Un dialog cu Daniel și Maximilian ZIELINSKI, parteneri la firma Foster+Partners, realizat de Ileana TUREANU
Foster+Partners este, pentru noi, o universitate în care studentul este profesor și profesorul este student.
Ileana Tureanu: Ne place sau nu, acceptăm sau nu, anul 2020 ne propulsează într-o lume nouă. Lumea post-Covid ar trebui să însemne „noi, noi, noi” și nu „eu, eu, eu”, a spus Norman Foster, într-un discurs de bilanț al companiei, care-mi pare vizionar. Ce înseamnă pentru voi, arhitecți și parteneri la Foster+Partners, această nouă filosofie de viață?
D&M. Zielinski: Ne aflăm într-o perioadă de mari încercări, însă și de oportunități neașteptate. Pentru noi, acest discurs reprezintă normalul. Obișnuința face ca lumea să ni se adreseze la plural și, de multe ori, suntem abordați împreună. De aceea, răspunsul începe, întotdeauna, cu „noi”.
Fiind doi, am învățat ce înseamnă lucrul în echipă. Am încercat multă vreme să facem totul diferit și individual însă, de fapt, mergeam în aceeași direcție.
La Foster+Partners, suntem 700 de arhitecți și încă pe atâția experți care ne completează în multe alte domenii: experți în cercetare, teorie, construcții, dezvoltare, sustenabilitate, urbanism, peisagistică, antropologie, inginerie pentru toate specialitățile, design interior, design de produs, comunicare vizuală, machetare, printare, marketing, editare, publicații, licitații și multe altele.
Implicarea întregii orchestre, așa cum o numim noi, ne ajută să găsim soluția potrivită, indiferent de complexitatea temei.
Biroul Foster+Partners este clădit pe principiul unei comunități, iar din anul 2014, compania aparține, din nou, în întregime partenerilor. Rezultatele sunt evidente, biroul având, în ultimii ani, un succes extraordinar, demonstrat de lucrările finalizate, cât și de nenumăratele premii dobândite - AJ100 International Practice Award, BD Most Admired Architect - 9 ani consecutivi, Stirling Prize și multe altele.
Într-un discurs recent, Norman ne spunea că este foarte optimist și că, în istorie, momentele de cumpănă au adus, cu ele, o accelerare în evoluția omenirii. Acest progres se manifestă în toate domeniile, plecând de la modul în care interacționăm și comunicăm, modul în care privim și respectăm mediul înconjurător, dar și arhitectura și elementele asupra cărora avem o influență directă.
Încă de la începutul pandemiei, Foster+Partners s-a implicat în numeroase programe menite să sprijine comunitatea. Inițiativele noastre au răspuns la necesitățile biroului și colegilor, la necesitățile sociale ale comunității, la cerințe medicale, viziune arhitecturală și leadership. Am organizat numeroase evenimente, cursuri și workshopuri pentru a menține angajații conectați și implicați. În plus, am proiectat și fabricat mai mult de 40.000 de viziere refolosibile pentru spitalele din Londra.
Demonstrând responsabilitate socială și continuând un an de succes, biroul a înapoiat guvernului Angliei 500.000 GBP, bani primiți ca ajutor pentru angajații (în jur de 70) care nu și-au putut desfășura activitatea din cauza pandemiei.
Multe lucruri nu s-au schimbat și rămân, în continuare, priorități în politica biroului. Foster+Partners a promovat, în toți anii săi de existență, sustenabilitatea.
În 2019, F+P s-a angajat ca până în 2030 clădirile în care ne implicăm să fie „carbon neutral”.
De asemeni, F+P a plantat peste 100.000 de copaci pentru a compensa amprenta de carbon a biroului.
