Follow the material
These methods challenge the traditional architectural toolkit and seek to question the boundaries of the profession. And they do so by working across scales and temporality while always engaging in empirical studies.
“For example, if you work with a material, I’ll suggest you consider the material beyond a commodity. You could metaphorically follow it and perhaps go back to the place of extraction or production, understanding it as part of a larger assemblage of ecologies, cultures, and economies. ”
This kind of experimental, open-minded approach is indicative of Alicia Lazzaroni’s own appetite for knowledge in all of its forms, regardless of field., She had a hard time deciding what to study because she was basically interested in a lot of things at the same time. Ultimately, she chose architecture because it’s one of just a few naturally intersectional fields of study. And so, it feels natural for her to be constantly walking on the edge of the profession, trying to build bridges with other professionals like ethnographers, physicists and philosophers.
A journey of dialogues
In fact, her early career involved a daring, cross-disciplinary itinerant project. With her longtime partner, Antonio Bernacchi (also a teacher at the Aarhus School of Architecture), she undertook a series of more than a hundred interviews with scholars and practitioners across south-east Asia to better understand a very dynamic moment in the region.
Travelling by land over 15,000 km, the pair set out from Singapore, conducting interviews with an extremely heterogenous group of contributors until finally crossing the border into Mongolia. At that point, they’d been offered a job at the Chulalongkorn University of Bangkok by one of their interviewees, and the following years would prove pedagogically formative as they found an environment open to the kind of critical and speculative approach they value.
Alicia Lazzaroni routinely switches between ‘we’ and ‘I’, indicating how she and Antonio Bernacchi have been travelling and working together for so long that they see themselves as a unit.