Let’s build (english summary)
Salon Suisse 2016: Friday, 8 Septembre
“In opposition to the taxi driver, the architect must know the direction”, says Ahmad Hamid, host of the second day of the Salon Suisse. He thinks that architects cannot be the auxiliary for execution but should bring the owners to enquire and question their desires in a critical way. After a full day of conferences – in the morning with Daniel Grataloup explaining in Campo Sant’Agnese the characteristics of his buildings – and in the afternoon with a visit in Palladio Malacontenta – Leïla El-Wakil continues to promote self-building as an alternative to occidental modernity. This is why she invited Hamid, who worked with Hassan Fathy, the grandfather of independent Arab architecture.
Market and Media
Hamid behind the title «2 design = ½ cost + beauty x 2» a program has been developed in eight, non-dogmatic points. They are formulas that reveal his love for numbers, proportions and geometry. Two of them are for the market. One suggests that we need to inverse the process of construction to promote handcraft. Another translates the marginalisation of architects. Yet another criticises magazines that contribute to architectural misery, because their interest is only for the big and picturesque and not for the little and effective.
Glass and Computer
Hamid also talks about architecture and how to do it. The formula “The well-being factor = the glass factor”, allows him to explain that a closed wall is almost as important than a transparent wall. Architecture is something more complex that maximum glass: architecture lives between tensions and oppositions. Hamid thinks that we don’t need to disrupt the order of things. If computers take control of the human eye, brain and hand, this is the reverse of common sense.
The Role of the Architect and Society
Hamid is concerned with the significance of buildings. The formula “planning the possible instead of the impossible” is self-reflective: don’t build castles in Spain. A wish that can be explained as: “design culture + education = a sustainable society”. The value of our daily objects and their conception is essential; they have nothing to do with fashion or performance. Hamid’s formula “political support + architecture = rise in GNP + social stability” goes even further. Hamid mentions Le Corbusier and explains the responsibility of the architect towards society and climate. It is also about economy; if the architect works well with the craftsman, it will be a win-win situation.
Self-Building as the Empowerment of Authorisation
At the end of his presentation, Hamid mentions self-building, which he does not consider to be the end of the architect, but rather, the reduction of the profits of intermediaries. Only architects and craftsmen must operate in construction. Again this has to do with common sense for him. He made a parallel with pharmacy suggesting that a self-build is like self-medication: the wrong drugs could kill you. Self-building strengthens the power of craftsmen under the supervision of the architect; here again we find the architect that should know the direction.
Ahmad Hamid, Egypt: architect, designer. Egyptian architect and creative designer Hamid studied in Cairo, where he worked with Hassan Fathy at the Institute of Appropriate Technology. After founding his own interdisciplinary design office (1984) he developed several projects in Egypt and abroad. He collaborated with SOM (World Trade Center, Cairo) and acted as a consultant in many countries. He has designed and exhibited several series of contemporary furniture, objects, textiles, and accessories. He has won a number of grants and awards. Hamid is the author of Hassan Fathy. Continuity in Islamic Art & Architecture: The Birth of a New Modern (AUC Press, 2010).
Redaktion: Palle Petersen (Hochparterre)
Produktion: Roderick Hönig (Hochparterre), Urs Honegger (Hochparterre)
Traduction: Leïla el-Wakil
Porträt Ahmad Hamid: Emad Abd El Hady
Copyright: Pro Helvetia & Hochparterre 2016
Hochparterre dokumentiert den «Salon Suisse» 2016. Als offizieller Medienpartner begleiten wir die Veranstaltungsreihe mit Hintergrundinformationen, Zusammenfassungen, Audiostatements, Bildern und Livestreamings. Der «Salon Suisse» ist das Begleitprogramm des Schweizer Auftritts an der 15. Internationalen Architekturbiennale – La Biennale di Venezia. Der «Salon Suisse» ist eine Initiative der Schweizer Kulturstiftung Pro Helvetia.
Hochparterre documente en exclusivité le «Salon Suisse» 2016. Le partenaire média officiel du salon suit la série d’événements au travers d’articles de fond, de résumés, d’enregistrements audios, d’images et de retransmissions en direct. Le «Salon Suisse» est le programme parallèle de la présence suisse à la 15e Biennale internationale d’architecture – La Biennale di Venezia. Le «Salon Suisse» est une initiative de la Fondation suisse pour la culture Pro Helvetia.
Hochparterre exclusively documents the «Salon Suisse» 2016 starting 1st june 2016. As official media partner Hochparterre provides multimedia background information with written articles, audiostatements, visuals and free live streaming of part of the «Salon Suisse» talks. «Salon Suisse» is a talks and event programme complementing Switzerland’s national participation at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. It is initiated by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.