(A dialogue between Ileana Tureanu and Daniel and Maximilian Zielinski, partners of the companyFoster+Partners)
· The company Foster+Partners is, in our opinion, a university where the student is a professorand the professor is a student
Ileana Tureanu: 2020 has driven us in a different world, whether we like it or not or we accept it or not. The post-Covid world should mean ”we, we, we”, not ”me, me, me”, said Norman Foster in a speech on the survey of his company, which I find visionary. What does this life philosophy mean to you, architects and partners of the company Foster+Partners?
D&M. Zielinski: We are living in a time of big trials, but also unexpected opportunities. We find this speech normal. People generally use the plural form when talking with us and, sometimes, we are considered as one. That is why the answer always starts by ”we”.
Being two, we have learned the spirit of team work. We tried for long to act differently and individually, but we were actually going in the same direction. We are 700 architects working at the company Foster+Partners, as well as a similar number of experts supporting us in many other fields: experts in research, theory, constructions, development, sustainability, urban planning, landscape design, anthropology, engineering for all specialties, interior design, product design, visual communication, architecture modeling, printing, marketing, editing, publications, auctions and many others. The involvement of the whole orchestra, as we call it, helps us find the proper solution, despite the complexity of the theme.
The practice Foster+Partners is built on a community principle and, since 2014, once again, the company has been entirely owned by partners. The results are obvious, the practice enjoying an extraordinary success, proved by the finalized projects and also by the countless awards - AJ100 International Practice Award, BD Most Admired Architect – for 9 consecutive years, Stirling Prize and many others.
In a recent speech, Norman told us that he was very optimistic and that, all along history, the moments of greatest need had brought about an acceleration in the evolution of mankind. The progress impacted on all fields, the way of interaction and communication, the way we approach and respect environment, architecture and the elements we directly influence.
From the very beginning of the pandemic, the company Foster+Partners got involved in many programs in support of the community. Our initiatives responded to the needs of our office and our colleagues, the social demands of the community, medical requirements, architectural vision and leadership. We organized a lot of events, courses and workshops to keep employees connected and involved. Moreover, we designed and produced over 40,000 reusable eye shields for the hospitals in London.
As proof of social responsibility and continuing a successful year, the practice returned 500,000 GBP to the British Government, paid as aid for the around 70 employees who could not carry out their activity because of the pandemic.
Many things have not changed and are still priorities in the strategy of the company. The practiceFoster+Partners has promoted sustainability all along its existence. In 2019, the company Foster+Partnerspledged to design”carbon neutral” buildings by 2030.
The company Foster+Partners has also planted 100,000 trees to compensate the carbon print of the office.
· We all have something to learn from each other
I. Tureanu: How could two architect-students from the Bucharest ”Ion Mincu” Faculty of Architecture become partners of one of the greatest and most creative companies in the world, based in London?
D&M. Zielinski: It is a long story. It is about passion, perseverance and a bit of luck. We have been doing what we like, with extreme determination, since the time we were students at the ”Ion Mincu” Faculty. There are just a few shortcuts in architecture. Besides the so-called”talent”, a solid training and a lot of work are required to acquire the necessary knowledge and experience.
Being passionate about your work makes you ever better. It is similar to the workout of a high-performance sportsman, which is also valid for any profession. My high school sports teacher would wisely say that”95% of football is running and the rest is talent”.
I. Tureanu: Is Lord Norman Foster concerned about the integration of new graduates in the company? Does he give weight to their physical contact with the company headquarters? What was your experience in this regard?
D&M. Zielinski: The employees are the most important asset of the company. The young architects and the architects in the making join the company full of energy and bring a fresh breath of air to the whole community.
They are traditionally trained for a week in the work culture of the company Foster+Partners, deepening the programs they will use in their work. This process, well organized, gives graduates the chance to know the whole team.
In the pandemic, the video-conference interview and the full work online makes their team integration more difficult. Despite the good functioning of the procedure, the absence of direct relationship and personal acquaintance makes our young colleagues feel more reticent in approaching experienced coworkers.
By way of compensation, we organize daily meetings with the whole team to discuss about the progress and problems of each of us. At a higher scale, we organize social events and training courses to bring us together.
