Eliana Anthea Phoebe Heltschl | Sensory Architecture Competition winner’s interview
Eliana Anthea Phoebe Heltschl
My name is Eliana Anthea Phoebe Heltschl and I am a 29 year old Architect from Austria. I'm originally from Tirol, but I moved to Vienna when I was 18 to study Architecture at the TU Vienna. I finished university last year and now I am currently working in an Office and in my freetime I am working on different projects in a studio that I share with 10 friends of mine.
1. Can you introduce yourself in a personal and professional way?
I was born in Tyrol, Austria and grew up there with three brothers and a sister until I moved to Vienna at 18 to study. Besides my studies, I kept working in architectural offices and even on construction sites to get practical experience. After graduating with honors from the Vienna University of Technology, I started working full time in an architectural office and rented a large studio with a workshop together with some friends of mine. There I work on various architecture competitions, smaller planning commissions, art projects and occasionally build some furniture.
2. What is your design philosophy?
During my studies I learned that it is very important for the quality of my designs to practice “Slow Architecture”. This doesn't mean that I work slowly, but that I deal with it constantly and very intensively and give the design time to develop and hopefully be perfected. I don't want mass production but a building with character. I start from the big picture - urban planning - and work down to the details - the joints. Buildings are designed for its visitors and residents and they should communicate with them, serve and bring them pleasure for a long time.
3. What was your feeling when the winners were announced?
I was more than happy - after all, this was the first essay contest I entered and I'm still very flattered and overwhelmed to have made the top 3 out of so many submissions. I'm looking forward to read the other entries for inspiration and to learn more about the topic.
4. Can you briefly explain your essay writing process, the source of ideas and, your understanding of the topic?
I studied this topic intensively during my studies, read and researched a lot about it, and my thesis was personally my biggest work on this topic. My writing process is relatively insane, to say the least. I always start collecting various outpourings on my part and quotes that fit the topic in one document. In my phone you can always find passages of text that have occurred to me in between (this is what I mean by Slow Architecture - the project I'm working on is always buzzing around in my head - whether I'm on the bus to work, in the shower or at a party) and then I take a few days to work everything out neatly, connect the threads of thought, and layout. And I usually end up having to take on the hardest work: The shortening of the text because I always pack in way too much ;)
5. When and how you were first introduced to the topic of Sensory Architecture?
In my family there are architects and people with an affinity for architecture, and even as children we were always dragged from one building to another and afterwards discussed how the buildings affected us. So, I have always had a connection to this subject.
6. What measures will you take/ taking to introduce the philosophy of sensory architecture to practice?
I read a lot about this topic, I have some architects whose work I respect, and I try to visit and experience a lot of buildings. In my own projects I always try to find out as much as possible about the clients, let them show me what they like and then I try to put myself in their shoes as much as my empathy allows and start designing. I permanently walk through the building in my mind and see every corner, every material, every incidence of light coming together in front of me, as if it were already built reality. My work is done when I want to move in myself.
interview - video
by ELIANA HELTSCHL
by ELIANA HELTSCHL
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