Voice of an architect: Mangera Yvars Architects

One of the reasons we wanted to feature Mangera Yvars Architects in our Voice of an Architect series is because we have always been impressed by the firm's commitment to the cultural impact of design beyond the building. With a focus on sustainable cities and the way architecture can influence not only the way people interact with a building but also how buildings can influence the way people work, live and play, the London and Barcelona-based firm's ethos of "architecture as landscape" is one of inherent interest to us. Here, Ali Mangera, owner and director of Mangera Yvars Architects, discusses design philosophy and reveals his favourite buildings.   Who or what inspires you? At MYAA, we are inspired by people. People turn cities into theatre and events. People inspire because they represent our human interest, our hopes, our desires and our aspirations. People form communities and they collaborate, which leads to invention and progress. People come in different shapes and sizes and they may have different customs, but beneath the skin, people all have the same wants and desires, which is happiness and fulfilment. As architects, we have an obligation to people. We must acknowledge those not just with the loudest voice but also those with no voice at all. It's not about how great we are as designers but how great people feel in what we design.
Unité d’habitation by Le Corbusier
What is your favourite building and why? The Unité d'habitation by Le Corbusier or dwellings in a Turkish Doğan Village are at opposite ends of the design spectrum but they both make sense because they have cultural and social relevance. The works of Gaudi rise above what makes sense; they are pure art, yet they are accessible, immediate and have legacy. What would a tourist remember more: the Rennes Cathedral in France or Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona? We love buildings past and present that are memorable, rising above the ordinary into the world of the sublime.
Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia
What is your favourite project you have worked on and why? Buildings are like children - they all need love, even when they’ve left you and found their occupants. But in our case, The Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies in Doha is a tremendous project with great spirit and it has helped to change political and social discourse on both learning and theological space. Its impact goes beyond the ordinary and it will provide a legacy for generations. We’re keen on ‘disruptive’ architecture and to invent new ways to use space. We worked on a world cup stadium that could be turned into a museum and cultural space and we’ve created a supermarket with an organic community garden on its roof for the public. We’re also working on a floating resort and arts and culture district, which is interactive and accessible to the public - its vital architecture is not a passive backdrop but requires engagement and participation.
The Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies
The Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies
Do you have a favourite quote or motto? Less is too little.   What is the most satisfying part of being an architect? Having god-like powers but failing to understand our own mortality.   How would you describe your design philosophy? Be happy to make people happy.   Click to read more interviews in our Voice of an Architect series.    

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