Christian Coigny

On Architecture, Familiarity & Beauty

On Architecture, Familiarity & Beauty


Alireza Razavi on the perception of architecture

It happened at the 2016 Architecture Biennale in Venice. A video was running at the Arsenale showing a newly built space and garden (I believe it was in East Africa) which the journalist was visiting with the host. Finishing the tour, she spread her arms and said: “Look at this lovely place.”

I have been lucky enough to work with great people in my career. I have lived and worked on three continents and I have been fortunate enough to attend places of higher education in different countries. However, never in my academic or professional years, have I remotely come close to the notion of a “lovely place”.

I cannot think of a more un-radical, un-intellectual wording (definitely insulting to some design professionals) and I think anyone involved with architecture would be hard pressed to recall a single instance in which they came across these two words combined together from someone with a “higher idea” of architecture. A “lovely place” sounds girly and flowery at best. Definitely off-limit for a self-respecting architect, male or female.

Yet, when I heard them it instantly struck me that –as an architect– there could not have been a more honest way of expressing the positivity and purpose of a space.

Words: Alireza Razavi
Photos: Simone Bossi

Quest of meaningfulness

Quest of meaningfulness