Founded in 2010 by Sofia Couto and Sérgio Antunes, the studio Aurora Arquitectos was the natural consequence of the work developed in the previous years. The journey began during the academic period, growing stronger with the professional experience with the Kaputt! collective.
Currently with a team broadened to other elements, the studio works on projects of a variety of scales, from small houses to multi-family residential buildings, as well as cultural facilities. Recently, the most developed theme is urban regeneration, which is the focus of the studio’s specialisation and research.
In its approach, it is particularly important the reaction to the site, what to do with the existing construction’s space and elements (sometimes, centuries old). The challenge is, therefore, to interpret, scrutinize, copy, distort and even ironize those raw materials, giving them back to the site in a new and unexpecting way.
Each case is overseen in an attentive and custom way, as to look for a distinct solution, that makes each project a singular experience. Considering the unravelled limitations (legal, budget, design brief or construction site constraints), the efforts go into unfolding the project’s key moments, the same moments that result into the built space, providing meaning to all the rest.
Sérgio Antunes (Lisbon, 1977) Architect by the Lusíada University in Lisbon and by the Universitá della Svizzera Italiana- Accademia di Architettura, Mendrizio (2003). Worked in Helena Botelho’s studio between 2001 and 2004. Was one of the founders of the collective Kaputt! in 2003, taking part and coordinating several projects including architecture, product design, graphic design and installation. In 2010, together with Luca Martinucci, founds the colective 18:25 Empreiteiros Digitais, a laboratory dedicated to architectural imagery. Still in 2010 founds Aurora Arquitectos together with Sofia Couto. He has been the spokesman of these organizations, representing them in conferences, seminars and workshops. His works have been published and part of several national and international exhibitions and publications.
Sofia Reis Couto (Porto, 1980) Architect by the Lusíada University in Lisbon. Worked in Helena Botelho’s studio between 2001 and 2004. Was one of the founders of the collective Kaputt! in 2003, taking part and coordinating several projects including architecture, product design, graphic design and installation. In 2010 founds Aurora Arquitectos together with Sérgio Antunes. She has been the spokesman of these organizations, representing them in conferences, seminars and workshops. Her works have been published and part of several national and international exhibitions and publications.
The synthesis of the question – The uniqueness of the conditions that assist each project is also their inception. The conditions construct a specific, unique “question” that the project answers. It is crucial to identify that “question”.
The interpretation of the place is complex, subjective and transversal – Each site is constituted by a succession of physical and cultural strata, signs and symbols that construct a collective imaginary frame of reference. As there are a multitude of possible readings, each observer will construct their own subjective, particular synthesis. Our analysis of the layers that characterize a given site is transversal, resulting in an articulation that constructs the idea of place.
Ritual transcends function – Each program is a statement of functional and technical demands, an organizational chart of functions associated with a set of areas, but most importantly, with a set of rituals and expectations we connect with the word HOME, TEMPLE or CITY.
Managing expectations – each client presents his or her own singularities, yearnings, tastes, needs, whims, projections, financial means and time restrictions. There is an inner chaos of seemingly irreconcilable expectations. It is up to us to take on the delicate mission of mediating between the client’s wishes and budget.
Identifying the local building lexicon – Each site presents a collection of instituted architectural models, a set of building materials and methods that are part of the collective imaginary frame of reference. The “natural” way of building on each site and the current building practises should serve as operative base, as a principle for a sustainable, integrated and economical intervention. Building special projects with ordinary methods.
Local X global – Functional principals and constructive lexicons from far away or from other areas can be the solution to local issues. The simple adaptation to new realities can create mixed-blood solutions, from which innovation often stems from.
Redesigning the way of belonging to a place – To depart from the assembled local constructive lexicon to then interpret, dissect and manipulate the information obtained. A process of radical recycling that questions the customary and the instituted. To then reinvent the way in which we relate to buildings, how we identify and find ourselves in them, how they communicate with our childhood. A latent “tension” between building and the context it integrates, a way of making local culture resonate and reassert itself. The familiar becomes strangely familiar…
The bonus – We are able to recognize or create/add exceptional moments to each project. An added feature that possesses the value of something special in the midst of the ordinary. To operate in ordinary situations, transforming them into rich experiences, with enhanced quality of life. Moments spent inside a building that render everything else meaningful and on which all efforts are concentrated. A window turned towards a tree, light reflected off water, a living room extending onto a courtyard…
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