we won the Europan 2011 competition in Dubrovnik with the slogan Back to Citizens
the office of today should be a place … where people can meet and connect on a more profound level
Our favourite materials are local and honest
Mesura is a young Spanish studio based in Barcelona. Mesura in 2011 won Europan in Dubrovnik and the slogan of the competition was Back to Citizens. This concept is very important for the philosophy of the studio because Mesura wants a democratic architecture that does not dominate the context, but instead arises from the exchange of ideas between people. Within the studio, the projects are discussed between people with different backgrounds but with the aim of seeing the same problem from different points of view.
Another fundamental subject for the studio is the health of the environment and their desire to use natural raw materials coming from the context in which the architecture will be built.
How was Mesura born?
More than how, it’s important to explain why MESURA was born. At the end of 2010, our current five partners were graduating from the same school of architecture in Barcelona, hungry to start working in a real life context. Unfortunately, during those years, Europe, and especially Spain, was in the middle of a real estate crisis, caused by the excesses of many years of uncontrolled construction and unethical practice. The situation made us realise that as architects we needed a new set of values.
MESURA opposes the idea of the iconic architect. We have worked on a wide variety of projects since the early beginnings, which has taught us that any design can be innovative, no matter the client, sector or the scale. With that attitude we won the Europan 2011 competition in Dubrovnik with the slogan Back to Citizens, and from that our studio was born. Ever since, we have grown but followed the same course; to generate a positive impact in local communities.
To describe your style you wrote that you are radical in your rigorousness. Could you explain this concept?
As an office of interdisciplinary teams, we constantly learn and evolve. We believe in progress, feedback and agile adjustments. Everything we do is geared towards excellence, refining and surpassing the results we previously achieved. To be rigorous is to not afraid to ask for more, not just from ourselves, but also from our collaborators, providers and clients.
Mesura’s team consists of figures with a different background. Why this choice?
We love the energy. There’s a lot of ideas and eagerness to do and change things –not just in architecture, but also in terms of organization, communication, company philosophy and the role we have as architects today. We tend to hire people with strong personalities. We like to encourage them to engage in the conversation, to give feedback and come up with new ideas, which obviously become more interesting when there is people involved that come from different fields and backgrounds. There is very little hierarchy in the studio. We want our people to grow with us and to be autonomous. MESURA is a shared project.
Many of your projects are offices.
What are the fundamental requirements of contemporary workspaces?
A contemporary workspace is more than just a space to work in. On the one hand, an office space can add a new layer to the city it inhabits, providing the community with a new, additional space in accordance to what they need. On the other hand, the office of today should be a place that activates and inspires, which spatially translates itself into areas where people can meet and connect on a more profound level.
At the same time, the idea of being at home when working is highly relevant in today’s realm. An office needs spaces to disconnect during breaks, to cook or receive healthy meals, to cultivate, to exercise and even play – Depending on the culture and values of the company we build the office for.
Before anything else, the contemporary workspace should be a healthy space in every sense of the word. Architecture has the opportunity to prepare our spaces for a more sustainable future, where people are at the centre of design, and where buildings are green, as self sufficient as possible, and constructed in collaboration with local builders and makers, thus adding to a circular way of doing.
Do you have any favorite materials?
Our favourite materials are local and honest. We use materials that don’t pretend to be something they are not, materials that are natural, and which add to the atmosphere we want to bring into being. Our idea of being sustainable is to be local and durable, for which a responsible use of materiality is key.
What kind of relationship do you have with technology?
Although our design process mainly departs from the organic (research, drawings, models and materials), the development and use of digital tools identifies a new area in architecture, with increasing focus on efficiency and productivity. New technology and ways of working are helping to break down barriers between the different players in the construction process, while harnessing project participants’ talents and insights. Testing our designs digitally has enabled us to work in a timely manner, in order to meet with quality standards and deadlines.
Our office uses 3D printing, virtual reality glasses, and Building Information Modelling (BIM) to test designs rapidly, thus optimising all of our design and construction phases and avoiding issues we could otherwise not have foreseen.
We also have a close connection towards communication tools, as we strongly believe architecture and design should be made transparent, understandable for anyone, as it’s such an important force in our lives. As a result, communication has become part of our office, helping clients to express their spaces and identity, using the right digital communication channels: A website, an application, or even a short film.