I never realised how nostalgic I am, until I started writing. An architect is not supposed to be nostalgic but forward-looking. But I’m nostalgic for a time when mankind was a lot more forward-looking than it is today; for a gradual optimism about the future. That’s the paradox.
"In his book Four Walls and a Roof – The Complex Nature of a Simple Profession, Reinier de Graaf paints an honest picture of what it is like to work as an architect today. De Graaf, who is a partner at OMA and director of AMO, the office’s think tank, provides engaging stories about the banal, everyday reality of working for an acclaimed firm. These vivid, uncompromising narratives are contextualised with shrewd essays about architecture’s lost ideals, its false pretentions, and utter dependence on forces far more powerful than design. We sat down to talk about housing and political mobilisation, his compromises, and his radical pursuit of the mundane."
Mark Minkjan: The book’s journal-like descriptions of encounters with politicians, bureaucrats, real estate developers and celebrated architects are highly entertaining – and often depressing. I had to laugh more than once, for example when reading your account of a meaningless talk by Richard Rogers in Abu Dhabi, in whic...