Architect Marcio Cogan continues the legacy of the famous Brazilian modernist generation
Marcio Cogan, one of Brazil’s foremost contemporary architects and founder of the award-winning studio mk27, which initially focused on single-family homes before expanding into hotels, offices, boutiques and apartment buildings, has focused on his approach to sustainability and some of his signature projects.
How does your work speak to what is happening in the world as it modernizes, with increasing demands to meet local needs for sustainable development in the face of growing environmental problems and shortages of natural resources? Do you have a “green” building philosophy and do you consciously consider the impact of your buildings on the environment, or are you more interested in building something that serves and inspires people and transforms communities?
We always strive to be more sustainable. For us, sustainability reflects cultural expansion, the improvement of values, and an understanding of our impact on spaces – the environment itself. And from an evolutionary perspective, we’ve learned how to shelter and build, we’ve improved construction techniques, and recently, we’ve reached a point where we can design and build forward-looking. We can transform our environment, our space, while conserving natural resources, which leads to the preservation of ourselves, and possibly our evolution. The use (as far as possible) of wood, a low-emission and easily renewable natural resource, together with the production of clean energy, such as photovoltaics, is a key tool for reducing carbon emissions and collaborating in reducing global warming. The target set at COP 21 in Paris in 2015.
Describe the unique features and challenges you encountered in the following projects: MiCasa Vol. C, Ramb House, Jama Isa House, Barati House and the Museum of Microbiology at the Butantan Institute.
Each project has its own advantages. For example: for MiCasa Vol. C, which belongs to a very recent client, we experimented with using wood; For Paraty House, the clients requested a house that stood out against nature and did not mimic it. There was also the challenge of accessing it, as it was cut off from the sea, and we decided, with the engineering team, to build it in concrete, which in the end was the best construction option. Gama Issa was one of the first opportunities I had to work with aesthetically sophisticated clients: Alexander Gama owns a major advertising agency and Claudia Issa is an exceptional art director. The Microbiology Museum was a modification of a pre-existing building in an important scientific centre. Ramp House was the first case where the owners were more perfectionist than the mk27 team, who actually suffers from OCD.
What was the main idea you were trying to achieve with Patina Maldives?
Lilly, one of the lesser-known Brazilian architects, said that the role of architecture is to avert disaster. In the sands, skies and oceans of the Maldives, all architecture can do is humbly filter light, frame views and create different stories as you wander around the gorgeous surroundings.
Which three of your recent projects do you feel most represent your personality as an architect and your architectural philosophies and ideas? Please explain why.
I really like the Patina Hotel project. And the most interesting thing is that my three favorite projects from the pandemic year were rejected by clients. We may have overdone it.
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(tags for translation)Marcio Cogan