Where Emptiness Opens The Door For Imagination
Who influences you graphically?
I can’t name one specific person or one particular architectural practice that inspires me by itself. Sometimes my work is influenced by music, sometimes by art, photography or yesterdays’ night out — for me, inspiration doesn’t necessarily need to be architecturally related. I try to relate my graphic work for a project primarily to its own atmosphere, feeling and mood; thus I can somehow emphasise the parts of the design which relate to human perception.
How my work turns out also depends on the mood I am working in. Reflecting my thoughts in the collage or drawing often has a reciprocal effect closely connected to the project that becomes inspiration in itself.
If I need some good input for plan graphics, I like to look at drawings of Japanese studios like SANAA or Bow Wow. I like their playfulness and level of detail while still keeping plans clean and minimal. My fascination for collage art started with Non-Stop City of DOGMA — what is still one of my all-time favourites. Other influences of my work come from Julien Pacaud, Eugenia Loli, Superstudio to name but a few.
Last but not least I am influenced by the people that surround me: When I was working in Rotterdam at MVRDV, I had an Italian colleague that was pushing my graphic skills quite a bit. Even today, when I am doing the final panels for a project I am thinking “What would Luca think about the line weights and colours here?” Thanks Luca.
What dictates the way you approach a proposal, in terms of type of drawings used and the atmosphere? (from black and white to intricate atmospheric collages)
The project itself dictates the type of visualization. May it be plan, collage or diagram – drawings in whatever way are our basic language, the way we communicate our ideas. Depending on what I want to say, I choose the tool.
In general, I am trying to develop an identity for the project. I think that is also the reason why I don’t have an absolute style of [plan] graphics. Lineweight, mood and colour coding are changeable depending on the project and what I want the project to be perceived as.
What is your take on the art of collage?
I mostly work with collage because I like the abstract result. On the one hand you achieve a certain level of reality and on the other, details that infuse your mind. It is a lot about perception: Enough to be revealed to the viewer but still a lot to be discovered in your own mind. For me, it is the best way to deliver atmosphere and language of architecture — the basic concept of a project — to someone who doesn’t know all the process, thoughts and details.
How important is texture in creating the atmosphere of a place? How does the absence of it change the identity of a space?
I love to play with the absence of materiality because it makes the viewer more aware of what he is looking at in a way. If there is nothing — your brain makes your very own version of reality up for you. The emptiness opens the door for the imagination of the viewer/user of the space even if it is just an imaginary play looking at a collage.
Texture is an active haptic element in a drawing and exposes how you as an architect imagine the place you design. In contrast to the abstract white space, I like to use strong textures that tell a story about how it must be like to feel the space, to touch, to smell it. The in-between interpretation is what creates the identity of a project.
To what extent does you photographic work influence the way you look and create images?
Every one of us is heavily influenced by the way we see our everyday lives. The point is that our mind puts reality together in the way we are used to seeing it. This means that often we don’t perceive reality — our mind makes us re-read the used image we see day by day, even if reality changes.
Photography works as a way to digest and reflect reality for me. Focusing on the perspective, a little detail. A moment I want to capture makes me aware and sensitive to the everyday beauty of our world. Since I started photography, I am much more conscious of my surroundings and the way I see things. Perspective, angles, light, and space fascinate me a lot. Thus when it comes to creating images and foreseeing the built future, I try to combine this awareness of reality with a bit of naivety and visionary playfulness. Being aware of the basic tools that determine our perception helps a lot in the process of creation.
The aim is to explore architectural and urban design alternatives through a focused investigation of e-pathy habitat that addresses the social agenda of livability, affordability, empathy, and resilience. The studio was research-based and trying to investigate new options of urban planning and living for the Kowloon City Bay Area.
“As implied by the site context and its adjacent development history, the issues are multi-tasking where the proposed area should be ‘habitats’ to fulfill collective cultural desires, to realize the public interests, to accommodate the ecological restoration within the post-reclaimed waterfronts, and to co-habit the pressing needs of aged and youth communities.”
Performative & Participatory
When working with an existing building, the first thing I usually do is trying to perceive as much as possible. It takes some time to get a first impression of the mood, vibe, and story of a place. Especially if it is such a special one as the empty factory at Tsi Ni Tang, we were able to work with for this project.
The studio was set up in three different phases. In the first phase, we explored different ways of model making on a topic we had to pick according to our personal interests.
During the second phase, we focused on the urban context of the soon to be Tsi Ni Tang Art Village. We did a comparative research on art villages in the Asian context and developed an urban strategy for the site.
After a one-week robotics workshop where we had the chance to explore the possibilities of digital fabrication, we started the design phase combining all learnings from the previous phases.
The design itself is focusing on the exploration of the combination, integration and new interpretation of old and new. The strong implemented free form stands as a juxtaposition positioned in the building. It attracts with tempting but invisible qualities from the outside, next to the bare old concrete ruin that is stripped down to few left horizontal and vertical elements that have its very own magic.
Angelika Hinterbrandner was born in a tiny Bavarian village in Germany. After living & working in Berlin, Rotterdam and Graz during her Bachelors of Architecture at the Graz University of Technology she is currently studying for her Master’s degree in Architecture within a joint study program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.