Cesare Battelli graduated at the Venice School of Architecture with an architectural design developed in the Moscow School of Geography and Architecture and obtained a master’s degree in architecture at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Städelschule in Frankfurt.
He joined the publishing group of the magazine “Utopica”. He has written articles for several architecture magazines since the eighties such as A.E., Novalis, Utopica, and presented lectured in many European Universities.
In 1996 he promoted the “Einander Group” and later the “Meta-morphic Group” until 2002, when he embarked on a solo professional career, maintaining some collaboration relationships with world-famous Studios.
Presently he teaches Architectural design at the IE University of Segovia, Madrid.
How would you introduce you and your studio to our readers?
Visionary-Architecture is a line of research and experimentation established in 2003 (Spain and Italy) and includes both theoretical research and architectural projects, digital architecture, art and teaching and regularly sees collaborations with other people and researchers.
Do you have any specific method to approach each new project?
The specificity is not having a specific method or a well structured recipe for doing projects. We always prefer processing informations and suggestions which became part of the process/narration where the most important thing is the process itself, permitting to discover possible ways of getting the final result….but the final result is just in the final in that moment you decide the project must take a conclusion.
Do you have a particular visual language or material palette?
We use the experiment most of the time that includes models, 3d, collages, drawings, images, discussions ... travel etc.
In your point of view, what should be the role of architecture or architects in society?
Difficult question. To me it is more about architecture than architects, or it is just as it should be. Architecture, not always good one, is already part of our society and maybe the point is to do your best, giving the most efficient as well as emotional architecture as possible. Especially be aware that whatever you are going to build will be probably visible and liveable for quite a while, and this takes the responsibility of doing something good.
ARCHITECTURE, NOT ALWAYS GOOD ONE, IS ALREADY PART
OF OUR SOCIETY AND MAYBE THE POINT IS TO DO YOUR BEST,
GIVING THE MOST EFFICIENT AS WELL AS EMOTIONAL
ARCHITECTURE AS POSSIBLE.
Are there any other architects whose work inspires you? Were there any other architects that have influenced you earlier in your career?
Many. Starting from the Russian Vanguards since I was a student, passing by the experience of working and studying with Enric Miralles or including meeting people like Lebbeus Woods among others, have given me a lot. I would also include Alvar Aalto, Hans Sharoun, Piranesi, Melnikov, LC, Borromini, the list could be very long. I also got inspiration by watching movies (Tarkovsky, Teshigahara, Bela Tarr , Bresson, Pasolini or Antonioni for mentioning few of the filmmakers I like ) and I still do.
You have a strong background in experimentation in the Art field, how do you feel these experiments have influenced your architectural practice? How have they been integrated into your own projects?
Experimentation includes theory and practice at the same level and for us is one of the most important things in our daily practice.
Can you point out any recurring theme that brings all of your projects together?
More than a theme, I would say abstractions. As I always say visionary architecture and abstractions are very close because both show and produce complex worlds, fields of relations and tensions. No matter the scale, it could be even a small “object”.
Your professional experience has also lead you into the publishing world, how relevant is an online presence for you in our profession?
I think promoting your work is really important in the measure that you believe your work is good enough to be known, and this can happen in many ways.
Nowadays something really important changed with the social networks which in somehow substitute the idea of presenting your stuff as could be in a classical publications such as magazines or web blogs. In this new media what has changed is the interaction between what you offer and the people who want to pick it. In my opinion there is no more an “abstract “ unknown audience maybe measured in terms of numbers or percentage, but now you can really see sometime people reactions, comments, etc. and who they are. All of this make your work grow with a different conscience and, in my opinion, in a much more interesting way.
What would you recommend to younger professionals?
Work, work and work but never, ever give up.
You have previously participated in several competitions. What is your opinion on Ideas Competitions on the development of the professional practice?
Competitions are always very important for young architects, students as well as for established architectural firms. It is a way for a office to make a step forward in proving some new ideas and get a new projects in case of winning First Prize; it is about gathering different thoughts in a quite short time, and for people who start in this profession it is a way of proving themselves and, in case of winning, to get sometime a good start in realizing projects.
Clearly the main aim in doing a competition is to win but it is also a good opportunity of training and experimentation.
EXPERIMENTATION INCLUDES THEORY AND PRACTICE
AT THE SAME LEVEL AND FOR US IS ONE OF THE MOST
IMPORTANT THINGS IN OUR DAILY PRACTICE
How do you feel the Pool Promenade would impact the riverfront of Porto?
What are you expecting from participants to bring to this competition?
Porto is a very beautiful city, and due its topography has a very visible centre from many points of view. The dialog existing in between the verticality (the city), the presence of different scales and the horizontality of the promenade can be very conflictual but interesting for producing something very innovative and poetic at once. Any connection/re-organization between earth and water is always an exciting opportunity for making good architecture.
Let us wait the results of the competition but I am confident we will be surprised by the quality of the proposals. ■
Find more about his work here.
He is also part of the internationally selected judging team
by Ctrl+Space for the Porto Pool Promenade Competition