gooood team interviews creative from all over the world. Your recommendations and suggestions are welcomed! gooood Interview NO.19 introduces Pezo Von Ellrichshausen. More: Pezo Von Ellrichshausen on gooood
出品人：向玲 Producer: Xiang Ling
编辑团队：向玲，武晨曦，陈诺嘉，鹿璐 Editor: Xiang Ling, Wu Chenxi, Chen Nuojia, Lu Lu
gooood x Pezo von Ellrichshausen
You have once said that you expect to embody value through architecture, rather than just providing solutions. Specifically, what does “value” mean here?
▼Pezo Von Ellrichshausen部分作品一览，part of the projects by Pezo Von Ellrichshausen
Sofia: We believe that the “value” of architecture lies in the quality of space, in the experience of its most architectonic dimension. Yet, in our view, the value of an architectonic space does not differ from the value of any other manmade object. Therefore, it should be understood as the direct translation of a human need. An object becomes valuable, important, meaningful for all of us, the moment it helps us to solve something we could otherwise not solve alone. In other words, a building, the same as a hammer or a telescope, is a device that helps us extend our own capacities not only to be in the world but also to wonder about it. A hammer is an extension of our arm, the telescope is an extension of our eye. Both are partial extensions. Architecture, as we would prefer to understand it, in its most ideal form, should be an extension of our whole experience of the world.
Pezo: And certainly that experience implies an awareness of our memory, of our everyday life but also of our dreams and fantasies. Thus, the value of a building has a double direction. It is relative to the ideas and emotions that someone had during its invention, while doing an architectural project, but it is also relative to the ideas and emotions of those who end up living in those very invented spaces. The production of architecture implies a certain value, an affiliation to ideologies and beliefs, but the completion of the architectonic experience, the directness of being in a manmade space, is ultimately dependent on the value system by which individuals or societies perceive it. In simple terms, a beautiful and meaningful life can happen in an ugly and generic building. In the same way, a horrible and egoist life could happen in the most sophisticated and handsome building. Of course, value is a relative term. We believe we can turn it into something more concrete and undisputable the moment we agree that the main purpose of doing architecture is to fulfill vital human needs. And in order to do that, we have to pay particular attention both to the act of fulfillment, which is not a mere answer but the very satisfaction of something, and also to what we understand by vital need. I suppose, today it seems much easier to solve quantitative problems than to satisfy a vital human need, a need that exceeds our mere biological functions.
▼体现情感的建筑，architecture with emotions
What is the role of the paintings during your design process？Usually, the hand drawings are with vibrant colors, which contrasts to the calmness of the actual appearance of the building. What lead to this kind of contrast?
Sofia: Our production is always oscillating between art and architecture, from one medium to another. We enjoy doing art through various manifestations, just shifting from one format to another almost without noticing. We read it as the reverberation of the same thing, somehow as a tautological exercise. Yet, each one of the mediums demand for a different approach, for a different range of factors and considerations. We would never confuse an architectural space with a pictorial one. While painting is flat, it is a simulacrum of space, architecture is not only three dimensional but four dimensional, since it implies movement and time, therefore it is a dynamic reality. By following certain conventions, the depiction of that elusive architectural reality can be resumed and even exaggerated within the fictional space of a picture. When we decide to do a picture in bright colors, we are using one of the basic means by which the image, the content and its values, can be constructed. There is a supporting plane that is progressively filled with lines, color fields and textures. There is nothing really spatial in that construction. The case of a building is totally different. Any room constructed in a physical reality, a little room of a house in the middle of a garden for instance, is a place already filled with a myriad of colors, tones and temperatures. Among other dimensions, the material reality of architecture is always relative to that dynamic and ever changing visual context. There is no such thing as a “void” in architecture, which is the opposite of a blank canvas, the pure abstraction, of the pictorial space. That little room will always be tinted with the green of the grass, with the blue of the morning light, with the movement of the clouds and so forth.
Pezo: If our paintings are explorations of architectonic qualities by means of form and color within the realm of an abstract space, our buildings are explorations of architectonic qualities by means of rather simple walls, floors, roofs and openings within the complex nature of a real space. If painting assumes color as an absolute attribute, buildings assume color as part of a continuous chromatic field. Since this is an inevitable fact, we tend to be more discreet in the palette and saturation of colors that we use in our buildings.
▼图画和建筑在空间构建上有着本质的不同, spaces in the sketches is totally different from those in a building
Why do you often use concrete and wood in your projects? Could you share your opinions on materials with us?