All these measures cannot replace personal meetings. We are used to work in a team and to gather frequently around the models and the presentation areas to draw sketches together. Graduates generally have the most to learn and to benefit from this process.
The Graduate Show is a yearly event allowing new graduates to present their graduation projects in front of Norman and the whole team. It is a celebration of the new comers and an opportunity for them to know the whole office team. In 2009, we enjoyed this experience too. It was a special moment for us. Norman was very impressed by our project, so that, at the end of the presentations, he returned with his wife Elena to show it to her.
Open House is another event when the practice opens its doors to the entire world.
For three days, everybody is welcome to discover, experiment, create and ”play” in the company.
There has also been a traineeship program for several years, enabling several young people to study architecture in the company. The program allows them to study and work at the same time.
In our opinion, Foster+Partners is a great University where the student is a professor and the professor is a student. We all have something to learn from each other.
· We came to London for a year. Yet 12 years have already passed
I. Tureanu: Starting your career on your own or being integrated with a big company is the dilemma of any graduate, who needs to choose between keeping his enthusiasm and creativity and doing an internship to gain experience. Did you think it over?
D&M. Zielinski: The answer to this question is rather nuanced. It is the existential question for a young graduate. An internship is certainly necessary for a graduate, if only to get his practice license. Although the university studies can provide them with a good training, they are not fit for all professional challenges.
We have always wanted to start our own practice or to carry forward the one of our parents. Belonging to a family of architects who are a model for us in our life and career could explain such a view. It is also a general trend in Romania to set up your own practice, as opportunities can sometimes be better.
Circumstances are different in Germany, Switzerland or United Kingdom, where we studied and worked. Graduates are encouraged to start their career in a company and build up their skills first. This goes even further in the United Kingdom and a lot of mentors do not recommend setting up a practice to most of them.
As to us, we wanted to understand the way an international successful company works. To that end, we made a year-long traineeship in the Herzog & de Meuron company in Switzerland (considered to be the best architectural practice in the world), then, after graduation, we joined the company Foster+Partners in London.
We had a clear goal when reaching London – to stay there for a year. Yet, a year became 2 and then 12...
The opportunities we enjoyed in this company are probably unparalleled. We have accumulated an extremely various experience, encompassing furniture design, interior design, single family houses and projects of different sizes, functions and complexity, projects covering hundreds of thousands of square meters, master plans and towns. We have evolved all along and we have become more creative and, maybe, more ambitious.
We enjoy an incredible creative freedom in this team. Most of our projects are absolutely one-of-the-kind, but, to preserve confidentiality, we will be able to show them in just a few years' time. Even the faculty topics were not so interesting.
There are opportunities and satisfactions both in a big team and as self-employed.
- „Don’t move, improve”.
I. Tureanu: Urban development and architecture have always been connected to health. The urban public utilities in London could not have been developed so fast without the 19th century cholera epidemic. The need for green spaces in New York would not have been raised without the tuberculosis outbreak. Norman Foster stated that problems had never been caused by big crises. They are only exacerbated and accelerated by major disasters. What problems are apparently highlighted by the Covid pandemic?
D&M. Zielinski: Many problems are already obvious and others will certainly be revealed by the pandemic. The world is changing and the pandemic is accelerating this process.
On an urban scale, the most important progress along history has probably been the implementation of a new legislation and the redesign of infrastructure, changes that were brought about by major crises.
The 1666 great fire in London has completely changed the face of the city, turning it into a stone and brick city. The 1850s cholera and typhoid fever outbreak led to the building of the sewerage system, designed by engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette, which helped cleaning up the Thames. Ford and Benz revolutionized transport, but also contributed to the sanitation of streets and public space, drowned in horse manure, which had become unbearable. The 1952 Great Smog led to the move away from coal fires to gas. Coal has recently been replaced by alternative energy in Beijing, as the air pollution had exceeded any health norm. A current change is required by the fire of the Grenfell tower, which led to the modification of the fire safety norms of façades. The modification concerns both new and old buildings, which need to be improved and properly certified.
