5 questions to Ariane Delacre (Achitect)

What is the importance of music in your work? Are you inspired by musical concepts such as rhythm, counterpoint, dynamics, etc.?

Music has a small part in my life. I think that I could live without it. Electronica irritates me and instrumental music almost only moves me when it is associated with visual memories—a movie soundtrack, for instance. Rock or indie pop keeps me company in my car, or at home as a background while I go about my business—I never sit in a chair in order to listen to music but I can be moved by singing, by a voice with a particular timbre, or frailty, by its humanity. Pure music, non-vocal, is too disincarnate to touch me. It certainly never inspired me.

Do you use a computer for your work? If so when did you start?

I turned on a computer the day I started working, and immediately scrapped my drawing table. Precision ink pens are but a remote memory from school. In my professional life, if I’m not on a construction site, I’m sitting in front of my screen.

Ariane Delacre

Recent project: art gallery and swimming pool by Ariane Delacre

Do you still use paper, and if so what for?

In the conception phase, I still use paper. Ideas come to life through the gesture of the hand and the line of the pencil, sometimes in an unconscious way. The keyboard or the mouse prevent this transmission. But these are nasty sketches that are only relevant to me and that are never shown to a client—I am too bad at drawing for that!

Has working on a computer affected the way you think about architecture?

The image of architecture changed with the arrival of computers. We are not scatterbrained creatives anymore, who break their backs and ruin their eyes on their drawing tables for nights on end, cloistered in their dusty workshop. We work, like anybody else, in an office equipped with a computer, a printer, and a phone. The image lost its romantic touch. To me, computer science hasn’t changed the job, it is only a very convenient tool that I couldn’t do without anymore. The projects that I design could still be drawn by hand, if time weren’t an issue. I don’t need CAD softwares, Autocad and Sketchup are amply enough for me. I like lines and right angles, their timeless character; complex and impossible-to-compute curves don’t attract me.

Ariane Delacre 2

Recent project: art gallery and swimming pool by Ariane Delacre

Are you concerned with a possible loss of craftsmanship because of CAD (Computer Assisted Design)?

Architecture draftsmen now only work in huge studios, whereas they used to be present in mostly every workshop in the past: a workforce was needed to draw, ink, scratch, and re-draw endlessly on pieces of tracing paper that always ended ripped. These “petites mains” (helping hands) have practically disappeared, but many of them have successfully switched to 3D imaging, increasingly requested by clients that desire a virtual model, or by competition officials that are seduced by these representations, more beautiful and shinier than reality. Computer science enables me to work alone because drawing and writing documents became faster. If I had to draw or write by hand, the time I would be spending wouldn’t make my business profitable anymore.

Born in 1976 in Charleroi (Belgium), Ariane Delacre graduated from architecture school in Brussels in 1999. Ariane lived and worked in Venezuela, Barbados, Italy, and Spain before opening her own studio in Brussels in 2008: http://www.arianedelacre.be