Xavier Vilalta: Architecture at home in its community | Summary and Q&A

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Xavier Vilalta: Architecture at home in its community

TL;DR

The speaker discusses two recent projects in Ethiopia and Tunisia, highlighting the importance of considering local conditions and traditions in architectural design.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What were the initial challenges faced when designing the multistory shopping mall in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia?

The initial challenges faced when designing the multistory shopping mall in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia were the need to create a building that was not empty like the existing buildings in the city, the requirement for energy-intensive cooling despite the mild weather in the area, and the lack of a connection between the two parallel streets where the site was located.

Q: How did the architect incorporate the idea of a market into the design of the shopping mall?

The architect incorporated the idea of a market into the design of the shopping mall by creating a connection between the two parallel streets and designing an inclined atrium that acts as an open-air space within the building. Small shops were placed around this void, changing on each floor to utilize the shape of the void and create a market-like atmosphere.

Q: How did the architect address the local climate conditions in the design of the shopping mall's facade?

The architect addressed the local climate conditions by designing a concrete shell facade with perforations inspired by the fractal geometry properties found in Ethiopian women's dresses. These perforations allow air and light to enter the building in a controlled way. Colored glasses were also incorporated to use the internal light to illuminate the building at night.

Q: How did the architect make the shopping mall more cost-effective compared to traditional glass-clad buildings?

The architect made the shopping mall more cost-effective by using a concrete shell facade instead of glass, which was not only cheaper in terms of materials but also eliminated the need for air conditioning. The budget savings from these design choices were used to implement other aspects of the project, such as making the building self-sufficient in terms of energy through the use of photovoltaics on the roof.

Q: What was the design concept behind the master plan for the 2,000 apartments and facilities in Tunis, Tunisia?

The design concept behind the master plan for the 2,000 apartments and facilities in Tunis, Tunisia was to combine elements of European city blocks with the Arab city concept. The streets were extended to create blocks with courtyards, reminiscent of European cities, and strategic points were connected in a pattern inspired by the gates of the medina. The apartments were oriented north-south to maximize natural ventilation, and the overall design followed local regulations for density.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The speaker's work focuses on connecting community life and natural local conditions in architecture projects.

  • They give two examples of their work, one in Ethiopia and one in Tunisia, which prioritize sustainability and local culture.

  • The speaker emphasizes the importance of affordable, environmentally-conscious architecture in rapidly growing cities.

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