We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the winners of one of our Honorable mentions for the “Great Kemeri Bog Visitor Center” competition - Germán Goldschmidt and Eldar Hajdarevic from Austria!

Team NORMAL from Austria

After our studies we met in an architecture office in the mountains of Austria. It was a cold day one year ago when we sat down in a bar and started to think about our future and our profession. In the end there were two options. Opening up a bookstore or doing architecture. The next day we decided to take part in our first competition and then we carried on. There is no bookstore yet.

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 company/ individuals have been involved?

We did a lot of projects in the office together and a few on our own. We like to work on all scales, what’s more important is that we like architecture that is monumental and clear. We like to set up an interesting idea or appearance and to work on it without losing this first thought. It is always a try to go to the limits of a site or the space itself.

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

Apart from its strictness of construction and material we think architecture must have a playful, almost crazy or non-serious part. From this it derives character. It‘s like an old guy with a big nose or Lady Gaga. It’s beautiful because it has character. Furthermore, architecture has to be more than its simple presence. It has to have a metaphysical or mystical meaning, something unexplainable that makes the viewers flesh crawl.

The role of architects in society should firstly not be different from the role of every other individual. Today with the issues of racism and intolerance increasing everywhere one should start with the simple concept of friendliness. It‘s enough to keep the people around you happy and enthusiastic without doing harm to anybody.

It‘s interesting however to notice that nowadays architects struggle with a lack of trust. Often they appear as some sort of lunatic artists, just making things more expensive. We would like to see a change in that, to see a society where architects and their abilities are important and trustworthy.

Why do you participate in architecture vision competitions?

It is a really good option to start your career and to exercise designing and team-working. In most cases the topics are very interesting and most of the time there are no limits for your ideas and thoughts. So you can do (nearly) whatever you like and try the concept of your dreams. And of course because we like doing it.

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

Do whatever you want. Be whoever you are. There is no time to hesitate about your abilities and knowledge. All the work we do, even if it contains mistakes and failures, is work that brings us further. Just don‘t care about it. Looking back on his oeuvre Adolf Loos once said the best parts of his projects are those which went wrong, those with mistakes and obscurities. In architecture (and not only in architecture), we meet a lot of barriers, a lot of struggles and throwbacks, and the only thing keeping us moving is to always constantly trust in ourselves.

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