See more

ETEM: What made you decide to become an ar­chitect/engineer?

K.O.: My architect father did not encourage me to study architecture, instead he suggested that biology would have future. Maybe that drove me towards becoming an archi­tect who is very interested in rule based design and natu­ral physics. Recently a major contribution was made by a Dutch natural physicist named Erik Verlinde who claimed to have found a new theoretical basis for the universe. His the­ory was based on straightforward information exchange, no particles, no atoms, no quarks, but complex dynamic aggre­gations of information only. I was simply excited since that resonated so much with what I am deeply interested when developing my designs.

ETEM: Which was your most challenging proj­ect and why?

K.O.: The most challenging was the foundation of the Hy­perbody research group in 2000. I introduced a completely new view on real-time dynamic systems in architecture. I proposed the Trans-Ports project which was a flexible pro­grammable structure that changed shape and content in real time. I still need to find an opportunity to realise that concept on the grand scale. My mission is not complete before I have achieved that goal. After the iWeb and the A2 Cockpit which meant nothing less than a revolution in how to design to produce a building, Trans-Ports 3.0 will mean a true revolution in real-time programmable architecture.

ETEM: Which are now the trends in façades?

K.O.: I cannot see façades as a separate thing from the structure and its behaviour and performance. Structure and skin must be developed as one coherent system. Whether this is a trend I do not know, but it certainly needs to be­come a trend. Otherwise all our efforts will end in window dressing, in fashion, in holding up appearances.

ETEM: How would you define your signature style?

K.O.: My signature style is best defined as a simultaneous force from within and from without. It is based on a deep empathy with the constituting components and their mutu­al relationships, which is a bottom-up process. At the same time the dynamic swarm systems of components are subject to external forces which are the drivers of their billions of possible configurations. We call these drivers the Powerlines.

ETEM: Regarding the state of the planet in the face of climate changes many people are very pessimistic about the future. How do you see the urban building of the future?

K.O.: Understanding and control of the internal and exter­nal constituting forces will lead to an affordable, green, sustainable appreciation of the natural beauty. There is nothing more natural than diversity, multimodality, hy­bridity, and nothing more natural than complex adaptive systems that are part of an ecosystem of other complex adaptive systems, both on the small scale as on the grand scale of the planet. The urban building of the future must acknowledge such complexity and understand the mutual relationships between all players, both people and things, that constitute a city.

ETEM: The engineering progress and the dis­covery of new materials in the past decade are enormous. However, are there specific forms or shapes which are still impossible to build in the conditions of modern technologies?

K.O.: We do not build shapes, I am strongly opposed to the idea that a design starts with a complex shape. For me, the complexity is based on simple rules. My work is based on rule-based design, algorithms, lean data exchange, and above all it is open-ended and aiming at possible surprising outcomes. That is why our fusion of art and architecture on a digital plat­form makes sense. I am strongly opposed to architects who present their fantasies but do not yet know how to make them happen. I call that the “position of the spoiled child architect”; that attitude is especially harmful for my own practice, since­noutsiders think they see parallels between them and us, while in fact we are almost at the opposite ends of the spectrum.

ETEM: What is your advice for young architects?

K.O.: Make sure you develop a fundamental skill, think like an entrepreneur, not as a consultant. Think and act as a maker. What to expect from you in near future? Probably I will design and build the straightest building in the world, yet at the same time fully parametric and dynamic in its behaviour, like a multimodal transformer.

See all news

Other News



It is fascinating to see the progress of an idea from first sketches to drawings and models which become more and more refined, then to fabrication, and finally to see the project take shape
Read more


Mrs. Novakova, we’re once again having a discussion over the facades, so what was exactly the feedback from the latest ETEM façade engineering conference, the upcoming version of which is due in 2017?
Read more


Blitz interview for ETEM with Abdulmajid Karanouh, Director of Façades and Innovation Dept., Ramboll Group, Middle East
Read more


Only the best is good enough for the company that engineers, produces and exports aluminium profiles to all corners of the globe...
Read more