Day after day, we see the evolution and change of our way of living, working, travelling and moving through cities, the transformation of public space and the access to green spaces.
Private space is becoming increasingly important. There will be further requirements for the quality of living, such as the need to have access to outside spaces – terraces, loggias and common areas – gardens, playgrounds etc. The shops „DIY” and „Home Improvement”, which multiplied under the motto „Don’t move, improve”, are a good example in this respect.
There is also an increasing need to have all daily life necessary facilities close to house. Green spaces, recreational and sports areas, commercial zones, kindergartens, schools, public facilities etc. have suddenly become increasingly important. The segregation of living areas, commercial zones (malls), office areas and industrial parks is already an outdated pattern. Their integration into a city or neighbourhood model which is easily accessible by walking or cycling is much more attractive.
Maximizing green spaces and limiting the spaces dedicated to transport have become a priority. Transport and mobility will undergo accelerated transformations.
We got used to the luxury of travelling anytime and anyhow, without being concerned about the implications on the environment. The pandemic shows us that there are also other means of transport and that certain moves, especially for going to work, can be replaced by virtual meetings.
The office space is continuously evolving and the workplace model with a very high density of employees is replaced by an environment which is primarily concerned about the health and welfare of its customers. The successful IT companies, such as Apple and Bloomberg, have a deep understanding of their employeesʹ needs. The culture of the company, the working environment and the variety of benefits are paramount in attracting the best employees.
In a changing world, where working from home has become reality, offices will have to offer a more creative and stimulating environment that the one at home, which should be able to promote informal social interaction and encourage mutual learning. Offices will become agreeable spaces containing vegetation and natural materials - as an expression of”biophilia”-, natural ventilation and lighting.
· Revolutionary office buildings
I. Tureanu: ”Healthy” architecture we are considering today has been a concern for Norman Foster since the 1970s. He is a visionary. An arch over time of nearly half century starts with the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts and goes on with the headquarters buildings of Bloomberg in London and Apple in California.
What is your private experience related to this approach to architecture?
D&M. Zielinski: The strategy of the company has always been to promote a healthy architecture for the benefit of its users.
Our key interest when starting a project is always to find the most sustainable and efficient solution.
Healthy architecture in the company F+P has started with the first projects dating back to over 50 years, when the sustainable term did not exist. The concept of „green architecture” which appeared in the 1970s referred to escaping into nature and being aware of its fragility. The regional planning of La Gomera Island included, even at that time, all elements of sustainable architecture – solar panels, wind power, batteries under the floor, toilet connected to the composting unit/plant.
The Vestby project from the suburbs of the city of Oslo dates back to the same period and, in some respects, it is the forerunner of the Apple Park project. Its integration into nature, its proximity to nature, the pedestrian access keeping vehicles afar, natural ventilation and solar mirror lighting are just a few resemblances with the Apple Park project.
The need to evaluate and certify the sustainability of buildings appeared only in 1990. Nowadays, there are dozens of certification systems: the oldest one is BREEAM (UK) and the most frequent one is LEED (US). Most of the systems, including LEED, measure the energy consumption of a building and its carbon dioxide emissions during operation, without quantifying the construction effort. All certification systems do not take into account the users of the buildings.
The team of the company Foster+Partners, specialized in Environmental Design & Sustainability, has developed an internal strategy of quantifying the sustainability of a building, which also includes the health and wellbeing of the user, being thus more stringent than any other certification system. Its vision is to create ”restorative” constructions, able to be built from recycled or renewable materials and produce more energy than they consume, in order to support the building stock already constructed.
The buildings which embody this vision are the Bloomberg headquarters and Apple Park.
The Bloomberg headquarters achieved the highest BREEAM rating for an office building, reaching a percentage of 99.1%. Mike Bloomberg jokingly asked ”what happened to the rest until 100%?”.
