Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Conversation with Catalan architect Joan Ramon Farré Burzuri

I had the pleasure to have a virtual conversation on architecture and art with Catalan architect Joan Ramon Farré Burzuri. I met Joan Ramon via Julia Kay's Portrait Party and he was very kind to answer me patiently. For the readers, I would like to say that my mother tongue being French, I do think in French and therefore my English has a different flavor and many mistakes...

B: Hola Joan Ramon, you are an architect and you are an artist. Your drawings of houses and buildings are, not surprisingly, very good and accurate, the architect background, but you do portraits, very precise and also very loose when applying colours, the artist side. Did you always draw, made art?

JR: First was the love for drawing,... then came the dissatisfaction with the job done.
But the flame was already lit and never faded, and this was the beginning of my passion for art.

B: Did you do a lot of portraits before joining JKPP, or first time?

JR: I was always terrified of drawing portraits. I never draw any portrait before my accession to JK'sPP.

I always considered it is the more difficult job in the world.

In a year that I belong to this group, I learned a lot from my colleagues and I discovered a new way to expression.

B: Is it common among architects to do art, portraits etc...?

JR: Within the guild of architects you can find scientists, writers, musicians, painters, sellers, sportive, bon vivants, and all the possibilities between all concepts .
Some of them have a passion for drawing, but I've never met one architect drawing portraits.

B: Does painting, drawing, make you see buildings, structures, differently?

JR: To me is not very different if I'm drawing a building, a rural landscape or the face of a beautiful woman or a child. Really, the important thing for me is to express the emotion that makes in my inside the contemplation of the objective.
In this sense, the culmination of this idea will be the abstraction.
(still so far of my usual work...)

B:. When I look at modern architecture I see a lot of square boxes with symmetry, aligned windows, no colors, blend etc.... I am not thinking just of skyscrapers but also at all the smaller buildings that make a city.

With modern technologies,being so much sophisticated than before, it seems that style is less exuberant, very severe, like always designed by engineers.
Wouldn't it be possible to have different shapes, to have curves, to break these straight lines, to have other angles than 90 degrees? Gaudi does come to my mind but also Gothic cathedrals, roman arches ...
Are curves a big no no for architects?
Are colors a big no no?

JR: When I read the first part of the question, one word appears in my mind: “minimalism”...

But in the global actual culture, the things aren’t so simples.

Technology has always influenced both process, design and constructive.

The incorporation of reinforced concrete "liberated" the tyranny of cubic shapes recommended by the prismatic form of the brick and allowed the construction of volumes with more freedom.
There are plenty of beautiful examples. For respect to a master of modern architecture, the first of them can be Notre Dame du Haut by Le Corbusier.


At the same time, the incorporation of computer as a tool for project, gave wings to the creation of new shapes and also to the way of representation of these projects.

The first example that comes to mind is the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, designed by Frank O. Gehry.

But this is not the only one, going to let me recommend you a stroll through various examples of how imagination, art and architecture meet and we "give away" beautiful buildings.

I suggest the links below, there are for teams of architects that I think can illustrate the idea of this happy meeting.

Frank O. Ghery: http://www.gehrytechnologies.com/
Enric Miralles/Benedetta Tagliabue: http://www.mirallestagliabue.com/
Morphosis: http://www.morphosis.com/
Coop Himmelblau: http://www.coop-himmelblau.at/
Zaha Hadid: http://www.zaha-hadid.com/home

As you can see, the curves are more a problem for the builder than for the architect.

Referring to your question about the colors, thinking as a creator of forms, I would reply that if a volume is beautiful in itself, it no need to apply color, light will highlights her beauty.

I recognize that maybe it is more an argument from a sculptor than from an architect.

B: After looking at the links you gave me,I agree with you,it is art, imagination and architecture. I see a lot of new shapes, curves and different angles.
Some are so amazing, considering the long way with constraints and compromises from drawing to building.

Back to colour, reading your comment, I have the impression that architects have and develop an eye for volumes, shapes, and space.

Colour, for me, should not be a a decoration, it is part of the object, building, and with a function, like in this example:


Green was a perfect choice for these balconies, it was chosen because here in winter we are in need of green.

Thank you very much Joan Ramon.

Joan Ramon's photostream in Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/42114709@N05
Benedicte's photostream in Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/bendelachanal/


  1. Great interview!
    Joan, you can meet some other architects making portraits because they are here at the party - Tim Schorre comes immediately to mind, but there are others, including someone who just joined. I will add them here as I remember. (Or introduce yourselves as you read the blog)

  2. Good!
    Joan ramón qué buena entrevista!!!!

  3. Joan Ramon Farre7 June 2011 at 14:00

    Thanks Julia!
    I did'nt know that Tim Schorre is an architect, too.
    I'll be happy to meet colleagues interested in this nice discipline.

  4. Joan Ramon Farre7 June 2011 at 14:01

    Muchas gracias Inma!

  5. A big thank you to both Joan Ramon and Benedicte! Great interview and I feel I now know Joan Ramon even better!

  6. Wonderful interview, great insight into interviewer and interviewee's way of thinking/seeing. Thanks for posting

  7. thank you all for these wonderful comments, it was very nice doing it.

  8. Wonderful! This is great stuff! Thanks so much for sharing you perspective. I am inspired. -Amy

  9. Fabulous conversation! It so communicates the beauty available through making things and the ways that drawing can be a foundation for things large and small. And Joan Ramon's drawings are amazing!

  10. Joan Ramon Farré Burzuri9 June 2011 at 02:47

    Thanks Kim,Mauree, Amy and alethakuschan for your visit and nice comments.

    I apologize for having missed a good example of architect, artist and good portrait painter .
    She’s “smooth_design” (Beata Wielgos_Dunikowska), by the way, she’s the mother of Miron, the child-artist portrayed, whose example is in the interview with Benedicte.
    Przepraszam, Beata...

    These are her flickr pages:

  11. Really enjoyed reading this insightful interview!
    Thank you both!

  12. Joan Ramon...
    I am just sleeping volcano :)
    Thank you very much :)))))))))))))))

    Wonderful, full of inspiration interview!

  13. Joan Ramon Farre Burzuri9 June 2011 at 13:49

    Thanks Gila.

    Beata, thanks for your comment, as you know volcano have a great potential energy :) ...and now, I must apologize one more time...
    For all friends, the girl in the picture above is Nika, sister of Miron and daughter of Beata.

  14. Molt bé, très bien, very good! Thanks both for this fantastic interview!!
    I love the fountain in the video. It adds the "sound" dimension to the architecture. And the coolness, so needed in the Summer in this part of the world.

  15. Joan Ramon Farré Burzuri22 June 2011 at 04:25

    Zoraida, moltes gràcies!, merci beaucoup, thaaaanks so much.
    quan vulguis pots gaudir el remor de la font en un reclau tranquil a Gràcia, (plaça de Narcís Oller).

    I should add to the list of architects, fans of the drawing of portrait, two excelents examples: Barbara Luel and Hans Mürkens.

    1. Only just found this .
      Thank you Joan

  16. Just to keep the JKPP architect/portraitist list going:

    Barbara Luel
    Beata Wielgos_Dunikowska
    Joan Ramon Farre Burzuri
    Tim Schorre

    Anyone else, please chime in!