▼混凝土 – 留有人的痕迹的材料，concrete – material remains a memory of man made object
▼木材 – 留有人的痕迹的材料，wood – material remains a memory of man made object
Pezo: The technique to make a building, its construction methods and materials, are for us the most volatile factor to be articulated during the production of a project. We only test the material consistency when the spatial proposition is defined. Materials are intimately dependent on the circumstances of every case. They are relative to the weather, the tradition, the economy, the whole ecology of a place. Even the most conceptual spatial composition needs to be grounded in a material place, with a material set of principles and their consequences. We tend to use wood and concrete because we see in them an equivalent quality. Despite their obvious difference in weight, temperature and resistance, concrete and wood somehow belong to a same material nature. Of course, one is mineral and the other is vegetal, but we want to look at them as if belonging to the same sensitive lineage; to the type of matter that accumulates tiny fragments into a larger totality. We like the notion that there is a human trace embodied in the construction. Sometimes we make constructions out of liquid concrete contained into wooden moldings. It is the wood which, working as a provisional container, remains as a memory of a man made object, of a wall or a column. We are interested in that reversible condition, in the way in which concrete has to be conceived as the negative of another form, of a wooden one.
Sofia: We have studied many details for both wood and concrete constructions. They can indeed be faced as variations of the same attitude towards the material integrity of a building. As Pezo mentioned, there is an equivalent conceptual dimension; both wood and concrete can be read as a record of human labor. Yet, there is also the potential of a similar grain, texture and scale of the walls and ceilings that configure space. We are indeed interested in that soft material translation of spatial structures that otherwise might become too rigid or severe. Both wood and concrete can imprint a degree of warmth, rawness and modesty to the architectonic space.
▼混凝土和木材结合，赋予空间温暖、质朴的特点，concrete and wood imprint a degree of warmth and rawness to the space
设计是怎么开始的？从剖面，平面或者是其他方式开始？ 原始图形（方形，圆形，其他几何形）在设计的哪一步介入？你们是如何看待作品中的原始图形？ 此外，在设计中你们最重视的是哪一个要素？
How do you start a design? From plan, section or something else? In which step will the basic geometric figures (rectangles and circles etc.) be involved in your design? What is your opinion on basic geometric figures in your works? In addition, what do you think is the most important factor of design?
▼由简单的原始图形构成的作品，projects composed of original figures
▼对原始图形关系的研究，studies in relationships in original figures
↓ 外形研究，Finite Format
↓ 室内空间研究，Interior study
Sofia: There are many questions in one sentence. Starting by the last one; we do not think there a single most important factor to be considered for a project. A building is a complex reality that operates simultaneously in the world. Therefore, it is of no importance, at least for us, other than a historiographical or biographical curiosity, to know if the author decided the color of the roof before thinking about the size of a staircase. Buildings are conclusive facts. They happen at once and in a rather tacit, mute, mode. We believe that processes are irrelevant for the perception and understanding of a building. One could say that the most important factor is the door handle or the position of the toilet or the height of the building seen from the other side of the street. But all of that would be no more than a fictional narrative.
Pezo: This is a common misunderstanding; on the one hand, there is the presence of a building and, on the other, there is the representation of that presence. The project is a means, a mediation, for the reality of the building. Anyhow, I suppose that the question is trying to unveil a rather basic aspect that can be read in some floor plans of our buildings. I understand that an implicit system of proportions seems apparent. Of course, on a plan you can read squares, rectangles, circles, etc. In the experience of a building the figures are less evident. Yet, if there is a geometrical obsession in our work, it is definitely not a projective or analytic one. We are interested in what is generally known as topological geometry, which is a system of relationships in space. In other words, for us it is not so relevant to discuss if the shape of a room is a square, a circle or a triangle in plan. We spend more time discussing the direction and size of that room, and the way it is part of a spatial sequence together with other rooms of specific sizes and directions. We are really not interested in figures but in relationships.
▼关注原始图形之间及其与空间的关系，而非图形本身，focus on relationships, not figures
不少作品（Poli House, Rode House等）中的交通空间和卫浴厨房等功能空间被紧凑地限定在等宽的两面墙之间，为什么你们喜欢这样处理这些空间？同时请谈一谈你们对墙的看法。
In many of your projects, like Poli House and Rode House, circulations and bathrooms are placed in the slim space confined by two walls. Why do you arrange these spaces in such a way? What is the role of walls in the building and how do you treat with them？
▼功能空间被限制在两面墙之间，plan of Rode House, which auxiliary functions are restricted between two paralleled walls
Sofia: This is one of our architectonic discoveries. It is what we have labeled the “inhabitable wall”. It consists of an exaggeratedly thick wall, technically composed of two parallel walls, which contains small spaces for auxiliary functions such as circulation, storage, kitchen, bath, toilet, etc. These spaces in between are meant to “hide” those functions from the structural sequences of spaces. They are lateral to the perception of spaces for living, for permanence, such as living rooms, bedrooms or dinning rooms. Of course, temporality in architecture is another relative term. A dinning room could be as temporary as a washroom. Yet, in many of our buildings we make a clear distinction between those spaces that allow for a collective experience and those that can be reduced to its minimum size, to the smallest dimension in relation to the human body, which can eventually be so tight that can be inserted into the thickness of a wall.
