An Eccentric Master – Interview with Antoine Predock

Antoine Predock is a genius whose work has certainly contributed to the development of architecture. Experts have often noted that he brings a sense of connection and force to his work, with spiritual interaction, movement, the natural environment and technology. Viewers of his work enjoy the tremendous presence of thoughtfully sculptured buildings. His buildings appear to have been organically grown out of the earth. He actually begins his building designs in clay and then bonds his creations with the modern world of computer design. Predock’s portfolio of iconic structures includes the College of Journalism and Communication in Qatar, the Padres baseball park in San Diego, and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights among others. Antoine Predock shared with Atelier, his architectural philosophy, his source of inspiration and his special relationship with the desert.

In what way do you consider architecture your religion?
I do not have a religion but I am deeply religious. If I had a religion it would be architecture. It made my life happen in so many ways. I do not have an architecture church who I worship. I think if you believe in what you do it turns to be a religion. It jumps into another of being which you can call it a religion.

What is your source of inspiration?

In a realm of globalisation one has huge advantages.
I am working in China, Qatar, Costa Rica and each one offers a different experience thus making every piece of work different from the others. Every project offers the possibility to focus on the place I am in and that inspires me to create.

I was struck by a comment you recently made on architecture where you defined it as “a physical ride and an intellectual ride.” Why?
I am a motorcyclist and thus can equate the concept of riding where you are exposed to the environment you are in. You need to concentrate in your context. Same goes to architecture where you need to concentrate on the context you are in. You go through different experiences such as light and darkness which together create what we call an experience.

Why are buildings all about process?

It means everything. It starts with engagement with people/client and then flows into my personal way of working . You go to the site and you experience the place, following which, I create a clay model. We then maximise full technology which shifts my project from a 20th century concept to a 21st century matter. I love to use my hands, yet I also love technology. I do not trust my mind as much as I trust my inner feelings.

In what way do your buildings weave the present with the past?
I avoid nostalgia and referential stuffing in my work. A building is what it is not only because it has a history but because it has an intrinsic power. My focus is to surge for the future and not dwell in the past.

You also recently noted; “what I do is a dance with the client. It’s a poetic encounter.” Can you elaborate?
It is a kind of dance. I consider it a celebration with a common goal. I want to know all about them, their tastes, their habits, their fantasies. What smells do you like? What was your dream home when you where a kid? I am like a psychotherapist. This communication develops a strong bond between us and today I can fairly say that thanks to my approach, I have friends all around the world.

What attracts you to the desert?

The desert is my spiritual home. There’s a latent power, a mystery about the desert that has always intrigued me. My desert exposure started when I was a kid and I guess it really stuck with me — it’s a hypnotic kind of place and my beginnings in architecture are obviously here.

What’s next for Antoine Predock?

Behind Antoine Predock lies an amazing team who play a key role in my work process. What
we achieved, is indeed a collective effort. We are currently working on several projects across the globe which sees us at the moment focussed on their completion.

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