Aman Mehta / December 18, 2018
“The first time I got really excited about architecture was when I saw that you can really have an impact on people, places, the environment, and even the future as an architect. It can be small or large, that doesn’t really matter, but you can change somebody’s life on a certain level, and I think that is very motivating. We don’t necessarily need to work on the biggest projects, or have the biggest teams, or be the most successful in terms of awards. You can have an impact on a much smaller scale, which, most of the time, is more rewarding than building the next headquarters of a very big company.” Chris Precht’s unique approach to what he terms a now ‘ego-centric profession’ is clear. Architecture, for him, should be about making buildings that have an impact, rather than modern structures enveloped in glass.
Having spent five years in Beijing, Precht decided to relocate his headquarters to the Austrian Alps in the beginning of 2017. Not necessarily off-grid, but certainly far away from the distractions of the city, his aim is to be inspired by nature once again and to use the time he spent in one of the most polluted cities as a blueprint to incorporate a holistically-sustainable approach to his work. To illustrate his philosophy, he breaks it down into three simple points.
“First, I think architecture needs to be greener. This deals with materials with a low carbon footprint, like wood or bamboo. It also means I need to make the buildings greener. Whenever we construct a building, we take space from nature. I would somehow like to give the place back to nature, through the building.”
“The second is that I believe buildings need to become more diverse. I think every building should be a response to a certain time and space. It should have a sense of location and culture. If you look at London, New York, Hong Kong, Beijing, or even Delhi, all buildings look the same. Hundreds of years ago, cultures defined themselves by their building style. There was vernacular architecture. We lost that completely.”
The third thing he wants is for architecture to become younger. “We need fresh ideas. The construction industry produces more than 40 per cent of all the carbon dioxide emissions, and needs more than 50 per cent of global energy reserves. We build with materials like cement and concrete, which result in a high carbon footprint. We need a different approach and very fresh ideas on how to construct our environment. That is where the younger generation of architects, who want to design their own future in a more healthy way, will play a prominent role.”
Chris Precht will be speaking at ID Symposium 2019!
Read more about our conversation with Chris in the December-January issue of ELLE Decor India