The Power Of An Image

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The Power Of An Image

Francisco Rocha


Who influences you graphically?

Personally, I believe that the graphic communication of a project plays a very important role in any architectural process. From a sketch of an idea or concept to the final presentation for a client, the power of an image dictates the understanding of a project.
In my career, not only as an architect, designer but also artist, I’ve crossed paths with vary experienced people, who taught me a lot. Fala Atelier, Christian Wassmann, and most recently FR-EE, have showed me many different ways of experimentation, design and communication. But it’s also on my own practice that I find space and freedom to explore more, and push myself out of my comfort zone sometimes. By trying new ways of express ideas, that in the end also influence the project itself.
Taking a moment to think about it, there is a pattern in many of my projects, which is the beauty of the basic shapes and geometric forms – and those we can find them all around in our day to day life.So in the end, my influences come from what is around me, the people I meet, things I see, places I visit and simply things that I like.

To what extent and how did the theme of funerary architecture influences the somber colour palette?

The theme of Death in architecture – as in life in general – is something that people generally avoid to talk about. But it’s the only thing that we can be certain in life that it will happen – that last moment.
The project “So long, farewell” ends up being a metaphor of that – a spiritual place, where the thickness of the walls and the tranquility of the white brick conveys the calmness of the space. The images presented here are a result of a whole process, every detail and object were placed for a certain reason and took in consideration to transmit a message.
The color palette choose for this project expresses the serenity of the space, contrasted by the delicate blue pigment on the top of the building – landmarks for the big ceremony room and meditation space. Forest of Paimpont, by Rene Magritte has this same dreamy atmosphere characteristic from the Surrealism movement.

What is the effect and purpose of  canvas like texture as a base?

A canvas is a white slate –  tabula rasa – where the artists are able to express their ideas. This building has the simplicity of a white volume, so a canvas in itself for people’s last desires and celebrations. The collages of paintings give us the opportunity to play with that, recreating in-temporal moments, crossing different realities and dreams.

You talk about funerary architecture as having had an important role on the disclosure of ancient societies’s costumes and ways, how is this reflected through the characters?

The characters of these images are immortalized in paintings, as their creators are, and some people will recognize them. I believe that architecture, as many of other forms of art, are ways to keep alive the knowledge of an era and its civilisation. The crossing of different times was something I wanted to explore here.

What dictated this very central one point perspective?

The central view perspective, is one of the most elemental forms of representation of a 3dimensional space. It is also a very frank view, almost as a face to face dialogue, where the viewer and the image establish a conversation.


The project proposes a reflection on the concept of death and its representations. It is a practical interpretation of the theme—death.

Funerary architecture had an important role on the disclosure of ancient societies’s costumes and ways. If on one hand almost all civilizations were lost, the great funerary buildings lasted until the present day, due to their monumental character, allowing us to study and understand the past.

 The death program in Architecture is of equal importance to any other program, and one should note that although it is centered around the cult of the dead, it is essentiality a program about the living ones.

 The main subject is placed in a clear perspective. Here, one can find the presentation for the first Porto’s Tanatório. Gathering the valences needed to care and sustain the dead and their relatives.

In the postmodern society in which we operate, the dematerialisation of death in favor of space and symbols is increasingly common. The architect assumes an important role by designing projects, as the one presented here, that give emphasis to the design of places that welcome people in this particularly hard and special moment of farewell, and that somehow help them overcome it.


PrintPrintSo Long Farewell, View from the Park, Francisco Rocha

So Long Farewell, View from the Street, Francisco Rocha



Francisco studied Architecture at Faculty of Architecture of Porto University in Portugal and KTH Arkitekturskolan in Sweden. Before moving to New York, he founded his own studio in 2013. He has also collaborated with Porto City Hall and worked closely with Fala Atelier, back in Portugal. Currently Francisco is collaborating with Fernando Romero Enterprise in NYC.


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