Architecture Competition Archhive Books' Portable Reading Rooms 2nd prize winner - Renata Wuerkert

We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the 2nd prize winner of our “Archhive Books' Portable Reading Rooms” competition - Renata Wuerkert from Brazil.

2nd prize winner from Brazil

Renata Wuerkert from Brazil

My name is Renata Leinemann and I am a 22 year old architecture student from Brazil. In 2019, I moved to Switzerland to start an internship in Burckhardt + Partner, a company located in Basel. I had been wanting to study architecture abroad to see other points of view. I believe that the dialogue between cultures allows us to enter a world of relevant discussions, worthy debates, complex questions and global participations; important skills for architects to understand the world in which her/his work is going to be. In Brazil, I had worked for two other offices with very different identities. The first one, Aflalo/Gasperini, designs residential and office buildings. While working there, I helped the feasibility department. The second one, Superlimão Studio, focuses on interior design, landscape design, medium and small scale architecture. My experience in Superlimão made me realize that this type of project allows me to connect more with the object and the context. Coming to Switzerland after these other experiences was an interesting way of comparing and analyzing multiple approaches and I am keen to know how I will be able to further investigate this when I go back to São Paulo next year to finish the fifth year of my Bachelor Degree.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where company/ individuals have been involved?

My work experience has led me to participate in projects from diverse scales: from mixed use towers, to retail, residential and even furniture design. I prefer the process of designing small to medium scale architecture, as it allows me to design from a strong concept by understanding the client’s habits and needs. During 6 months of my internship in Superlimão Studio, I was part of the team developing Microsoft’s headquarters in São Paulo. Although it was not a small scale project, the architects focused on every detail. They organized brainstorming sessions with Microsoft workers, and from that we were able to design elements such as the lamps and tiles that could fit into the office’s atmosphere.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

What I am most interested in exploring as an architect, is how people relate to specific spaces, and how one can stimulate these feelings. I believe that being an architect is being creative about space, which means understanding about materials, light, textures, and history. In this sense, our role is to deliver something that people can relate to. It can be a house, a park, a classroom, a hut, a Portable Reading Room.

Why do you participate in architecture vision competitions?

I have had different reasons for participating in architecture vision competitions. Exploring other ways of approaching a project with a diversified team, discussing specific themes that are often neglected by my school, investigating other scales. However, there is always a common reason, to think outside the box. 

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture vision competitions?

I believe that participating in a competition is always a good way to boost creativity and find out more about your qualities and capacities. It is also a good opportunity to join other architects that come from different backgrounds and learn from their process. And finally, it can be very interesting to choose the type of project you want to design, because it teaches you about who you are and who you want to become. So let it be an opportunity for you to explore new ideas the way you like to tell them. It is important to focus on the presentation, always asking yourself, what’s the story behind this project?

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