Paradigma Ariadné
Growing everyday
Budapest, HU

Paradigma Ariadné is a Budapest based architecture studio founded by Attila Róbert Csóka, Szabolcs Molnár, and Dávid Smiló. Having grown steadily to an 8-person studio, they now employ a wide range of instruments offered by their professional praxis and address the built environment in the context of the market with clients ranging from individuals, institutions, companies, to local governments.

 

Defining years at university

We were working together during university years as members of the so-called Advanced Architecture College (AAC) in Budapest. Our years at AAC defined a bold basis for us, where we learned to sustain an organisation and apply theory in architecture at the same time. On the other hand, we also experienced the richness of our practice as the main objective of the AAC was to explore different ways of practicing architecture. After our time in AAC, we worked for 2-3 years in Hungary and in other European countries as well as in several studios. After these inputs, it was quite clear to us that we have our own ideas—not simply on architecture but on the ways an architectural practice should work.

 

A surreal practice with too many meetings

The studio developed in recent years, and we have grown to eight people now. 2019 was the first year when we, the founders, had that feeling sometimes in the office which feeling the character of Marcello Mastroianni probably had in the movie 8½. It is that awkward situation when you enter the office after two days of meetings and you ask yourself: What are these things for? Too many meetings with clients and management work can distance us from the reality of architecture making in the office. And at this time, what really matters are your colleagues with whom you work, whether they assimilate the studio’s approach enough or not. We are happy to say that we have two really talented project architects in the studio now: Lilla Árkovics and Bernadett Csendes who create things that are just Paradigma Ariadné-like enough without the need for extra touches from us.

 

Avoiding night shifts except at home

The work at the studio start between 8 and 9 o’clock in the morning and finishes at 6 in the evening but mostly at 5. We, the founders are already fathers, there is no chance or will to have more time for office work. In this sense, we are really far from that ‘young condition’ of running a practice. Night shifts are quite rare, we are only awake during the night next to babies. On Mondays we always have a kick-off meeting, to discuss with all the eight people in the studio what is to come for that week and what the developments with each project are. Every two months, we sit together with all the colleagues one by one. Both of them and us can give feedback about the office life, about our performance as directors and about their performance as colleagues.

 

Towards a serious architectural office space

The studio space does not really express our identity yet. In the last four years we grew rapidly, and we constantly had to move to bigger offices. As rent in Budapest is now really high, our existence in office spaces has always been a compromise. We now have two rooms: one for the directors, which is also a room for meetings and another room with 6 workstations. Again, we are getting far from that kind of young practice image: we have proper printers, no laptops, two screens for each station, whiteboards and so on. Only few things are hanging on the wall: the schedule of the next two months, and A4 prints with drawings and renders of running projects. But one thing is very identical: there is a massive hill of books on the meeting table. We are addicted to ordering the latest international publications on architecture every month.

 

Creating and achieving an image of a practice

The first two years of us were about survival and for this reason, we loudly say yes to any kind of inquiries from furniture design, through survey drawing, to proper architectural design. But we were constantly communicating openly our wished approach to architecture: we do design with extras and we do cultural management as well. All our contributions to competitions and all our media appearances served this single purpose: to create an image of a practice, without really showing finished work, obviously because we had nothing finished. This was a heroic mission. For now this incantation has become our reality. Clients who really need that extra value which we price into our design processes are reaching out to us. I think we’ve been lucky in achieving our expectations without limitations. 

 

Trying to predict future trends

One big challenge is to step from installation scale to building scale white maintaining that experimental and curious approach that we started at the small scale. We have to convince people that it is worth it to ask us to design their homes and investments as we are able to carry and deliver the same creativity which they can see in our small-scale project. To build up this trust is the biggest challenge. While now it is also clear to us that the realisation of a building from the first sketches can last five years or more. This is the timeframe within which you have to be consistent even if you change your mind. You have to rebuild your enthusiasm from milestone to milestone, year by year. And also, this nature of architecture shows that you as architect have to predict the future tendencies, you have to feel what will be trending in the future. You draw a line today, but how will that line will be presented in the “market” of transatlantic architectural culture many years later? What you design today has to be competitive for at least the next ten years.

02 Paradigma Ariadne team

01 Paradigma Ariadne office

Paradigma Ariadne Photo Booth Pantheon min

Paradigma Ariadne Tiny Arc de Triomphe min

Paradigma Ariadne House With a Hundred Rooms min

Photography Courtesy of Paradigma Ariadné






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