The 8th edition of the Expert talk hosted Armand Paardekooper Overman, associate architect at Mecanoo. He is also a founding partner of fUSE Architecture and, in 2014, he founded the real estate development company Urban Sync. He has extensive experience in realizing spatial quality within the context of complex multi-stakeholder processes. The focus of the interview is on architecture and urban planning, technology and materials in buildings and some very innovative projects which Armand has been involved with.
First, Armand addresses the role of the architect which has a great variety since usually architects focus on very specific innovations. However, he suggests that architects should go beyond the specific innovation and focus also on the landscape, urban development, urban strategies, engineering, etc.
Armand illustrates some projects of specific technologies and materials, but also innovative processes in construction, which allow to save energy both in the scale of the building itself, both in its life cycle process. For example: buildings´ façades that absorbs emissions in cities, using machines that are all electrical during the construction phase, using local wood, collecting water from the roof of buildings to absorb the heat and thus to cool down the building, and using re-cycled materials (e.g. 100% recycled concrete with the same quality of a new one). Armand highlights the importance of circularity in architecture, referring to the business case of “leasing” materials.
Finally, Armand gives his thoughts on the global emergency with Covid-19 and its impact on architecture and society. He suggests that we all should change perspective and focus more on the local situation. Mother nature, as he calls it, has showed us how we can slow down our activities and our lives and still make a change in terms of lower emissions, even without all the legislation, regulations and latest innovation in architecture and construction sector.