Back 10 Questions to Prof. José Gutierrez Marquez

Or: Why José Gutierrez Marquez does not have a home

Good architecture should …
… evoke a longing.

Architects are …
… like water and wine.
We drink water because we’re thirsty but no one knows exactly why we drink wine. With architects, it’s similar. We need houses predominantly to protect us from the weather. But we design good architecture to satisfy our need for beauty and to give a building the necessary ambiance.

Are there any buildings you feel particularly passionate about?
I’m a passionate fan of good brick architecture. You’ll find that, of course, in Germany, but there’s also a longstanding tradition in South America. I admire the architects that have built such fantastic things with this material: Peter Behrens, Fritz Höger, and also Alvar Aalto.

What inspires you?
Everything with a compositional frame inspires me. You can generate ideas from each kind of composition, whether it’s music, graphic design, literature or indeed cooking. All this is inspiring and can be transferred to an architectural idea.

What has been your biggest success to date?
Success is a word I don’t like. In Italian, there’s a saying: 'figli di un dio minore' (children of a lesser god). If we consider our projects children, then we have many children of lesser gods in our office, but some of our projects are more powerful. For me, these include the SBB Control Centre Gotthard Base Tunnel and, of course, the Master Houses in Dessau.

What does home mean to you?
For me, the meaning of home has been lost. I have no home. I feel like a traveller. When you’ve lived half your life like a nomad in different countries, then you don’t have a home any more.

Which of your projects do you care about most?
That’s the municipal library in Schweinfurt. Our first project where we were responsible for everything. The night before the opening, we were in the building alone and we thought: well, that’s it. Our first completed project.

What connections do you have with the Bauhaus? Which parallels do you see in your work?
We are aware of some parallels, other parallels we recognise through interpretations by other people and through discussions about the buildings. A lot of thinking and many ideas were already predefined with the Master Houses in Dessau. We have inherited these ideas and have transformed them for us, for example, the idea of German rationalism through reduction of exaggeration and the avoidance of gestures. Reduction generates a force that’s a consequence of refusal. We have taken up these ideas, but we have implemented them in our own way.

Do you have any advice for young architects?
Being an architect can bring great happiness. However, this happiness can only be realised if you deliver. When you try to manage the effort and energy you have to invest, you will be frustrated. But, when you are really passionate, the reward will be to completely become one with your work and to forget about time. And, when this is your personal definition of happiness, you’ve done everything right.

If you hadn’t become an architect, what would you be today?
A teacher.
Bruno Fioretti Marquez
Schlesische Straße 26
10997 Berlin