Giancarlo Mazzanti, the founder of El Equipo Mazzanti answered our questions on his perspective of glass and its various uses in their projects.
What concepts does glass as a building material evoke in your imagination?
Transparency, dialogue, expression, freedom, flexibility, and movement are characteristics that are always visible with the glass in the architectural projects, giving liveliness to space typically governed by tradition.
Which criteria determine your preference in using glass (insulation, reflectivity, color, etc.) in the design process of your projects?
The idea is to develop visually related spaces that can still be acoustically separated. In educational buildings curtains allow these areas to be open or closed, allowing users to see and learn from each other. This is a strategy of curiosity: If I see what others are doing, I get curious, in order to see I go there, I want to interact. Each space also generates reflections that create the sensation of being inside a Dan Graham sculpture.
Which building do you find the most impressive in its usage of glass, why?
The Barcelona Pavilion, because of the relationship between the different areas and the way glass gives the sensation of everything being multiplied in space.
What are the attributes of glass that add value to building design?
Our intention is to create environments that are able to generate and foster unimaginable activities for their occupants. The buildings can become a living metaphor and give value to the people who participate in it and have an impact in its urban context.
Interior and exterior spaces can be dissolved by using the glass to create the illusion of certain elements floating. Yet, they are supported in void spaces where vegetation can grow or other elements can appear. The idea is to create projects by working with modular and repetitive elements capable of growing and changing through time.
How do these values reflect on your projects, how do you prefer to use glass?
Every element of the project’s focus has its own intention in a way that it is able to create connections that become learning experiences. The project moves away from extreme planning and inflexible programming of the building and gives the users a space to explore, experiment, and interact.
Could you share your vision for the creative use of glass in architecture?
It has to become an element of experimentation. For example, how to turn glass into a structural element has been one of the major challenges in our practice and the answer could give more versatility to the application of the material.
Photography: © Alejandro Arango (2-7: Fundacion Santa Fe Expansion, 8-13: Atlántico Kindergartens)