Fala is a naïve architecture practice based in Porto, led by Filipe Magalhães, Ana Luisa Soares and Ahmed Belkhodja. established in 2013, the atelier works with methodic optimism on a wide range of projects, from territories to birdhouses. Fala’s projects are a medley of formal languages, references, quotations and themes, only regulated by an obsession for clarity; its architecture is both hedonic and post-modern, intuitive and rhetorical. Fala was born in Tokyo’s Nakagin Capsule Tower, where Fala was based for a year writing texts for international magazines about the Metabolist experience. After moving to Porto, Portugal, it retained a fascination for the relationship between intimate spaces and utopian visions.
Filipe and Ana Luisa both studied architecture in Porto before going to the Fakulteta za Arhitekturo in Ljubljana and Tokyo University, respectively. Ahmed Belkhodja, who was born in Lausanne, studied at ETH Zurich as well as Lausanne, Gothenburg and Singapore. All three members started their architecture careers working for Harry Gugger in Basel before moving on to firms in New York and Tokyo. Filipe practiced with SANAA, Ana Luisa with Toyo Ito and Ahmed with New York–based OBRA Architects before joining Atelier Bow-Wow, also in Tokyo. Architizer talked with fala to learn more about the practice and its design process, which includes intricate drawings and bold design statements in built form, peeking into the firm’s overall philosophy on architecture.
A House For A Bird
The drawings that accompany the projects are extremely precise, detailed, beautiful and also a little childlike. Images and drawings complement and contradict each other. Together they create an uneasy whole, unfolding each project as a series of visual metaphors. Collages are impressionist expressions, drawings are frozen rhetorics. Images have feelings, drawings are rational — unbearable sometimes in their seriousness. Collages quote, steal and combine references while searching for beauty in a blunt and naive way. Mistakes become valuable and fascination arises from the visual construction, from the manipulation of fragments in a world dense of references. Intellectual in intention, they are a fragile and humble portraying exercise, the marriage of architecture’s rationality with the inconsistent beauties of reality.
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