Pezo: The inhabited wall is an architectonic device that allows us to frame the spatial sequences within a more abstract logic. By eliminating the explicit domesticity of a house, by hiding functions, we can explore the formal attributes of the room and of the sequences of rooms. We are interested in measuring the balance of the openings, the proportions, the temperature of light, the weight of elements, the scale. And also how those qualities, how those qualities alone, without functional noise, affect our experience of the place.
▼不受功能空间干扰的场所体验，space experience without functional noise
What are your strategies in fenestration?
Pezo: There are as many strategies as projects we have developed. Every building is defined by its own principles, by its own internal rules. We don’t have a compositional rule that could be applied indistinctly to all the cases. We normally work with rather basic proportions, ratio 1:1 or 1:2. This allows us to see beyond the figure itself, to be able to understand the specific relationship that the opening on a wall, the opening on a floor or the opening on a roof is promoting. In our view, there is no need for expressivity in that figure. Instead, we use the most ancient and familiar forms for openings. There is no invention there. What matters for us lies in the interaction that occurs from one side to the other of the aperture, in the transition, in the transference of one spatial quality to another. Therefore, every case establishes a unique interaction, sometimes through a repetitive interval, sometimes by means of an irregular one.
▼使用最古老常见的开窗形式，不同项目采取不同的开窗策略，various fenestration strategies in different projects, using the most ancient and familiar forms
↓ Fosc住宅，Fosc House ©Cristobal Palma
↓ Gago住宅，Gago House ©Cristobal Palma
You have done quite a lot residential projects. If possible, what type of architectural project do you want to challenge the most and why?
▼Pezo von Ellrichshausen的部分住宅项目，谨慎处理与环境的关系，part of Pezo von Ellrichshausen’s residential practice, being responsible to the environment
↓ Poli住宅（左）©Cristobal Palma / Arco住宅（右）©Cristobal Palma / Guna住宅（下）©Pezo von Ellrichshausen
Poli House (upper left) ©Cristobal Palma / Arco House (upper right) ©Cristobal Palma / Guna House (below) ©Pezo von Ellrichshausen
Sofia: We believe there is an enormous challenge in residential architecture. Houses are for us the most elemental form of architecture. Architecture is a place to live, to live well. So we work under the conviction that a house is not a mere functional response to a biological need, to be protected from the elements, but an instrument to intensify our being in the world. In our view, a house is an existential device, a form of mirror that reflects our human condition. As human beings, we have a wide range of unquantifiable requirements to fulfill. We have memories, emotions, dreams, fears, desires, etc. A house can be an extension of those requirements.
Pezo: We would like to keep exploring this intimate scale. There is a tendency to think that architects need to grow their practices by enlarging the size of the buildings they do and, as a consequence, to enlarge the size of the offices they need to solve those huge and hyper regulated buildings. In most of the cases, that growth is merely bureaucratic, technocratic and market oriented, just based on quantifiable terms. This is not how we understand growth or evolution. We believe architectural size is totally different from architectonic scale. One might find a tiny chapel with a monumental scale and a massive office building with a commonplace presence.
Sofia: On top of that, there is another ideological position. We believe that it is precisely that intimate scale, the space for domesticity, for the familiar, the one that admits popular culture to be constructed. Residential architecture is the so called “infill” matter in between exceptional programs. There are churches, museums, theaters, the singular public buildings which concentrate a degree of character and identity. Yet, those buildings are a minor percentage of the urban fabric. The large majority corresponds to small private dwellings. There is an enormous responsibility in the way a house, or in a larger extent an apartment building, impacts the urban realm, in how it promotes civic values or in how it shapes the landscape. The problem is even more delicate when the house, the ultimate human artifact, occupies a natural domain, when it inevitably “destroys” a wild, native, original landscape. In this case, the responsibility acquires an environment urgency. Even the most well intended, light and discreet artificial construction implies a dramatic interference with an already perfectly balanced ecosystem.
▼住宅建筑与环境相融合，满足人们的居住及情感需求，residential architecture merges into the environment, satisfying people’s needs both biological and emotional
Please talk about your future plan.
▼形式研究系列展览，exhibition of format series
Sofia: We are happily busy with our paintings, preparing some exhibitions with large format series. Also very much engaged with our speculative research through our academic activity. In fact, next semester we are going to start teaching at Harvard Graduate School of Design. In the practice of architecture, we are working in several interesting projects in different cultural and geographical contexts. We are developing a visitor center next to a wetland in Australia`s capital, a house for writers on a Greek island, another one for a couple of scientists in Patagonia, a house and studio for a couple of LA artists on a ranch in Aspen and another house and studio for us in the Andes mountains. In parallel, we are following up with the final documents to start the construction of three public buildings: a Cultural Center for a mining company near Santiago, an Innovation Center for Bio-Bio University and the Lamp Museum for the Meissner-Prim Foundation in Concepcion.
Pezo: And perhaps most importantly, we are seriously planning our retirement.
▼Pezo和Sofia，Pezo and Sofia ©Ana Crovetto