Interview with Marjan Colletti for Arch2o

This is the first in a series of interviews which delve into the work and philosophy of a handful of contemporary architects who are actively re(de)fining not only architecture proper, but what it means to be an architect today and, perhaps, in the future.

I believe that technology can act as a great prosthetic aid to transfer mental fluidity to design/material fluidity. However, what I endeavor to discuss in the book is that technology alone will not suffice. On the contrary, technology produces and is a product of innovation, but also, maybe most of all, laziness! Dynamism becomes vital; thus, one must not become dependent on technology and/or methodologies alone. Can this be learned? I think so – at least it can be experienced. One may still not get it. Can it be taught? Maybe. I see this as the most fundamental aspect of what/ the way I teach, whereby I prefer the term ‘coaching’ to ‘teaching’. In a sentence: Architecture begins where common sense ends.

Architect-educator-author-researcher Marjan Colletti, co-founder of marcosandmarjan design limited in London, is currently University Professor and Head of the Institute for Experimental Architecture at the University of Innsbruck Austria; while also acting as Senior Lecturer, Unit 20 Master and Director of Computing at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. His personal work, the work of his students and of his studio marcosandmarjan have been widely published and exhibited world-wide.

Most recently he is the author of Digital Poetics. An Open Theory of Design-Research in Architecture, a monograph wherein he presents “an unconventional and original ‘humanistic’ theory of CAD”, further suggesting “that beyond the generation of innovative engineering forms, digital design has the potential to affect the wider complex cultural landscape of today in profound ways”. In parallel with his rigorous intellectual pursuit of Digital Poetics, his design and research projects continuously push the boundaries of digitality as it relates to architectural design and discourse; including projects as diverse as proposing a self-sufficient city (AgroPolis) along the Delta in Khataba, to a wall comprised of intricately milled cellular components (Algae-Cellunoi) which host 3d-printed vessels designed to cultivate a garden of liquid algae strains.

The interviewer, Zack Saunders (founder of ARCH[or]studio in the US and Arch2O contributing editor) takes this opportunity to speak with Marjan Colletti on teaching, the current/ future state of Architecture, digitality and sterility, his design methodologies, and his latest book. What follows is an interview, though the attempt is to do so with the etymological meaning of the word ‘interview’ in mind: ‘to glimpse’.

The full interview can be found here: