Too Much of Graphics and Too Little Aesthetics

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Democratic living against urban siege_Competition proposal for treehousign competition Durban, South Africa

Team: Stefano Tornieri, P.hd architecture IUAV of Venice, founder of babau bureau ( Massimo Triches, P.hd student IUAV of Venice, founder of babau bureau ( Luca Iuorio, master degree at IUAV of Venice
Dario Attico, student, IUAV of Venice

The Corner between Ingcuce Rd. and Johannes Nkosi St. is a place characterized by a double urban dimension. Two sides of the area point a part of the city marked by a complex overlapping infrastructures, and by a utterly absence of public spaces.
Otherwise, the other two sides point toward an inner street: a minor urban protected pattern, where its human dimension represents the fulcrum of the local social life.

The building we propose is thought as a huge defence machine. It is a sort of arena that roll up around the main daily living social space, a free-to-the-inhabitants-use inner courtyard combined with a public washing pool and signed by a change of material of the pavement.
Externally it appears like a fortified tower with a few openings and, a series of vaults of the roof protect the façade from the rainfall.

piante fasi cocoon filtri copia





 Too Much of Graphics and Too Little Aesthetics 

BABAU BUREAU_Stefano Tornieri




Who influences you graphically?

We are inspired by who experiments with aesthetics rather than graphics as well feel that nowadays we speak too much of graphics and too little of aesthetics. As a result our influences are the atmospheres of Frank Miller, Lee Ufan, Mark Rothko. We also find a lot of aesthetic ideas within the realms of cinema and tv series: True detective, Fargo, Utopia.
In photography we usually think at Chema Madoz for the multiple keys of reading the images and for his capacity to go beyond the common sense both socially and aesthetically.

How do you chose to approach a project from a graphic point of view? (between a more technical approach, through models, through photorealistic renders)

We try to express ourselves always through mixed techniques that shuffle technical drawing with the artistic, watercolours, models, photomontage. Each project tells an indipendent story, so each project is also the occasion for a graphic experiment. We are not searching for realism but rather aim to convey a sensation, an idea. During the design process, from the idea to the realisation one may have a lot of difference approaches, some of them positive or negative.

Every project is generally followed through with an artistic image, what role does this image play in the construction of understanding of the project? (butterfly and baby in relation to cocoon project)

It is an image that reminds the concept of the project, but in an abstract way. The cocoon is the stage that precedes the butterfly’s birth and the child drops a hint to the idea of a nest. In other projects the final image could be a pure provocation but the elements of it are always linked with the contest or the concept that only suggests a possible key of reading.

What role does colour hold and what does the absence of it in your photomontage show?

The work on colour helps to underline some elements of the project. Sometimes it has the function of levelling out the graphics of the whole project.

Do you trust that projects as the cocoon can be modules which can be replicate in other contexts?

Yes, one of the competitions’ requests was the possibility of moving and  replicating the structure within another context. Although this is structurally possible we believe that each context has a peculiarity that has to be valued by the project, therefore we trust in the notion of reproducible ideas rather than reproducible projects . The project is how this idea materialises itself and it has to be different in each place.




BABAU BUREAU is an architectural and landscape office founded in 2012 in Venice. The approach of the office is based on the research of a pragmatic and site-specific architecture developed from user needs and totally respectful with the urban context. BABAU BUREAUs current research focuses on the reuse and transformation of buildings and open spaces as a contemporary requirement and as a sustainable developpement strategy. Beside the professional career, the office keeps an active research in the academic field, working in the “Architecture and Archaeologies of the Production Landscapes” research unit of the IUAV University of Venice. BABAU BUREAU, as principal partner or in collaboration with other international firms, develop each projects as an occasion to join the academic research and the professional work.



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