|Architecture, Designer, Houses, Interviews|
Glass, light, space and water… The houses of Nico van der Meulen with their powerful forms have left an indelible mark on the residential design. Recently I had the pleasure of talking with one of the most recognized architects in South Africa. Enjoy the interview. I sure did!
When did you first realize that you wanted to be an architect?
When I realized that the only time I did not feel frustrated was when I was totally engrossed in design.
Is there something that connects all your projects?
Functionalism…..does not matter what “style” the client wants, first and foremost a building must function properly. You see a building for a few seconds from the outside when you arrive and leave, but most of your time is spent inside, so the functionality of structure is much more important.
Looking back at your first project what design knowledge do you wish you had back then?
Too long ago to remember… But back then I was not so aware of the importance of facing a building north and creating sun-control, it only became common knowledge when the CSIR published their report on the research they were doing in the Seventies, so I guess that is the one element that I would like to change about my first project.
What do you enjoy most in your work?
The creativity and variety…..Every day a new challenge to face, which is what makes life worth living.
What do you love to do when you are not designing?
Travel, reading, restaurants, gardening, do-it-yourself projects….
What are your favorite places in South Africa?
Our house in Randburg, the Lowveld, Cape Town.
Your favorite books?
What does success mean to you?
The freedom to travel and absorb other cultures and buildings.
What’s your advice to the architecture students?
Have fun…it is the best revenge!
My signature question – what are the most important design elements?
For us it is definitely glass, light, space and water. Creating indoor/outdoor spaces where the junction blurs between the interiors and nature.
photos: Nico van der Meulen Architects