“ I truly believe that in order to make good architecture you have to completely change your personality as an architect. Ten or twenty years ago we were artists: now we are advisers. Architecture needs much more complex personalities right now. Because of the financial crisis, a lot of the investors’ trust in architecture is gone and the social responsibility is high for architects. They have to able to change people’s way of thinking on ethical behavior.“
Gergely Paulinyi: Architecture means everything in my life, besides family. I’ve wanted to be an architect since I was five years old, when I found my grandfather’s books and drawings from the university.
Andreea Robu-Movilă: Was he an architect?
G.P.: He was also an architect. Unfortunately, he passed away before I was born, but finding his belongings was the first time I got in touch with architecture. My mother is an art historian so critical thinking has always been a part of my life. I got a scholarship in London which opened my views to the world: it is a completely different educational system and it really changed my life. After the university, I started to work with Mr. Andreas Reith and we soon became the flag holders of sustainability. We became market leaders in Hungary because nobody paid attention to sustainability during those times. Nowadays, Paulinyi & Partners has more than 60 colleagues, friends basically, and we are the largest architectural office in the country focusing on these goals.
A.R.M.: Was there a moment in your career that influenced your path in a meaningful way?
G.P.: There are two points I can identify. The first one was meeting Andreas: he is a marvelous guy. He is a technology-focused, very creative architect, whom I was working with for nearly twenty years.The second important junction was the economic crisis, when energy efficiency and sustainability were brought on to the stage.
A.R.M.: Instead of falling down, you have started to grow.G.P.: Yes! We started to understand our clients economically and strategically in our projects. The third point was probably the creation of a new brand with the director of development.
A.R.M.: Rebranding? Why did you feel rebranding was the thing to do?
G.P.: Because we wanted to take responsibility for our actions and for our products. We didn’t want it to be a firm without a face.
A.R.M.: So you invested more in PR, communication and sharing your values?
G.P.: Sharing values! Communication is just after that!
A.R.M.: Do you focus on sharing your values through your projects?
A.R.M.: Which values do you appreciate the most in an architect?
G.P.: Ethical design!
A.R.M.: Can you develop this idea?
G.P.: Ethical design is based on creating something really honest and genuine by involving all the participants. That is why is ethical: because we are focusing on all the participants during the whole cycle of the project’s life. We don’t want to exit after the design phase, so we’re involved in the program iteration and the maintenance of the building.
A.R.M.: How do you appreciate the complexity in a person? Does it refer to his ability to approach different fields of interest?
G.P.: Absolutely! I really appreciate a heuristic approach.
A.R.M.: How is your office organized?
G.P.: Basically, we are a workflow organized team, so the space is structured to meet workflow requirements. We use an open space in order to be able to reorganize very fast. We have plenty of meeting rooms depending on the size of the team and the activity and the largest one can take fifty people. We have a lot of creative places, a modeling room and a special hub where we can organize exhibitions or certain performances. It is quite a democratic approach.
A.R.M.: Are people organized in teams?
G.P.: Absolutely! But the teams always reorganize because we are project-centered.
A.R.M.: Do they follow the project until the end?
G.P.: We used to have departments – a design department, a general department, and a deciding board. This structure did not completely support everyone to follow the project from the beginning until the end. Recently, we restructured our company: we created project based teams where every fellow architect are able to learn the whole process of a project.
A.R.M.: Can you describe your favorite project – the one you’re the most proud of?
G.P.: BIODOME/ HUNGARY/ “The largest recent European zoo development, Pannonia Park” because of its mission, design and complexity. The other favorite is the Budapest ONE: a huge office building, more than 1,000.00 square meters, fully parametric design. It is very energy-efficient and what is interesting about this building is its fully optimized design process. We learned how to reduce energy consumption with “ancient tools” like natural ventilation and lighting.
A.R.M.: Have you used IoT (Internet of Things)?
G.P.: Not on this project. It was designed in 2013, but with Etele Plaza, the third largest shopping Centre in Budapest, we will use a lot of smart IoT solutions.
A.R.M.: How do you see the relevance of architecture today?
G.P.: I truly believe that in order to make good architecture you have to completely change your personality as an architect. Ten or twenty years ago we were artists: now we are advisers. Architecture needs much more complex personalities right now. Because of the financial crisis, a lot of the investors’ trust in architecture is gone and the social responsibility is high for architects. They have to able to change people’s way of thinking on ethical behavior.
A.R.M.: What are the most compelling reasons for somebody to start studying architecture?
G.P.: It’s the greatest fun in the world [laughs]!
A.R.M.: Thank you for your time!
Gergely PAULINYI – President and CEO Paulinyi & Partners Zrt
PPaulinyi & Partners Zrt is one of the most prestigious group of engineering companies with important history in Hungary, considered to be one of the market leaders. During the past three decades, the company went through several changes and continued progressing. Up to March of 2018, the company was operated under the name of Mérték Group Zrt. and it has been playing an active role in the quality and sustainable architecture for more than 30 years. Besides domestic orders, their business also covers orders of foreign markets and governments. They cooperate with Hungarian and foreign developers and investors in connection with a number of domestic and international projects.
In their portfolio you can find the four most significant international green building standard certifications: LEED, BREEAM, DGNB and WELL.
Find out more: http://paulinyiandpartners.com