BUILD April 2017 - Architecture Top 50

18 BUILD - Architecture Top 50 / April 2017 , Atelier d’Architecture Bruno Erpicum& Partners (AABE), one of the Architecture Top 50, is a firm concerned withmodern architecture, with its headquarters in Brussels. AABEwas founded led by architect Bruno Erpicum, who gathered a teamof passionate architects to realise multidisciplinary projects across the globe as this article from the man himself reveals. Attention to Detail Over 30 years of experience have resulted in the realisation of different types of projects including private dwellings set in an urban context, secluded villas located on remote hilltops by our firm AABE. In addition, we have also realised buildings with a more public function such as museums, office buildings, hotels and commercial real estate. The numerous publications and awards granted to AABE underpin the worldwide appreciation for our architectural philosophy. The Atelier consists of 15 architects, so we are of a sufficient size to master multidisciplinary projects, yet small enough to function as a team collaborating to achieve unique projects time and time again. We have realised constructions in the following countries: Caribbean, South Africa, Germany, Greece, Belgium, United-States, Spain, France, Great-Britain, The Netherlands, Italy, Peru, and Switzerland. Adapting to changes in the industry I have always paid much attention to detail - in order to make the most of the techniques available - and to really bring out proportions. However, there is something else that has begun to influence my approach more recently that is a change in approach triggered by the realisation that after five or ten years, many modern constructions that were initially pristine have now lost their brilliance. So rather than turning increasingly to materials that would suffer the ravages of time, I decided to take on a patina. My colleagues and I have turned our Brussels workshop into a laboratory. It is a collaborative space where we work on exploring different solutions, before taking the final ones to building sites in a dozen or so countries throughout the world. Each time, we compare the specific benefits of different types of wood, stone as well as smooth and granular concrete. In Corsica, for example, we added tuff dust from a Bonifacio stone, to a mixture of cement, sand and stone, so the resulting colour of the concrete would blend in with the surrounding nature. We also poured this concrete into forms fitted with planks of wood of different thicknesses. This resulted in a grooved effect - and also created flat horizontal parts - where vegetation debris and marine sediments could be deposited. This process gave the impression that the material was living, stamped with a certain ‘dirtiness’, reflecting the rocks encompassing this enormous structure. No more talk of ‘ageing’ or ‘deteriorating’, but rather ‘patina’ and ‘authenticity’. Put simply, an ode to time passing. As you no doubt will have gathered, my architecture practice stems from an unconditional love for the modernist movement. Ultimately, it’s about freeing oneself from all forms of decoration, including the facing of facades and walls – notably cement works – so that we can continue working unconstrained. When undertaking a new client or project, I believe that close communication is critical to ensuring the best possible outcome. We can treat your files in the following languages: French, English, Dutch, Spanish, and Italian. In terms of what sets us apart from other companies in this industry, I believe that we are the best option for our clients because we trigger and endorse 1704BU09