There’s a fine line between art and architecture. Bobby Fogel, the founder of BFarchitecture, knows that like few others. Besides his work in traditional architecture and his theoretical contributions, he also is an expert in designing monuments for out in the open space. “We create things that people truly have to experience by themselves.”
TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS | PHOTOS: BF ARCHITECTURE
“Architecture is the art of living,” states renowned architect Bobby Fogel, who was recently listed in the book 30 of the most relevant world architects. To him, a building, just like any piece of art, should tell a story to those who look at it. “The late Oscar Niemeyer told me: the biggest museums in the world are the cities: and they are for free. Whether you have knowledge of architecture or not, everyone can walk around and enjoy the stories the buildings and monuments tell.” For him and his office, BF Architecture, a design should speak its own story. The choice of the materials and the concept should be rooted in its location. The ‘genius loci’ (or, the spirit of the place) is vital in the creation of any building with legitimacy.
With this ambitious approach, Fogel often showcases his talent in the most prestigious designing contests in the world, even beyond the borders of traditional architecture. Recently, he designed Diamond Forest, a proposal for a monument honouring the 570th anniversary of Antwerp’s diamond industry. “It will be a forest of crystal prisms which magically reflects the light. We like designing things that you can’t just capture on a picture. To experience Diamond Forest, you have to stand in it and feel the magic yourself.” The same counts for Fort Intemporal, a work that Fogel made with artist Wendy Krochmal in the light of the Venice Biennale of Architecture. “Here, we gave a deteriorated industrial complex a second life by filling up its cracks with gold; a Japanese technique called Kintsugi. The reflection of the daylight on the gold touched the spectators, some of them even cried. That is so beautiful about these projects: they really move people.”
Because of its unique vision, BF Architecture attracts many students as well. “Our style and vision are much appreciated among younger talents. Therefore, we always have a few interns. They stimulate us to think more on an academic level.” The office even offers in-house student dorms for Erasmus students who want to come for a post-academic internship. “We work as an open institution with a strong and interesting programme.”