AN INTERVIEW WITH AN ARCHITECT RAFAEL PORZYCKI BY REBECA CLARK.
What does architecture mean to you, and why have you chosen it as your profession?
It is about serving the community, working to provide them with any kind of facilities they need for living because architecture does not make sense without the community. The global understanding of architecture is accommodating people’s needs. When you deliver function to the community – you deliver esthetics at the same time as architecture and engineering go hand in hand. When combined they produce beautiful artwork with great spaces and structures serving people.
You design beautiful things making people feel good and happy, what beauty do you see in architecture?
I do not know how to classify beauty – when you look at the creations of the past you see perfect mathematical proportions such as the golden ratio. You can see this ratio in faces, bodies, buildings, and nature. Our minds register this simply by saying: this has the right length and width. When we talk about the beauty of colors, shapes, and other elements related to the construction, it has to be based on an understanding of proportions as well and often beauty is achieved through minimalization. Construction costs can be enormous, but they do not have to be. For me, beautiful structures should come at an affordable cost. This is part of my philosophy.
What heritage do you bring into your architectural ideas and work and how do you implement it with contemporary designs? Do you believe that there is a place for this influence in modern architecture?
Us architects of today have definitely been influenced and affected. We are deeply influenced by modernism and the Bauhaus style established in Germany in 1919 by Walter Gropius. It became the most influential art and design school of the 20th century, a school that was seeking to unite all forms of fine arts, crafts, and industry. The teachings of this school are still with us today. I believe that the future of architecture should be strictly organic even though we are still on the way to perfecting it. With the use of new technology, it will be easier to understand shapes and to produce forms much better fitted to us.
How painful are your professional compromises to you as an artist and how do you manage to achieve a result which will be acceptable to you and the client?
Compromises are not painful. The painful experience only comes when you have limitations not allowing you to create what you envisage. It is not necessarily connected to the cost as modern tools allow us to do a lot with far less. It even allows us to use prefabricated constructions. The main limitation is the limitation of the mind. An architect is not able to deliver great ecstatics combined with great engineering for his client only in the case of sickness or for lack of ideas. However based on my experience and architectural journey while working with many international clients in different countries I have learned that even these limitations only stop you if you let them. You need to overcome all limitations whether it is handling budgets, visual parts, or the functionality of structures – everything comes with a real understanding of what architecture is about. Dealing with different people as your clients who have different personalities and different views is the foundation of an architect’s culture. Not understanding people’s needs and not being willing to learn could be the biggest limitation which would indeed be painful. I was lucky to have met and to have learned from so many people who they are and what their aspirations are.
It might be a secret not to be revealed yet but what would be your dream home?
It has to be a healthy place to live. I do not mean only in structure – it is about the entire environment. Our home is the earth. Everything should start from understanding that the environment is the most precious thing whether you are building a house, block of apartments, a village, or a city. If we do not care and pay attention to the need of preserving it, you will simply not be able to come out of your beautiful home due to pollution. The experience people had during socialism and industrial times when they had to be put in small spaces and in huge blocks of apartments made us want to change our style of living completely. If you are asking me about my Genius Loci it is definitely a structure completely incorporated into a landscape. I cannot imagine anything else but working with nature, living in nature, giving back to nature especially since so much has been taken away from it. The most beautiful creation is earth and we should contribute to it and help not to destroy it. My dream is to create a super habitat incorporated in nature that will allow us to live a healthy living.
How strongly do you feel about eco-friendly architecture?
Eco –friendly architecture is the only future we have. We, architects, together with engineers, are responsible for working only in eco-friendly situations. Previous civilizations were not considering this before but now we have no choice. Each structure built has to be sustainable and has to help the earth give back the best possible living conditions. What we are doing now is sadly going in a different direction. Ecological architecture, sustainability, recycling are what we obliged to consider now. Buildings built now have to be integrated into nature. We can do it now using better technology in order to create a better future for humanity.
You created the concept of Theatrum Vitae which will be making the world a better and more beautiful place. In brief, explain whether there have been similarities in the process of designing your architectural work to this concept as well as coming up with this idea and later crystallizing it and working on it with your partners and team. Also, what do you want Theatrum Vitae to do for society?
Indeed, it is a very similar process – you start with an idea which enlightens you, you then you form it, producing sketches which causes things to start shaping together. You need to crystalize on paper the shape and the details start to come later. Both the multifaceted cultural platform Theatrum Vitae which was born in my mind several years ago and architecture, work in a similar way. You also need to have a group of people, souls who will adore and believe in it because without this any idea is meaningless.
Theatrum Vitae is a concept of connecting people globally and creating awareness of who we are and where we are going. We need to focus on the understanding of how our journey as humans started and what our goal is as a race. Right now, we seem to be lost and not to know where we are going. As humans we should be responsible for each other and with the power we have we should help the whole world understand that we are here to create and not to destruct. We need a wake-up call to understand that the future of the humanity is to follow a path of beauty, that our needs cannot just be commercial. We need to care about our souls and how to make each other’s life better.
I believe that our project also has a great cultural meaning and will show people the value of the past’s heritage and will guide them into the future. It will take them to historical landmarks and will allow them to live through the history of our human civilization. After all, if we want to conquer the universe and populate other planets, we need to be sure that we are on the right path and have learned from our mistakes.
Thank you very much.