The building joins functionality and esthetic and creates stimulating spaces by their comfort and also by the spatial and visual experience. The vortex unifying all the floors plays the role of public space and also fireplace naturally ventilating the space.
The ceilings, with their unique and futuristic shape, provide energetic efficiency. Moreover, their role is mainly to support the health of the building’s occupants, as they integrate acoustics, light and also the cooled water controlling the temperature of the space.
Apple Park is located in a part of the world which is favoured by its mild temperate climate. The nice temperatures in Silicon Valley allow an outdoor lifestyle, in the open, close to nature that needs to be rediscovered. The building replaces 24 constructions disposed on the field and its compact and efficient volumetry makes room to a huge park with over 9,000 trees.
Apple Park, similarly to the Bloomberg headquarters, combines functionality and esthetic. An example of integrated design is the glass brise-soleil shading the area of interior circulation adjacent to the façade and also reflecting the light and bringing it deep inside the building. A subtle detail at the low part controls the fresh air flow in the building, also creating a light curve.
The finishing elements are simple, but the nobleness of the building is provided by its extraordinary quality and the unparallel precision of the built elements. The cooling and heating are made through the floor and ceilings, thus increasing the welfare and comfort of the occupants. The comparison with a spaceship that has just landed, as the building is often described in the press, is due not only to its appearance, but also to its functioning independently of the network.
· Steve Jobs wanted Apple Park to respect the genius loci
I. Tureanu: What is the connection between innovation and tradition when you address a new topic, in terms of healthy architecture?
D&M. Zielinski: It greatly depends on the topic, all projects being rooted in the past by the experience accumulated along the years, the geographic, geotechnical or climatic local specificities and the analysis of culture and local traditions.
The correlation between tradition and innovation can be compared to a pyramid with tradition at the bottom, represented by passive methods, such as form and orientation, and modern active technologies at the top. Research and a close collaboration with producers and constructors allow us to succeed quite often in developing and implementing new innovative technologies which attract state subsidies.
The view on urban space and its regeneration is frequently included in the approach of the projects we develop.
The public domain, the unbuilt space, formed of parks, green areas, boulevards, streets, pedestrian areas, squares and piazzas could probably have the strongest impact on the wellbeing of people.
The Bloomberg headquarters project is influenced by the history of the site. Wattling Street, a Roman street that disappeared in time, has been recreated to remake the connection between the urban spaces, which can also be found in the interior. The cafeteria in the Bloomberg headquarters, a large space, is meant to gather all employees in a single place.
Trafalgar Square has undergone an extraordinary transformation in 2003, when the area has been turned into a pedestrian zone where art has always had its place and importance.
Steve Jobs wanted Apple Park to respect the past and genius loci, Silicon Valley being known, in the 1950s, as „the fruit bowl of America”. Thanks to a very large site, the project was able to recreate partially the original landscape, containing fruit tree orchards and the typically Californian vegetation formed of high herbs and old oak trees.
The new Apple shops subtly combine tradition and innovation. They stand for the pinnacle of technology and construction, but their integration in the historic context and the selection of natural materials lend them an air of permanence and steadiness.
They are able to influence entire areas by the urban intervention, the restoration and improvement of the public space. Edifying examples in this regard are the projects Apple Piazza Liberty in Milan, Michigan Avenue in Chicago and 5th Avenue in New York, Max having worked for the latter.
I. Tureanu: Norman Foster has created joint projects with Buckminster Fuller, another visionary of the 20th century. Today, he is collaborating with Joseph Allen, the co-author of the book Healthy Buildings. To what extent are you involved in foreshadowing the future of the planet?
D&M. Zielinski: The common ground which connects Buckminster Fuller, Norman Foster and Joseph Allen is their interest for science and research, thanks to which they help changing the world.
