Interview in Interior Architecture of China (IAOC)

Chinese architectural publication Interior Archicture of China (IAOC) interviews Jaime Magén in a report «The fifth elevation of buildings. Dialogue between buildings and the sky».


IAOC: When you are expected to finish a special roof design, what kinds of architectural or engineering factors will be in your consideration?

JM: The main factor is always using form, light and materials to create an appropiate interior space. Another important point is to integrate the building in the surrounding context.

IAOC: Le Corbusier had elucidated that the roof garden is the fifth point, compensating for the green area consumed by the building and replacing it on the roof. What`s your opinion on roof garden?

JM: We used the roof garden in antoher building, Environmental Department of Zaragoza City Council, in a particular context: a building, located in a park, whose roof is publicly accesible and clearly visible from a near residential buildings, much taller than it. The roof garden is a good solution in aesthetic and technical terms (improves the isolation of the building) but is is not n universal solution because it depends on the adaptation of the plans to the weather changes and the amount of light inciding the site, not always optimal.

IAOC: Besides the basic funcion of roof, in your opinion, how will roofs change in the future?

JM: Roof will increasingly become an energy supplier, with the development of renewable energies. Depending on the context, the chance to create new public space on the roof will also be demanded.

IAOC: What are the existing deficiencies concerning roof design?

JM: Roofs have usually to hold lots of mechanical equipment and devices related to techncial facilities and sometimes it is difficult to integrate them in the overall design of the roof.

IAOC: Would you like to share some projects with exceptional roof impressed you? Why?

JM: Sidney Opera House, by Jorn Utzon, is a masterpiece, by creating a group of roofs as a symbol. Amsterdam orphanage, by Aldo van Eyck, defines the whole building by adding simple volumes. Museum of Altamira Caves in Santillana del Mar, by Juan Navarro Baldeweg, integrates the building into the environment through several terraced green roofs.

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