Mr Hurt, the work of the designers belonging to the OAI is governed by a series of very strict regulatory and technical standards. This being the case, how can they fully express their creativity?
“Designers, architects, interior architects, consulting engineers and urban planners adopt a holistic, creative, innovative, independent and responsible approach to allow them to come up with tailored, high-quality, context-specific solutions to shape our built environment. Together with the contracting authority, they need to be given time to create and to produce a schedule and a budget for the project and its short, medium and long-term implications in accordance with the ‘Design first, build smart’ principle. With this in mind, it is important to highlight the measures that can be taken to simplify the relevant administrative process in the fields of regional planning, urban development and construction in keeping with the so-called Omnibus Law and the introduction of the Guide Urbanisme urban planning guide (www.guide-urbanisme.lu). This include adopting coherent and prioritised texts that eliminate any duplication or overlap, contradictions and incompatibilities, with the support of the players operating in the field, notably with a view to trialling projects. Any new regulations must be strictly necessary and proportionate to the intended purpose. Obviously, no legal text will ever replace the creative and responsible actions of a professional.”
How would you describe architectural and technical creativity in Luxembourg in comparison with neighbouring countries? Is there a distinctive Luxembourg ‘touch’?
“Yes, particularly as Luxembourg is very much a cutting-edge laboratory for new concepts when it comes to sustainable and resilient construction, in terms of both design and execution. The combining of 5 different professions – architect, consulting engineer, interior architect, urban planner-developer and landscape architect/landscape engineer – within the same professional organisation is somewhat uncommon but certainly makes it easier to coordinate the services provided. The creation of multi-disciplinary project management teams results in efficient collaboration that uses the synergies that exist between various designers to better meet the requirements of the contracting authority in terms of quality guarantees, sticking to budgets and time frames and simplifying contractual relations. Luxembourg’s position at the very heart of Europe puts it at a crossroads that fuels high-quality architectural design and technology, not to mention innovation, through both interregional and international exchange. Its location is also conducive to the creation of multilingual and multicultural teams, and all of these influences combine to give Luxembourg’s construction industry an identity unlike any other. Then, of course, there is the precision with which the work is monitored onsite, which results in a flawless execution. The openness that these professionals demonstrate towards the rest of the world is further accentuated by the fact that many office personnel have studied abroad, which gives them not only a certain personal cultural enrichment but also a greater ability to adapt to foreign markets and contracting authorities from a wide variety of backgrounds. With a number of major international clients deciding to open branches in Luxembourg over recent years, firms belonging to the OAI have had the opportunity to acquire expertise and significant experience that will undoubtedly prove useful in future projects.
Where do architecture and engineering stand alongside other creative industries such as design, in particular, and are there any concrete pathways between these two spheres? How would you like to further develop interaction and synergies between architecture, engineering and the creative industries?
“Architecture, engineering and design have never been isolated spheres; in fact, they are often required to interact in some way. Many architects also offer this type of service out of personal interest and in response to the requests of contracting authorities seeking a tailored approach to their project, down to the very last detail. It is also interesting to see the major impact that technological developments are having in this respect. Take, for example, the effect that industrialisation had on architectural trends such as Jugendstil in the late 19th Century and later Bauhaus. The possibilities that are now available to us with regards to digitalisation are certainly opening up new horizons. This evening event organised by Luxinnovation’s Creative Industries Cluster in conjunction with the OAI will also provide an opportunity to highlight the ‘Architecture, Interior Architecture and Design Continuum’. It is important, however, to increase contact with other creative industries, in fields that might initially appear to have less of a connection with those in which our members usually operate. After all, encouraging such interaction, along with a greater mutual familiarity between such sources of creativity, can, in fact, give rise to new collaborative opportunities and applications”.