Buckminster Fuller resorts to moral consciousness, always referring to the fragility of the planet and man’s responsibility to protect it. This line of thinking relies on the performance and efficiency of buildings and on the principle of ”doing more with less”. Hence the famous question: ”how does your building weigh, Mr. Foster?”, referring to the Sainsbury Center, an innovative and efficient building.
The researcher Joseph Allen is interested in the efficiency of buildings and their impact on the occupants. He conducts a number of cognitive tests at Harvard University over 3 or 4 years. The tests are held in controlled environments, where the supply of air and its quality changes. The outcomes are remarkable, showing that an exemplary high-performance building improves considerably people’s cognitive functioning. The increase of the cognitive performance is 25%-30% higher than that of a conventional building’s occupants.
It is not a singular study. Many other scientific researches examine the comfort and performance of employers. The ”sick building syndrome” has been noticed as early as the 1970s-1980s, being caused by the quality of provided air inside the buildings and the degradation of filters and leading to the frequent illness of the building’s occupants.
Carnegie Mellon University has been conducting an important study as early as 2004
(Carnegie Mellon University E-Bids Project - CBPD/ABSIC BIDSTM), reaching the conclusion that a building with natural ventilation has increased the employeesʹ productivity with an average of 8, 5%. It is an overwhelming figure which brings substantial commercial advantages.
The most important criterion of a healthy architecture is an overall view on people’s needs, while protecting the planet’s future. The buildings we design aim to achieve a balance between esthetic and performance.
The visual stimulation by spatiality, design and materiality coupled with the thermal stimulation by the change of temperature create a sensation of pleasure. This psycho-physiological phenomenon is called alliesthesia, which can be noticed by a high blood circulation in the brain.
Nowadays, improving the energy efficiency of buildings by lowering energetic consumption and reducing carbon emissions has become everybodyʹ s concern. Our current projects go even further, encompassing the analysis and quantification of the energy required to build them. The construction process accounts for a high percentage of the carbon emissions in the life of a building.
Our specialists have thus developed a system which is able to measure the energy required for the edification of a building and the carbon emissions released during the process. Structure, façade, services, planning, operations, energy and transport are calculated and monitored all along the project. This program allows us to create more energy efficient buildings from the first stages of the project and brings us closer to the goal to develop neutral, even carbon negative buildings.
· Collaboration in persona cannot be replaced, on long term
I. Tureanu: What is the importance of socialization at work? Is it more efficient to work from home? Statistical data show that your company has thrived during the pandemic and has been permanently present in the media and the on-line environment with its researches, experiences and pursuits.
D&M. Zielinski: We have been facing a difficult period. The practice Foster+Partners has had a constant demand of services during the pandemic, thanks to the variety of the portfolio and its locations all over the world.
Customers always rely on the most experienced in difficult times. Our expertsʹ knowledge of science, technology, urban planning, anthropology, transport, structural engineering, environmental engineering, sustainability and job consulting support innovation and are a guarantee for the customer. The success of the company is entirely due to its people and their dedication.
We miss the culture promoted in the practice and the direct way of socialization and face-to-face collaboration.
We managed to anticipate the precaution measures imposed by the Government in March and to adjust to circumstances.
Working mainly from home has raised many challenges, but a well developed system, passionate trustful people and communication techniques allowed us to accomplish our tasks and to deliver according to expectations.
Working from home allows more flexibility, but there is no substitute for the collaboration in persona on long term.
We have taken all possible measures to facilitate the safe return to the office and, hopefully, we will be able to revert to normal as soon as possible.
We also have a group of very gifted Romanians in our company, who contribute to its success. Among them are: Paul Cristian, whom we have known since we were studying together in Stuttgart, Petru Drăgoiu, Octavian Gheorghiu, Cristi Giura, Maria-Cristina Bănceanu, Corina Fodor, Petrică Butușina, Flavian Berar, Victor Moldovan, Radu Boeriu.
