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"I run a business to design buildings. Not the other way around."

21 of January '21

"10 Questions to..." is a series of short interviews with architects and female architects, to whom we address the same pool of questions. In today's installment of the mini-interview, Karol Zurawski answered about his inspirations, design methods and outlook on business.

Karol Zurawski - a graduate of the Faculty of Architecture at the Warsaw University of Technology, where he currently teaches design. He gained professional experience while working for four years in the Swiss studio of Peter Zumthor, winner of the 2009 Pritzker Prize. Since 2015, he has been running his own design atelier in Warsaw.

1 Architecture in three words...?

It is impossible to encapsulate the essence of architecture in three words. Its beauty lies in its complexity.

2. the three most important buildings for you...?

a. Kunsthaus Bregenz. The first contemporary building whose experience moved me deeply, in a way that only the finest buildings of ancient architecture have been able to do so far.
b. Peter Zumthor's own home and studio in Haldenstein, Switzerland. A building in which I worked for four years immediately after graduation and which I consider one of the most beautiful houses I know.
c. A house in La Lecherette, Switzerland, the extension of which was my first independently made and completed project.

3. the most important book on architecture...?

Shaping good architecture requires a lot of knowledge, let's call it, craftsmanship. For some time now, I've been less interested in philosophizing about architecture and more appreciative of reading with technical expertise.

4. most inspiring city and why...?

Currently it is Warsaw. A city where I see great potential, energy and where I meet inspiring people.

5. architect with whom you would like to design something and why...?

During my studies I had a dream to work with Peter Zumthor, from whom I wanted to learn. It came true. Now I work independently.

6. hand drawing or computer drawing?

For design documentation, a computer is essential, but in the creative process, when we come up with solutions in the studio, a soft pencil, charcoal or pastels are more useful.

7. mockup or 3D model?

In the creative process we sketch a lot. Not only by hand - in pencil, but also with physical architectural models. We build a lot of mock-ups, at different scales, to test our proposals. I think this method gives the best results. We also happen to use computer models.

8. modernism or postmodernism?

Neither of these drawers. These types of criteria do not interest me.

9. work after hours or sports?

Architecture is a passion to which I devote myself, including after hours. I work intensively, but I try to maintain hygiene. I also find time for sports. For several years I have been training enthusiastically in boxing.

10 - Architecture or business?

I am in business to design buildings. Not the other way around.

If you have suggestions for questions you would like us to ask, or people of architects whose answers to these questions you would like to know - let us know in the comments.

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