Syed Fawad Hussain, interview – Евразийская Премия
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Syed Fawad Hussain (Pakistan)

Chief architect of Metropolitan Studio of Architecture

 «‎Architecture is more important than money and customer’s whims»‎

The award ceremony of the winners of the contest “Eurasian Prize 2018” United architects from different parts of the world on one site. The event was also attended by architect from Pakistan, founder and chief architect of Metropolitan Studio of Architecture said Fawad Hussain (Syed Fawad Hussain). He shared his view on the trends of architecture, and also spoke about his impressions of the competition and Yekaterinburg. Recall that the awarding of the winners of the international competition of architecture and design “Eurasian Prize” was held in Yekaterinburg 5-7 December in the framework of the forum ARCH EURASIA.

—Do you know the principles on which a modern architecture stand?
— In my opinion, today architecture is developing due to two factors – technology and science. Today, if the city wants to develop, it must introduce technology and scientific achievements. As an architect, I understand this very well. But, unfortunately, not we, architects, make decisions how and what to build. We only develop and offer projects. That is, cities should be developed on the basis of technology and scientific achievements, architects must become members of the teams that make decisions. They must have real levers of power in their hands. Then we can move forward faster.

— How do you interact with those who make decisions in a real situation?
— During the construction of an object there are always two sides: the architect and the customer. And we always try to find mutual understanding with the client. As the result, it does not happen that we ordered one thing, and we did something else at its discretion. Anyway, we’re making concessions.

— So in Pakistan, money is everything?
— Like everywhere else in the world. The only thing I would like to note is that we, architects, set ourselves the task to convey to the customer our message, that is, to explain and justify our project, to try to prove why the implementation in its original form will be the right solution. If the architect fails to convey his message to the customer, to insist on his own, then he is not so professional. That is, nowadays it is not enough to be a good architect, you also need to be a good negotiator, and you need to be able to achieve your goals.  I am convinced that architecture should not depend on the client. An architect should always be able to bring his ideas to the end. Architecture is more important than money and the whims of the customer. Of course, in reality it is not always possible to achieve their own. But we must strive for this.

— What architectural practice, would you estimate as good? What did impress you over the last years?
— I would not name some separate buildings. Probably there were some good ideas. Nevertheless, if you really want something concrete, I would single out Frank Gehry’s creations. For example, in Prague there is his building “Dancing house”. Or in the Spanish city of Bilbao the Guggenheim Museum is built. I like that he does not just design a house, but lays there some concepts, fantasies.

— On the level of the Russian government today is very popular to make the city “smart”. What do you consider a “smart city” and how do you assess the prospects of this concept?
— The term “smart city” originally came from the capitalist environment, from some large corporations. Therefore, I would not use that term. There is something in this term that replaces a man. However, I think we don’t need smart cities, we need smart people. The investments must go for not to make the cities “smart”, but to make people smart. First of all, you need to invest in education, not just in some technology.

— Let’s talk about our forum ARCH EURASIA and the international contest “Eurasian Prize”. Surely, this is not the first such event in your professional life. What impressions did these events leave in your life?
— When I found out that my project won the competition, I really wanted to come here. And everything that happens here is amazing to me. And a warm welcome, and interesting interlocutors, and a very rich business program.
I am sure that both the forum and the competition have become important events for your city Yekaterinburg. These are two more ways for the city to make itself known to the world. Thanks to these events, we learned that there is a region of the Urals, that there is a city of Yekaterinburg, that it stands on the border of Europe and Asia.

— What associations do you have when you think about our city, what epithets could you give it?
— I think your city is both cold and warm. The weather is cold and the people are warm. As for architecture, I saw a mixture of historical heritage and modern buildings. It feels good. This is what many cities need. In addition, one of the modern trends in the world is the protection of the environment. I can see that you have a lot of green areas in the city. Yekaterinburg should use this factor for its own popularization. Your city is focused on the environment – and this is its advantage.

Fawad Hussein
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