Back Martin Murphy

Or why Martin Murphy thinks that good architecture reflects the joy of designing.

Your biggest achievement?
That is a competition I won – a Golf club hotel in Germany even though it was never built. But that doesn't really matter.

What would you never consider building?
We have been asked whether we would build a hospital in Riad with 550 rooms. Hotels, office buildings, apartments or museums are no problem, but I don’t know anything about hospitals. I say ‘stick to what you’re best at’.

What would you like to build?
A nursing home. That would be interesting. The social structure changes. Here we need intelligent concepts for flats and residences.

Good architecture should …
... be a symbiosis between contractor and planning team.

Architects should …
…. be good listeners and have plenty of courage to push the boundaries, as anyone can remain in the narrow confines of so-called normalcy. We want to have fun and push the envelope, the only way to realise good architecture.

What was your first building – when was that?
The first project with which I very strongly identify was the DKV (German health insurance) in Cologne. It was the first time I led a project, and a huge one at that. To realise 120.000 square meters in a first project – that was more than a challenge, not only in terms of architecture and urban development, but foremost coordination. So many project stakeholders! This really influenced me a lot.

What does home mean to you?
Hamburg is my adopted home. I am proud to be in Germany. However, one asset of our office is that I do not come from Germany. The cultural mix is important.

What inspires you?
Inspiration can come from tranquility. I have my best ideas during the half-hour train commute from my home to the office. I have consciously chosen this distance to the office.

In your opinion, which challenges do architects face in the future? What should future architecture look like?
The challenge is always to achieve the highest degree of quality and consistency, indeed a formidable challenge. Should we yield to temporary trends or to sustainable, well-conceived town planning? I have great problems with striving for effect reflecting the spirit of the times. I bet it will look rather demodé no later than ten, twenty years from now.

What is your next project? What are you currently working on?
The renovation of the headquarters of the Helm AG in Hamburg was great fun, mainly due to the good collaboration with the contractor. We think along the same lines and the sympathy is reflected in the architecture.

Whom would you chosen to build your house?
That is difficult to say. I would never build it alone in any case, I need collaborators. Moreover, I would not necessarily build from scratch. I like living in a renovated old building.

Are there buildings which arouse a particular passion in you?
Church architecture has always fascinated me. The reason I became an architect is the St Peter’s Basilica in Rome which literally brought me to my knees when I was 13.

If you could make one of your dreams come true – without permit: What would you build?
That is an interesting question. I think it is not a good idea. Architecture always develops between the conflicting priorities of requirements and constraints, on the one hand, and creativity and innovation, on the other. If the contractor loosens the reins, he is no longer a contractor. For whom are we building then?
Störmer Murphy and Partners GbR
Michaelisbrücke 1
20459 Hamburg
Tel.: 040 369737-0
Fax: 040 369737-37