Critical conversation (chapter 4)

Barac, Matthew (2022) Critical conversation (chapter 4). In: Critical neighbourhoods: the architecture of contested communities. Park Books, Zurich, pp. 129-160. ISBN 9783038602729


By Matthew Barac in conversation with Julia King, Paulo Moreira and Elisa Silva.

When discussing a project or a place, we architects will often pick up a pencil and absent-mindedly sketch, or draw a diagram on the nearest piece of paper. It helps us think. Although something of a parody of the starchitect genius at work, the well-worn motif of the ‘napkin sketch’ or ‘back of the envelope’ vignette is a reality for many. But for the architects brought into dialogue by this book – Julia King, Paulo Moreira, Elisa Silva – the creative act neither starts nor stops at the table. They are first and foremost practitioners who do their practising in real places, lived contexts, with others, over a period of time. There is usually a ‘plan’ and there may be many sketches, but both the form and progress of the project are inevitably subject to change.

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