2001
Optimistic realism
Luxembourg, LU

2001 is an architecture company based in Luxembourg. Working from a renovated barn, they aim at a double production: both physical and built, as much as intellectual and cultural. 2001 thinks and produces an architecture reduced to the essential, responding in a rational and coherent way to the urges and needs of contemporary society.

 

Dealing with existential questions

Renovating a suburban kitchen. No glamour, but instead existential questions on what the role of an architect is, and who you are (coming home from a foreign city), to what can architecture be reduced. Parallelly, the office produced exhibition designs and installations, which established close relations to the art institutions, and eventually made us produce the Luxembourg Pavilion in Venice.

 

Dealing with pressure to build

Looking back, the political post-crisis transition and the end of the Juncker era with the rise of the VAT gave us a boost: developers needed to produce housing projects literally overnight. That's how the office got kick-started and when Sergio joined as partner. The pressure was immense, so the strategies on what to do and what not to do had to be very clear, the economical arguments needed to be bulletproof…

 

A suffering private and social life

Since we're managing the entire processes of our projects and run the construction sites, we have a harsh rhythm of being in the office at 07:00 and rarely leaving before 19:00. We consider it a new kind of proletarian situation, which should be collectively addressed by the profession. It's the expression of the suppression of cultural questions in exchange for a mere existential economical service approach. It obviously makes our private and social lives suffer.

 

Working from a renovated old barn

We have renovated an old barn in the middle of the 2nd city in Luxembourg. There, we (currently 9) all work in one large space. Each of us has the same desk, the same chair and roughly the same equipment. The office has a meeting room and a library on top of which are the archives, downstairs a kitchen/meeting room, a project "war-room", sample library, printing area, model room and of course sanitary spaces. To the east and west the barn opens into a courtyard, in which we have lunch or take a coffee break if the weather allows for it.

 

Producing architecture on a tight budget

Since we started in the middle of the economic crisis and developed a sensitivity for construction economics, we seem to be stuck in this: producing architecture on a tight budget. But it's ok, since it links us closely to the reality of how projects are mounted and can come into existence. The toughest reality-check on a daily basis is that social/economical situation of each collaborator and ourselves is only evolving very slowly if ever. We are in stark opposition to the rest of society in Luxembourg and that is troubling. It also makes it hard to keep good people and teams together in the long run.

 

Dealing with the BIM imposition

Our current challenge is to master the transition from private to public clients, with new contracts and rhythms. Furthermore, we want to create a programmatic expertise and be able to integrate the technical challenges in sustainable manners. The country has engaged a top-down implementation of BIM standards, that we will have to face and master in order to be able to speak of architecture and not just tools or techniques.



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Photography Courtesy of 2001






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