation with Architect Zampieri, we opened with a question about obsessions – that which is what fuels an architect to keep uncovering their passions and turning them into spaces for our world to use. Though those obsessions are prevalent, especially early in an architect’s career, Zampieri tells us of the freedom a designer has when releasing themselves of these initial interests, and in tandem, the need for an architect to break from their usual interests and style in order to become adaptable to the world’s ever changing needs.
In a time when considering the conditions of our natural world is paramount to the conception of new architecture, Zampieri speaks on what it means to design at David Chipperfield Architects. Projects from the studio cannot, and should not, be defined by a style, he tells us. Instead, he considers the studio to be defined more by a mode of thinking – one that is coherent, clear, and concise. This clarity gives projects the breathing room to mold to the client’s and studio’s expectations for the resulting architecture and its mark on our world.
When touring the Procuratie Vecchie, a carefully elegant intervention along Piazza San Marco in Venice, we noticed an integration of concept that oscillates across various scales. The understanding of the project at the macro level in its relationship to the city’s main piazza was just as clear as the reinterpretation of vernacular construction methods at the scale of a detail. Zampieri traces this coherence back to the idea of liberating oneself of pre-defined constraints that stem from personal obsessions. He asks, “what is the big picture, and what is the small picture?” as an invitation to constantly argue and revise yourself.
"Try to find a way to be inspired by what we do."
Giuseppe Zampieri tells us that the best fuel for every architect, especially those young ones beginning their professional path, is finding a way to always be inspired by what we do. His advice is to listen, pay attention to what the environment is telling us, the built context, the people. Creating balance, a way to go forward, to be obsessed and not obsessed at the same time. In this evolution and learning process, with a context of variable conditions, the only constant is the confrontation with individual and collective ideas, memories, and thoughts about architecture.