Interview: monovolume architecture + design
Luca Curci talks with monovolume architecture + design during CONSCIOUSNESS, second appointment of the ANIMA MUNDI 2022 art fair, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello and Palazzo Bembo – Venice Grand Canal.
monovolume architecture + design is a South Tyrolean architecture and design firm. The two founders Partik Pedó and Jury Pobitzer met during their studies at the University of Innsbruck and in 2003 founded monovolume architecture + design, which today realizes both refurbishments as ell as new constructions. Its portfolio includes conceptual studies, architectural and design projects, constructions’ planning and supervision, project management, visualization 3D and virtual reality as well as urban planning and masterplans. In addition to architectural projects, exhibition and product design are the core fields of the office’s activity.
Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
monovolume architecture + design – The studio is expanding rapidly, we are pursuing projects not only in Italy but also in the neighboring territories: Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. At the moment, we are carrying out several residential projects of private villas. After the pandemic, we have noticed a true “urban revolution“ and as a result are also pursuing the construction of new residential apartment complexes for several private clients that rethink the concept of community, well-being, and nature. Furthermore, we execute many office building projects and recently won 1st prize in an invited competition, in Verona, for the construction of the new headquarters of the Gruber Logistics S.p.A. company, where we are currently in the definition of details phase. The previous two years have highlighted the need for hospitals equipped with new departments and modern technologies. In 2023, we plan to complete two new care centres; ParkClinik Martinsbrunn and Casa Di Cura Villa Sant’Anna in Merano. Both projects will combine design, care, and well-being with open spaces in direct connection to the surrounding nature.
LC – Which project has given you the most satisfaction thus far?
MAD – It is useless to deny it, but certainly the Durst Group AG project represents the studio’s signature and is a virtuous site-specific example in Alto Adige. The project started in 2018, together with Christoph Gamper, CEO of Durst Group AG. We are still collaborating today on the creation of new spaces and services. It is a project where creativity, historical memory, and technological innovation are intertwined with organic shapes, colors, transparencies, and innovative materials. From the early stages of architectural design, the client’s desire was to pay attention to sustainable construction. The final project results in a strong example of Zero Kilometre architecture; in fact, the supply range of raw materials and construction of the works – the wooden supporting structure, the low thermal transmittance glass of the windows and roof, the insulating panels, and the aluminum sheets on the façade – were all supplied by local suppliers, within a kilometer radius of about 1 km from the construction site. This territorial partnership made it possible to optimize the logistics, which in turn contributed to a reduction in transport costs, pollution, and CO2 emissions.
LC – When has your practice been founded?
MAD – The monovolume architecture and design studio has been working in the architecture and design sector since 2003, piloting projects that stem from refurbishments to new constructions. The studio’s portfolio includes conceptual studies, architectural and design projects, construction planning and supervision, project management, 3D visualization, virtual reality as well as urban planning and masterplans. In addition to architectural projects, exhibition and product design are at the core fields of the office’s activity.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
MAD – I (Patrik Pedó) together with Jury Pobitzer met at the University of Innsbruck where we studied and participated in various architectural competitions together, winning some of them. The successful collaborations in competitions and first projects laid the basis for the foundation of monovolume architecture + design. Surely, the university was the first “construction site” where we were able to get involved with creativity and technique. We graduated with Kjetil Trædal Thorsen from Snohetta, with Snohetta we are still in contact today and occasionally do some competitions together.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? In which way did it inspire you?
MAD – We like the idea of “fluidity”, the awareness of being a liquid society, capable of contaminating itself with different types of experiences allows us to question ourselves on current and contemporary issues. So we thought of dealing with more artistic fields such as painting, photography, and performance by networking with other international realities.
LC – Which architects inspire you the most?
MAD – Definitely Pierre Chareau! As an artist he was able to use simple and sober forms, while creating timeless works, from architecture to product design, balancing colors and different materials with the essence of woods. His works are environments furnished with versatile furniture that can be easily moved and used freely. He has been able to play with perspectives, breaking the traditional symmetries of his era’s style.
LC – How would you define your responsibility as an architect?
MAD – The recent decades compose of numerous building incentives and an increasingly rapid demand from both public and private clients. As a result, the role of the architect has undergone an accelerated evolution, assuming a social role, capable of dealing with social, economic, and environmental issues. Concerning designing the future, the architect has two winning qualities: creativity and the ability to relate with society. Two qualities that integrate and give strength to the action when they are in strong synergy. Creativity enables the possibility to find solutions that are not obvious, innovative, and functional, that are capable of understanding and feeling the needs of the social context. Today the architect is the “creator” of the living of the future; he promotes and guarantees the beauty of the urban landscape, harmoniously composing the many ‘ingredients’ of architecture: shapes, colors, and materials, but today also promotes more innovative and sustainable constructions and architectural processes, paying meticulous attention to the surrounding territory and the environment.
LC – Are you concerned about environmental and social sustainability in your buildings? If so, what role does green building play in your work?
MAD – Absolutely yes. In each of our projects, we put environmental and social sustainability issues at the center. For us, Green architecture is “0 km architecture”, a new approach to architecture that promotes design, supply, and construction with local craftsmen in the surrounding project area. Our latest projects, such as House EB and House P2, are both eco-sustainable homes capable of guaranteeing different levels of comfort: visual, acoustic, and thermal. The careful choice of efficient and environmentally-friendly building materials, acoustic performance, thermal inertia, and the ability to circulate air throughout the building also allowed us to get the KlimaHouse A Nature certification.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
MAD – We had never heard of the platform before the new communication manager suggested the possibility of participating in the ITSLIQUID International Contest 2021 – it inspires the idea of an award that combines different artistic fields, disconnecting from the traditional prizes of architecture.
LC – Did you feel comfortable cooperating with us?
MAD – We started collaborating with you this year. Not much time has passed since our first meeting, but we certainly felt a first positive evaluation. The prize? An excellent incentive for an exchange of ideas that is perhaps still little known. The collaboration was excellent. We will definitely recommend ITSLIQUID GROUP to others. The organization? A team that we find highly professional.