Transforming Practice: Chris Precht Represents a New Generation of Design Entrepreneurs
Visionary young architect Chris Precht shares his thoughts on the shortcomings and opportunities of architecture to help humans connect with nature and combat climate change, insular thinking and consumerism by engaging with the real world. In the age of Instagram, Precht values authenticity, collaboration and empathy as guiding principles to create good buildings and inspire others to do the same.
The last time we spoke, you were based in Beijing, China. Since then you have built your own studio in the mountains of Austria. What inspired this change?
Yes, quite a lot has changed. Before we were surrounded by skyscrapers – now we are surrounded by mountains. The short answer is, I relocated because I get distracted in the city, and I find it’s easier for me to focus on my work in a studio far off the grid. But that is also a bit of a superficial answer…
One with the birds © Studio Precht
What’s the long one?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this question recently. I think it starts with my dad. He was an extreme free-climber: no ropes, no security, just him and the mountain. He had a very direct connection to our natural environment. The more I climb and hike, I feel that my dad’s determination to climb is similar to my determination to be an architect.
My dad was always fascinated by how small he felt at the bottom of the mountain and how humble he feels on top of it. It is a change of perspective. You become insignificant and surrounded by millions of years of evolution. You become part of a larger story. The same is true for architecture. It can become this transmitter of history and culture and this can create something long-lasting in times that are driven by nearsightedness and short attention spans. As architects, sometimes we need this change of perspective.
When my dad fell from the mountain and died three years ago, some said that my dad had achieve the creation of his own universe, his own reality far away from the real world. However, wh...
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