How would you describe your journey?
Stupendous growth has never been my goal. I never wanted to have an office with more than 30 people; some of my colleagues have 300. But there has been consistent and exponential growth in the development of my ideas and concepts and our ability, as an office, to realise them.
If you could tell our readers about some of your award winning designs?
The Parc de la Villette was my very first competition, and I had never built before. I won it ahead of 463 competitors, and it took 15 years and five different prime ministers to complete it. It is still considered as a major moment in the architectural history of our time. The other project worth mentioning is the Acropolis Museum. Above all, it was located right below the Parthenon.
The challenge was enormous: how to be contemporary and respectful at the same time. I believe, I succeeded.
How according to you has architectural design evolved in the last few years?
One of the main differences is that today, everyone uses the same type of photographic renderings made possible by new computer software. Many young architects are finally rebelling against it because it emphasises images and neglects ideas.
What is your take on environmentally sound and sustainable architectural designs?
Throughout history, architects were always supposed to design in an environmentally sound and sustainable manner. Look at buildings from the 12th or 19th centuries or even the early days of modern architecture. Most of these buildings took advantage of orientation, topography, and climate by using proper materials, natural ventilation, appropriate opening sizes, etc. Architects forgot this in the 50s with the invention of air conditioning and with the intense commercialisation of land in cities. It’s really not difficult to be respectful of the constraints of nature and be contemporary at the same time.