CANactions: You worked in Thailand, Europe, and Russia: where is the link between them in your work?
Romea: It is hard to establish a link between them, especially as the type of projects that I was involved in, which were diverse in scale, typologies and approaches. In Europe/United States, I was involved in architecture projects from a recording studio in Bahamas, the Kimball art center in Park City, up to a secondary school in Virginia. In Russia, I worked on strategic planning/urban scale, as a consultant and mediator between landscape architects, transport experts, communities, authorities etc. In Thailand, as an Adjunct Professor at INDA International Program in Design and Architecture, I try to approach both scales and merge them with extensive research. Therefore, I guess the exposure to different scales, methodologies and exploration is reflected in my work.
What skills are necessary to have to work at such "dream offices" like OMA, BIG, REX, COBE etc.?
There are no specific skills, but personal engagement and dedication to the projects you are involved in plays a key role. The atmosphere is varied from one office to another and not comparable. Each office represents different values, which they prioritize. However, it is an inspiring and creative atmosphere, definitely demanding! As Christo and Jeanne-Claude state, 'Art is a lifestyle. There is no possibility to get retired'. Definitely relevant to architecture.
With your experience working in Russia, how would you define the specifics of the work of an architect in the post-socialist environment?
One of the unique experience as architect in Russia is the incredible energy and creativity coming from the young generation. The generation which is detached from politics, not relying on authorities or/and public mechanisms.
Another interesting aspect was the experience of working in an extremely rich cultural context. As an urban planner/strategist, I investigated the changing role of public spaces throw historical and contemporary prism, their social significance and cultural programming methods, which are essential in order to revitalize those spaces for contemporary needs. It is a challenge to design without obscuring past meanings mapping into its logics and restructuring it without losing its social and cultural values.