I. Tureanu: Is it true that we see a lower interest of young people in using cars and a higher concern for car-sharing, electric propulsion etc. How do you circulate?
D&M. Zielinski: Mobility and transport, in general, are two fields in full transformation.
The wish for comfort and also the measures imposed to reduce pollution led to calling into question cars and their use. Cities like London enjoy a very good connectivity. It is easy to reach any area of the metropolis by a very well organised public transport network. Cars can be rented on short term and are available at every street corner, while bicycles and electric scooters can be rented for short travels. Living without a private car is perfectly possible. The costs of maintenance, taxes, insurance, parking etc. required by a private car lead to many peopleʹ s being discouraged to have a private car. Moreover, even the satellite towns of London are well connected to the main railway stations.
The network of cycle lanes is extended every year and the space dedicated to vehicles is limited. Stricter restrictions for CO2 emissions lead to an acceleration of the transition to electric cars. Many European countries will forbid the sales of internal combustion engine vehicles as from 2025, as is the case with Norway.
The diagram below shows a prognosis of the mobility transformation in the United States in the following decades. Future will confirm these trends, but the possibility to have autonomous cars playing the role of current taxis is drawing near.
Walking, cycling or even running is our way of moving. We have private cars which, today, still allow an unparallel mobility freedom – especially for trips in the country.
I. Tureanu: What issues would you propose to your colleagues in Romania? What are the study and interest directions they should follow in order to play a role in international dialogue?
D&M. Zielinski: There are plenty of opportunities today, as borders are no longer an obstacle. A clear proof is that 90% of our company’s projects are outside United Kingdom.
First of all, it is essential to promote Romanian architecture abroad. The „Ion Mincu” University, for example, is very active in creating close connections with prestigious worldwide universities.
Promoting current topics would gain more international attention: protection of urban and rural heritage, urban regeneration, rehabilitation of residential buildings, conversion of industrial buildings, sustainable developments and use of local and ecologic materials are just some topics of interest. We have noticed an increased trend of using wood as a construction material not only with a decorative function, but also for structural purposes.
A larger number of buildings use processed wood like glulam or similar. Buildings of this kind reach, for now, an 18 storey height, in North America and Northern Europe.
Romania has rich wood resources and, if exploited responsibly, they can be a continuous material source. Wood is a regenerative and sustainable material and its use in constructions is considered a future alternative to current methods of mass construction.
· Architecture depends on demand
I. Tureanu: You travel a lot. What is the geographic zone which drew your attention in terms of the architectural quality promoted?
D&M. Zielinski: We travelled only when it was necessary.
We reached many parts of the world for our projects, America, Asia, Middle East, Australia and, of course, large areas of Europe.
We were impressed by Hainan, in Southern China. We deal with electric mobility, while over there, electric scooters and even electric cars made locally are the main transport means.
Another truly special place is Saudi Arabia. Max had the chance to visit uncommon places that few people have ever reached, from abandoned islands, deserted mountainous and volcanic areas to vestiges recently open to tourism.
I. Tureanu: What is your opinion about contemporary Romanian architects and architecture?
D&M. Zielinski: We are closely connected to present-day architecture in Romania and especially in Bucharest.
We still believe that many of our Romanian colleagues are excellent professionals.
Architecture depends on demand to a big extent and customersʹ requirements have changed over the years – most of the times for the better. This change leads to opportunities and an increased of architectural quality. We were honoured to develop several projects next to our parentsʹ practice, in which our customer had a significant involvement. Hopefully, we will be able to show them to you in the future.
We still notice there are a small number of public programs or significant programs without any speculative role. We hope that steady efforts will lead to the improvement of the situation.
I. Tureanu: You are used to work on long term. What plans do you have for the next 10 years?
D&M. Zielinski: We had worked for the Apple headquarters in California nearly 3 years, preserving confidentiality, and even many more before we could publish photos of the finalized building. As architects, we always work for the future.
We hope to be soon able to feel also proud of our beautiful projects in Romania.