Build March Issue

Build Magazine 27 Architecture city. Recently, FMA was shortlisted for the competition to design the Interactive Gallery at The Science Museum in London. The second firm to rise from the demise of FOA is AZPML, Alejandro Zaera Polo’s firm, which is also an international practice based in London but also boasts practices in Surich and Princeton. The firm has a commitment to innovation in architecture and urban design, combining technical innovation with design excellence. AZPML projects include a new building for Ravensbourne in Greenwich, the John Lewis Department Store, Cineplex and Footbridges in Leicester, Carabanchel Social Housing in Madrid, Meydan Retail Complex and Multiplex in Istanbul, the Spanish Pavillion at the 2005 International Expo in Aichi, a large coastal park with outdoor auditoriums in Barcelona, a Municipal Theatre and Auditorium in Torrevieja, La Rioja Technology Transfer Centre in Logrono and the Dubnyouk Publishing Headquarters in Paju, South Korea. AZPMLs current projects in the UK include Birmingham New Street Station in Birmingham and Trinity EC3 offices complex in the City of London. In Spain, AZPML is involved in a new Hospital in Lleida, a Biotechnology centre in Barcelona, the redevelopment of the Santander Waterfront, including the design of a new ferry terminal and the yacht club which will host the World Cup in 2010, the Gurrutxaga Winery in Lekeitio and the Cerezales Foundation. AZPML is also involved in the development of two highrise residential towers in Busan, Korea and the Locarno cinema film festival headquarters in Switzerland. FMA regards architecture as an integral part of everyday life and an active agent in shaping culture. Their work generates internal orders in built forms by each time assembling them in such a way as to construct a unique transversal organization across the complex array of relevant materials. Each FMA project, accordingly, has a singular physical presence with a new sense of order relative to the multifarious materials that relate to it and it shapes people’s experience of everyday life in unique ways. The work of Alejandro Zaera-Polo has been widely published and exhibited, representing Britain at the 8th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2002; he has received the Enric Miralles Prize for Architecture, won five RIBA Awards, the 2004 Venice Architecture Biennale Award, and the Charles Jenckes Award for Architecture. Having lectured extensively on architecture worldwide, Farshid Moussavi has been a Professor in Practice of Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design since 2006. Farshid Moussavi and her colleagues at FMA have extensive experience of projects with diverse functions for both the public and private sector, and of working internationally. They are also engaged in critical research through FMA’s research arm, FunctionLab and the publication of “The Function of…” series of books on architectural theory. As a result, FMA has a wealth of knowledge and perspectives of urban and architectural problems, and the agility required to work within different cultures. Despite their split, both architects and their firms hold true to the same principals, goals and aims that led them to achieve greatness together, a fact which was quite evident during the recent break down nearing the completion of the New Street Station project in Birmingham. Zaera-Polo’s original design for the Birmingham New Street Station showed the architect’s intentions for a ‘seamless monolithic rib look’ to compliment the giant glass-roofed atrium, which allows for natural light to brighten the entire areas including all 12 refurbished platforms. These designs however, were severely undermined by the use of white PVC, which is already showing signs of stress and wear despite the structures recent completion in September 2015. Additionally the colour and aging of the material will not coincide with the other materials specified and used by the AZPML architect. Zaera-Polo, who specified a continuous plasterboard cladding of the steel structure walked away from the project in light of the last minute changes and didn’t look back based on the changes to materials which compromised not just the look, but the longevity of the structure he designed. This situation proves that although the couple no longer works together the ideals and architectural beliefs which first aligned them still exist as the behaviour of Zaera-Polo is reminiscent, if not a personification of the words by Moussavi, who expressed similar sentiments about materiality in architecture, when she wrote, “architecture is a material practice, not a matter-practice. Architectural materials include the non-physical and physical attributes that define the built environment: politics, climate, time, construction technologies and economics as well as wood, glass and steel. FMA treats these materials as extrinsic and intrinsic parameters that generate the assembly of each of its built forms, avoiding form for the sake of form alone.” Though we are not likely to see another pairing of these to modern greats in their field and profession, this does not necessarily mean that we will be deprived of their vision when it comes to future architectural designs. In truth, in the closure of FOA, the architectural world has been gifted with double the amount of award winning designs, by two firms, who can be counted on to hold true to the principals which led to their initial combined success, before giving way to their respective individual accolades.