For 2019, I have many things to do. One of them is the East Thiers Station that is a railway station in Nice, France. It is now under construction and is a very large project that is almost a whole city block. The program has multiple functions such as retail, a hotel, and it has a culture for working and living. Another project I am working on is also in France in Toulouse, near the Pyrenees. I proposed an unusual tower in a city that has low-rise buildings. The tower has cascading gardens, transforming the whole function of this multipurpose tower including functional public space, hotels, residential, and retail in the center of Toulouse.
This spring, we will open a public art installation in Holland at the Paleis Het Loo in the amazing Baroque gardens. I am designing sculptures entitled “The Garden of Earthly Worries” that explores the connection between humans and nature, as well as climate change and the threats to our planet such as pollution.
We are also designing a museum project in Northern Chile that is a museum of anthropology. We call it “The Dragon Museum” because it’s about the dunes, the mountain, the desert, and the ocean. It’s a very interesting project in a beautiful city.
And lastly, I’ll mention one large project in Tampere, Finland. We are building a large scale development in the city where there will be an arena where the decks cover the old railway lines that have cut the city in half and now it will not just be a stadium for ice hockey, but for other sports and public events as well, and also part of an urban project where there will be residential living, working offices, a hotel, it is really a 21st-century transformation of the city of Tampere.
I think new technologies such as artificial intelligence, smart design, and a new understanding of how to create sustainable cities are all very important. Not only in the development of these places but how to design a city that is easy to live in and thrive. Architecture is not only about construction but also about society and ethical values of society. It’s about democratic participation of citizens in their cities. This is I think the main thrust that we need to be developing with technologies in cities all over the world.
2018 was a very exciting year for the studio. We opened the MO Museum of Modern Art in Vilnius, Lithuania. I have been lucky to have designed many museums, but this is the first museum for modern art. This was really a wonderful project to create in a beautiful, historic city and is a building that is both part of the tradition of the city, but also breaks new ground on how the museum space is used for people to enjoy art.
I was also very lucky to design a new Christmas Star for the iconic Rockefeller Center tree for Swarovski. The new star is covered with 3 million Swarovski crystals and we also designed a pop-up boutique right in the middle of Rock Center.
And perhaps, more complex and time-consuming than some of my architectural projects. I published a book called “Edge of Order” that is about the creative process. It’s not just a monographic project but really an exploration of the creative process and includes poetry and art, music and philosophy – not just speaking on the idea of building. The core idea is that anybody can be an architect. I wanted to empower others to participate in design and architecture – to essentially demystify the process.