We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winner for our "Monte D'Oiro Wine Hotel" competition – Jorik Bais and Alexandra Heijink from Germany!

Alexandra Heijink and Jorik Bais from Germany

AUD.A is a Berlin-based architecture agency, founded by Alexandra Heijink and Jorik Bais in early 2020. Our intention is to focus on collaborations within the domains of architecture, urbanism, and design, to be able to work on larger-scale projects for which the required expertise extends beyond our knowledge.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where the company/ individuals have been involved?

Past projects and approach After gaining work experience in various offices, we received our first direct commission for an interior project in London. This was the start of AUD.A. Coffeehouse_4 was recently completed, and we are now in the process of acquiring new commissions.

Our aim is to approach architecture, urbanism, and design as one holistic field of practice, as opportunities often reach beyond the intended scope of a project. Our proposal for the Reviving Mines competition in Shandong builds on this idea: instead of addressing the site with an aesthetic intervention, we teamed up with a professor specialised in mine water treatment. In our research, we found that the mines were severely affecting the quality of the ground water, leading to bad crops for the local farmers. We developed a strategy that would not only solve the local pollution problem but would also use the morphology of this man-made landscape to transform conventional inefficient agriculture in the region into much more efficient circular food production systems. In theory, this proposal would thus not only address the mines directly, but also use the mines as part of a strategy to address a much larger problem, a growing food shortage.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

The role of the architect The role of the architect is shifting, but it is hard to pinpoint where it is heading exactly. As the construction industry is continuously innovating to become more efficient, we will increasingly act as curators, selecting from a catalogue of prefabricated building elements. Furthermore, digitalisation will greatly increase the speed of testing design variations, making much of our work redundant. In this regard our work might transition more towards vision forming – non-material – but we will certainly never be obsolete.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

Why participate in architecture competitions? Competitions help us develop our position towards architecture and potentially also give us some public exposure. This really helps in the process of setting up a company. In the best case, obviously, the project also gets built.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture competitions?

Advice on competitions Competitions are simply very helpful to test presentation techniques. In our profession, it is crucial to quickly generate content that communicates ideas clearly and concisely, and competitions offer a way to practice this skillset.

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