AI Will Revamp Cities
Matthias Hollwich says the ‘starchitect era’ is waning, and buildings that prioritize comfort and community will ultimately benefit residents, workers and investors.
Mansion Global: When you’re designing buildings in different cities and different continents, what’s your north star?
Matthias Hollwich: For me, the first north star is “people first.” A lot of architects design beautiful façades, and decorate these beautiful icons that may be interesting to look at, but they forget how people engage with it, [and] how they relate to a building. This, for me, is the first rule: make it something where people feel comfortable. The second north star is that a building needs to make a city better. I feel that cities are so important for us as an experience. New York needs to be different from London, and London is different from Berlin, and Berlin is different from Hong Kong. When we work on projects, we always analyze what makes a city the way it is, and how our building can absorb some of these elements so that it contributes to the image, the feeling and the aura of a place. At 378 Broome, for example, we used three-module windows, which is traditional to the neighboring brownstone buildings. We looked into brick as the material, and of course, we refined it, we changed it, we edited it so that it becomes a unique piece [and] a family member within the context of the neighborhood.
Mansion Global: Of the work on your plate, what are you most looking forward to in 2024?
Matthias Hollwich: We’re designing a work resort in London that’ll be about 250,000 square feet. We’re leveling up the concept of the office building. It puts people first, [and] the contextual qualities make it a building you’ll want to be at. It’s almost like when you travel somewhere, and when you’re booking a resort, you’re going to look for one that is really magical. That’s the building of the future for offices. We’re also designing a master plan in Miami. It’s going to be office buildings and hotels. It’ll be people first because our client is Moishe Mana, and the company is Mana Common. They are well known for III Points Music Festival and other super exciting events. In Washington, D.C., we’re creating a 13-story timber apartment building in a new area called the Bridge District. There are no contextual qualities yet because it’s a whole new district that’s being designed. What we’re focusing on is designing a building that connects people with nature through the use of materials. It’s all wood, all the way through the building to the 13th floor, and it also has incredible balconies and terraces that look out over a forested park.