We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the Client Favourite prize winners of our "Romantic Cabin For Two" competition – Andrea Smaniotto and Barbara Sandri from Italy!

Barbara Sandri and Andrea Smaniotto from Italy

Andrea Smaniotto and Barbara Sandri graduated in architecture in 1999 from the University Institute of Architecture in Venice. Andrea completed his professional training in Portugal where he collaborated with architect Alvaro Siza, while Barbara collaborated with architects Antonio Portugal, Manuel M. Reis, Paula Santos and Adalberto Dias. In 2001, they founded their architectural firm SBSA. The studio is located in Rosà, a small town near Vicenza.

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?

Our approach in dealing with design investigates the peculiarities and the challenges inherent in every assignment, regardless of size or budget. Only after a thorough research of the essential and deep characters of a place do we understand the peculiarity of every single physical reality, in order to develop a concrete project and strategy that can provide accurate and effective answers.

Two projects are particularly significant for us: RENOVATION OF A BARN (Canale d’Agordo, Italy) and 2 HOUSES IN 1 (Montreux, Switzertland).

The project RENOVATION OF A BARN deals with the theme of the recovery of ancient rural artefacts characteristic of the alpine territory of the dolomites. This project has allowed us to investigate and recover antique construction techniques. The building 2 HOUSES IN 1 is a house with 2 apartments that fits into a small plot in a highly inclined slope overlooking the Geneva Lake. This project served as research about typological issues and contemporary housing.

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

Architecture for us is, above all, a passion. We pursue the essentiality of forms and compositional accuracy, where every gesture is reduced to a minimum. We try to solve the problems in the simplest way possible to give real character to our architecture. This is what fascinates us more and more.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

Architecture competitions are a beautiful training exercise for professional practice. This allows us to deal with different topics, programs, and contexts. The pragmatic answer in an architecture competition can become more peremptory and archetypal.

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

Architecture competitions are useful to participate in because they allow you to measure your work against the work of other colleagues. It's useful because it is an opportunity to develop new ideas and extend the horizon of design investigation.


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