The SMRS office created by the architects João Saraiva Mendes and Ricardo Rosa Santos, has built a consistent course made of works with different scales and programs.
Having collaborated with Risco and Eduardo Souto Moura, the architects describe the adaptation to a different reality, embracing all projects and challenges that somehow contribute to the evolution of their work.
— Approach —
“The architectural approach is always ambiguous, you always start from a white sheet, and the first draw is always very hard, that's the difficulty in architecture.
I think it always starts from the same premises, we always start on the idea of creating something that's integrated in the location, with a low profile presence as a project, that doesn't come out as ephemeral. This of course, in our heads, what we think. Not ephemeral, discreet, but in our point of view, very well worked with the surroundings …The terrain, the heights, natural light...And I think that approach is the same for everything, for every project.
The starting point is always the same, either it's bathroom for a friend or a football stadium, the starting is always the same.”
— Architecture in Portugal —
“…it’s a bit seen as someone doing some sketches, on an artistic wave kind of thing. And the projects are actually much more than that. They are an artistic product of course, with a highly debatable and subjective component, and that often undermines the professional side of all of this. This subjectivity is hard, but if it has a technical work behind, well worked, well grounded, and well explained to the client, it becomes much easier.”
— Materials —
“I think there's always a tendency, I have it, to do something very homogeneous. Almost choosing one material per project…Now the thing is, glass is very expensive, iron and steel are very expensive, so basically in Portugal you work with the same materials…bricks and plaster. You can't go much far from that.
The controlled costs in construction are very important because you need to make a choice.It's a bit hard to explain this but "We'll use this material but the house needs to be smaller" and the client raises his hands "not a smaller house!
The material we like the most is the material the client can afford, to that specific project, otherwise it won't be done.”