Interview with Georg Rötzel
The Rötzel-Studio has been working on acclaimed project like the BAYER Communication Center in Leverkusen or the I-Pavilion for BMW and is associated with further clients such as BANG & OLUFSEN, MAZDA, VOLVO, HYUNDAI, RODENSTOCK and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. Check out Rötzel Studio's projects here
Hallo Georg! Would you introduce yourself and Rötzel-Studio?
Hello my name is Georg Rötzel, I'm a German architect and I'm the founder of Rötzel Studio, based in Munich. The studio is an architectural design practice, which is actually specialized in architectural design. This might sound rather self-evident, but when you have a close look on the building industry right now, it is absolutely not. The whole process has become incredibly complex, with authorities, developers, many consultants, and other building specialists, having more and more influence in the project. And architects in conventional setups are spending so much time to keep all these crafts together - acting rather like building managers than designers - that they lose their design authority in the process. Often they are simply too busy to focus on design. Rötzel Studio, instead, is successfully focusing on design by strictly following one simple rule: eliminate every distracting side-process to have more time for the actual design work itself. This is only possible for us by using smart technology, like design-to-production or BIM - Building Information Modelling - using design software which concentrates all necessary building and design information in one single 3D file, which is constantly updated for crowds involved, instead of everyone having to draw countless plans every time. That saves an enormous amount of time, which allows us to invest it in the design process instead. And while being the administrator of that very 3D file, Rötzel Studio keeps the design authority until completion, and therefore we can guarantee the final quality. Actually, in the offic, we like to call that process 'direct design' or 'immediate architecture'.
What made you decide to start your own Studio?
Well, I must say, that it was quite clear from the very beginning of my studies, that one day I would start my own studio. To create and design has always been, as well, a personal matter for me, so I wanted to gain as much freedom as possible and as soon as possible. And after quite some experience as an employed architect, being responsible for major designs (such as the German Pavilion for the expo in Milan, for example) I noticed that I still very much love the project, but I was less and less fine with the hierarchies and outdated office politics, which were distracting me from the actual profession itself. And I knew that I can only avoid that by starting my own business. And, additionally, I just felt that the time was right, and there was room for totally design-focused architectural studio. And luckily, I was right - I've never regretted it.
What has been your favorite project to have worked on? Which project most exemplifies Rötzel-Studio's commitment to "timeless quality along with a strong contemporary soul"?
Favorite project... well, I must say, that the favorite project is always the next project! I just really love to design. And the project that most exemplifies the commitment, timeless quality, contemporary soul... that might be the Bayer´s Communication Center in Leverkusen, actually. Here we managed to upgrade an existing building with highly contemporary architectural design, very open and transparent and sleek and bright, while making sure that this space can be converted and flexibly used for many occasions in the future. So I'd like to believe that, let's say in twenty years or so, one will especially appreciate the 2019s aesthetics, while using the space in the way you should do in the year 2039.
Where do you go for inspiration? What movements or individual people have influenced your sensibility?
Well I don't go anywhere specific for inspiration, I feel very lucky when I can say that, since I'm involved in architecture and design, the sense are so sharp and I've never been bored since, because everything which surrounds me is an inspiration! On the contrary, I rather limit the inspiration - I don't read architectural magazines, for example, just to keep myself fresh and forced to come up with totally new ideas. And the biggest influence, for sure, has been the late architect Jan Kaplický. In my very early career, I had the privilege to work closely alongside Jan at Future Systems in London, until he tragically passed away. I have never met a man with such integrity towards his own work. He was a true believer - he truly was believing that when you try hard, design and architecture can contribute to make the world a little better. I have to say, it feels as if he's still looking over my shoulder sometimes. Jan Kaplický - if you don't know him just google him. He should never be forgotten.
What is your studio working on now? Where can we experience your design today?
Well for example, currently we are completing our largest project so far - it's for the Changi Airport Group in Singapore. The Changi Experience Studio, the client, gave us maximum freedom to design some extraordinary spaces there. Most likely it will be opened already when you listen to that interview, so I would say whenever you could make a stop over in Singapore, visit the Changi Experience Studio and I very much hope you like our design.