and the meaning of urban architectural design to me
Underneath the foundations of great projects are buried the seeds of possibility, waiting for the right conditions to come about. Given the power of design, we can help create the right conditions and the right climate for these possibilities to take root. Sothat people can rise to it.
Growing up in the desert I had nothing to plant, little to eat, and nobody to play with. Then one day a tall girl gave me a pencil. Thirty years later I am still drawing. Freehand of course, escaping all restrictions of AutoCAD.
So while my talent came to me as a gift in that desert, my profession comes with a responsibility. Because designing buildings forms organisations. Designing factories shapes businesses. Designing houses nurtures family life. Designing interiors forges privacy and intimacy in relationships. Designing traffic systems reduces conflict and maximizes throughput. Designing landscapes improves health. Designing meeting rooms facilitates participation. Designing street furniture allows for wonderfully spontaneous encounterings. Thats what urban architecture has always meant to me, and that's why I had to get involved somehow in the constructive field that's shaping our built environment.
Unfortunately nobody lives forever. But beautiful architecture remains for thousands of years. My passion for characteristically monumental designs is further inspired by a mixture of my rich Eastern & equally rich Western cultural background. So its only very natural to me to mix both into a powerful and original design in which both identities are fused into one.
Fortunately, the iconic nature of my designs speaks to the imagination of clientele, opening the dialogue in search of timelessness, functionality and eternal beauty. But in the end everything is about feeling happy. The Dutch word "stede" (as in Stedebouw) is a welcoming place, where you feel safe and happy! So I feel we must now take distance from large-scale, repetitive, top-down urban developments (Stedenbouw with an N) and move towards a more small-scale, diversified, organic and bottom-up urban architecture (Stedebouw without N). Moving away from the scale of, and more towards the soul of, spatial planning.
All that we now have, all that we see and all that there is, is build upon and is given us as a gift, from past generations. So with the same visionary look ahead I also respect the existing context. Always. No matter how challenging it is to have to deal with something, I start from embracing the given.
Often, we designers become commodities and must sell what we are told by our clientele. Now let us rise beyond and remain true to ourselves. And so for me, architecture is not a business, but a profession. Not a commodity, but a calling. And my biggest challenge is always how to serve the community, through the vehicle of my projects at hand.
ir. Sam Eftegarie, June 2018