We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winners for our “SKYHIVE 2021 Skyscraper Challenge” competition – Lora Fahmy and Alan D'Andrea from Italy!
Alan D'Andrea and Lora Fahmy from Italy
I am an architect based in Barcelona and I am currently working for Ai-Spacefactory. I started working in the Shanghai’s office and I am currently working for the same company in Barcelona. I graduated in 2018 at Tongji University in a Double Degree program where I graduated both as building engineer and architect with a thesis on how could mixed use developments integrate social functions and merge with the city’s network. I started working right away. My current role is as Revit specialist, especially coordinate the design phase with the technical drawings.
My teammate Alan is also my colleague. He began his architecture studies at the school of architecture at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain in 2010. He did two study exchanges at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and at the B.M.E. from Budapest, two very enriching experiences for his academic background. In 2016 he finished his Master of Architecture at the UPV in Valencia doing research on parametric software and analysis of circulation flows in architecture. For almost 3 years has been working at the international studio AI Spacefactory as a designer architect in Barcelona. Previously he worked in other studios also as a designer architect, 3d modeler and renderist. We are both very passionate about our jobs. Although we have different roles we both find ourselves loving to push the limits of architecture and find new answers to today’s challenges exploring the latest technologies available.
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?
The company we work for is specialized in high-rise buildings, especially mixed use and mixed-use developments. On the side there are also the experimental projects that involve the 3D printer. A significant project was Marsha, that won the first prize on the NASA competion for a 3D printed Mars habitat unit. Other iconic projects are the PingAn Towers in Shenzen and OCT mixed use development project in Wuhan.
What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?
We think architecture is the art that responds to society’s need of an accommodation and it’s a reflection of its specific historical time. People have given the power to architects to shape the world they are living in. It’s an architect’s responsibility to be conscious that architecture it’s not an art form per se with its own terms but a service and an answer to people’s needs. Nowadays we are living in what geologists call Antropocene era, this means that the main driving force to earth’s changes are humans. Rising water levels, deforestation, pollution, wind speed acceleration, water contamination are all a consequence of human actions. We can date Antropocene to when humans stopped adapting to the environment and started adapting the environment to themselves.
We believe it’s time for architects to revert back this mindset to when we could really see and listen to nature, understand its behavior, cycles and rhythms and respect them.
Architecture has been a rationalization of nature, a simplification and was responsible of irreversible actions on the environment. Now we have the technological tools to have a deeper understanding of its complexity and mix up knowledges with other scientist in order not only to create and shape the world we live in right now, but also design the world we’ll live in in the future. It’s a obligation we owe to the future generations
Why do you participate in architecture competitions?
We participated to have the chance of challenging ourselves as designers. With such opened possibilities a competition gives, we had the chance to research and discuss what we think today’s society’s problems are and try to give a very different and new solution to them. It’s something you rarely can do in day-to-day work. We could push our limits, experiment, and learn new techniques, it’s fun!
What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture competitions?
Competitions are essentials to prove your abilities as a designer and as an architect. You are given a new, complex challenge to think out of the box and imagine the future ahead. In competitions you must prove yourself against and with other competitors and even though you may not always win participating puts you firstly in competition with yourself. It is a test that is worth the try.
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