Mit dem Artikel heute wird die Reihe „11 Fragen an…“ erweitert. Ich habe die Chance genutzt und einige Interviews mit Architekten außerhalb des deutschsprachigen Raums geführt. Diese Interviews beinhalten die gleichen Fragen, werden aber auf Englisch abgedruckt. Zusätzlich zu den 11 Fragen werden immer noch ein paar Zusatzfragen beantwortet. Ich glaube es ist sehr interessant Details über den Beruf des Architekten in anderen Ländern zu erfahren. Ich bin auf Feedback sehr gespannt.
Mr. Dodson, before we begin with the interview, please introduce yourself in 3-4 sentences briefly.
_Jim Dodson [jd]: My name is Jim Dodson, partner and co-founder of Various Architects AS. After 12 years at Snøhetta I started Varoius Architects with my colleague and friend Ibrahim ElHayawan.
Question 1: What was your first job after graduating?
_jd: After graduating from the University of Texas, Austin in ’95 I went more or less straight back to Snøhetta http://snohetta.com where I had been a student intern for 6 months in ’94. It was a dream job, and well worth it.
Question 2: Why should clients in any case work together with an architect?
_jd: Architects are problem solvers. It’s our job to understand a client’s problems and come up with a creative solution. Coming up with an unexpected solution that exceeds the client’s hopes should always be our goal.
Question 3: How would you describe your architectural style?
_jd: I don’t like to work with the concept of ’style‘. Each building is a solution to a complex set of variables and contexts – I think it’s difficult to impose a style on something that is so related to the individual problems it should solve. We do work that is forward thinking, contemporary, and related to it’s context. I never know what a project will look like until it’s finished.
Question 4: Which book or film has impressed you in the last time?
_jd: Neal Stephensen remains one of my favorite authors these days. He creates amazing worlds that seem familiar, but always suprise me. The Baroque Cycle was an amazing historical fiction trilogy.
Question 5: Who are your role models and why?
_jd: Role models always change over time. When I was in school in the 90’s Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas were role models for everyone. I still respect their work, but things change over time. Having competed against (and beaten) both in competitions at Snøhetta, you start to regard them as people, not heroes. We recently collaborated with Diller Sofidio + Renfro on the competition for a new Munch + Stenersen Museum in Oslo, and that was a real treat. I have always followed their work with much admiration, so getting the chance to collaborate was great.
These days I suppose my role models consist more of my contemporaries – ‚young‘ architects starting their own firms and making it happen. BIG, JDS, SeArch are all great examples of young firms that are making things happen. I find them all very inspiring.
Question 6: Is the client king or should he be guided to his luck by an architect?
_jd: The client is king in that they pay the bills around here, but even kings need guidance to protect them from themselves. I think the best architecture happens when you have a great client who allows it to happen. There are plenty of examples of horrible architecture that is the product of a bad architect/client relationship.
Question 7: Which subject in course of studies best prepared you for your profession?
_jd: I don’t think there is any one answer to that one. I found the School of Architecture at UT Austin to be a great place to me. It did a good job of preparing us professionally as architects, without forcing too much of a „school philosophy“ on us. The best students there at the time were all doing their own thing – and most of them have gone on to do good work as professionals.
Question 8: From Paul Valéry comes the term „architecture is music made in stone.“ What referees to the question, what music you’re currently happy to hear?
_jd: Music is really important to me when I am working. Headphones are essential to concentration when working in an open office environment, so what you are listening to becomes an important part of the product. Current top list by Play Count in iTunes: Blonde Redhead, Morcheeba, The Last Shadow Puppets, Black Francis, M83, Jack Johnson…
Question 9: Which building would you like to design and why?
_jd: My background from Snøhetta is mainly cultural buildings, and I still have a preference for these kinds of projects. Cultural buildings and public buildings are structures which have the possibility to strongly influence the city and people around them. I’d like to think that they are buildings which matter.
Question 10: Architecture is … ?
_jd: good question!
And finally, question 11: What question would you like to ask and whom?
_jd: Question: Can we design a new national museum for you? To whom: Anyone who can make it so. :)
I am glad to have you as an non-german speaking architect on my magazine. So I take the opportunity to ask you a few more questions interesting for me and others. How to become an architect in your country?
_jd: I was educated in USA, but am practicing in Norway. My 5 year professional degree (B.Arch) is recognized here as equivalent to a Norwegian architecture education. There are no lisencing tests in norway, but to build more complicated structures you have to have a certain amount of documented practical experience.
In germany you have to be a member of the architectural chamber to call yourself an architect. Is there any comparable in your country?
_jd: The rules have recently changed in norway. The title „sivilarkitekt“ has previously been protected, but they are doing away with it. I could apply to use the title, but don’t see any point in it. I am a member of the architectural association which counts as accreditation here as well.
What about the current market situation in your place?
_jd: The market in norway is scary at the moment. There is very little activity in anything other than the public sector.
Are there any special architectual conditions in Norway?
Thank you Mr Dodson.
B.Arch MNAL Jim Dodson