Les Dedans: Architecture as a platform for interaction and negotiation.

For readers unfamiliar with RBP’s activities, let us provide a brief overview of the company’s history, the range of services offered, as well as some of the awards the architecture firm has received from prestigious bodies in the field.

We established our office in 2013. Since 2017, our longest-serving employees have become partners, and as of 2023, we have ten employees in the main company and 20 former employees as partners with whom we collaborate through their own companies. Together with the in-house team and design partners, we offer comprehensive design services, specializing in architecture, structure, installations, fire safety, vertical systematization, specific studies such as nZEB studies, interior decoration and design, and project management.

Some of the most recent awards include the ACDA Architecture, Construction & Design Awards in 2022 for “Water to Wine” in the concept category. Also in 2022, the Luxury Lifestyle Awards recognized us for Best Luxury Residential Renovation Development for “H VICTORIEI 139”. In 2021 and 2020, awards from The Times and Investing in Property for Best Project with “Central District Lagoon City”, and The Exclusive Project with “Crown Towers”. In 2020, Forbes honored us in the Best Office Buildings category for “H Victoriei 109”.

RĂZVAN BÂRSAN+PARTNERS, an architecture firm recipient of numerous national and international awards, has focused its activity over the past twenty years on values such as excellence, consistency, communication, and efficiency. Addressing an educated public that recognizes the role of the architect in today’s society and quality of life, the RBP team pushes the boundaries with each project. We spoke with the founder of the architecture firm, Răzvan Bârsan, a visionary leader who isn’t afraid to take risks: “All our projects express our belief that architecture is born at the intersection of imagination, aesthetics, and utility, as well as social and environmental responsibility.” – Razvan Barsan, CEO

With the transition to capitalism and the market economy, firms, societies, and companies, regardless of the field of activity, have refined their message and become distinct brands within the framework of the mission, vision, and values they assume and promote. What are these in the case of RBP, and what do you consider differentiates you from the competition?

The projects we undertake are those that have a positive impact not only on the lives of our clients but also on the quality of cities and communities. We try to imagine places full of meaning that have the power to evoke emotions and bring people together. The experience of so many years has taught us that good architecture is not rushed; it needs time. Each project is a collective effort of the team and requires close collaboration between architects, urban planners, designers, engineers, and professionals from related fields. For us, architecture is actually a platform for interaction and negotiation that brings together clients, designers, technicians, contractors, and manufacturers. By imposing the highest standards of quality and work discipline, we ensure the sustainability of our projects, the durability and value of the design, through obsessive attention to detail, the ability of the building to enhance the natural and built environment, as well as its flexibility and ability to meet client needs.

What is the architect’s contribution to human society? Is he one of those who can contribute to the “greater good” of humanity?

Architecture, by its nature, is a field that constantly adapts to environmental conditions, giving rise to solutions for specific, local problems, or general ones, such as those generated by climate change. When you shift the perspective to the beneficiary, the importance of green spaces, sustainable technologies, and the avoidance of building congestion becomes clear. Another strategy that works wonders is the size of pedestrian areas and the design of a fluid flow that does not include vehicles, for example. The climate of a city, whether natural or future trends, is extremely important in design. If a material or structure is not suitable for a certain temperature, don’t use it. Speaking of rising sea levels, many clients purchase properties on the seafront, for example, which only serve to destroy the shoreline. An effective strategy would be for these properties to be located at considerable distances, with pedestrian areas near the water, reinforced with the help of new technologies.

Are things changing a bit for us in this regard, in terms of sustainability, for a better life?

Since the Nearly Zero Energy Buildings directive came into force at the beginning of 2021, we have begun to discuss this issue together with engineers. We see changes regarding the use of high-performance or at least optimized installation equipment for reduced consumption and low pollution levels, as well as through the recommendation of different systems or suitable materials from a thermal point of view. The biggest impact is seen in the investors of residential complexes with over 50 housing units, where the implementation of nZEB standards is already commonplace.

Why did you choose architecture? Is it a childhood dream?

As a child, many things fascinated me, art, music; I didn’t set out to become an architect. I think, in a way, I stumbled upon architecture, or architecture stumbled upon me. But from that moment on, I fell head over heels. The architecture office is like my child, and this business and lifestyle have brought me so much satisfaction. Inspiration comes when you call it and are ready for it; I find it in nature, in objects, in people, and in the heart. I say this because if you don’t invest feelings in this field, you’re lost from the start. I am like a curious and enthusiastic child. Every time I read a project brief, I immediately think about what budget we have, if there are any limitations, or if we can propose a concept that truly stands out.

Do you have a favorite project?

Lagoon City is probably the most interesting project currently being developed in Romania. It is an urban resort that encompasses hotels, residential spaces, and an artificial lagoon on a huge area in Bucharest, but also in Budapest, Hungary. There is also Above Residential, a unique concept of a high-end residential complex that combines sustainable technologies with luxury apartments. And Histria Towers is a bold project in Constanta that seeks to revive an old industrial area. Last but not least, Skytower Interior Design is the tallest skyscraper in Bucharest. We refreshed the interior design, adapting it to new technologies.

What are the current trends in architecture and design?

We observe a diversity in the type of requests received, both from private clients and from large investors. We certainly dedicate a large part of our time to the creative process, and the architecture we want to materialize is modern, bold, and updated for the technology century. The aesthetic vision must impress without compromising functionality, user facilities, and without negatively impacting the area in which it develops.

Like other fields influenced by digitization and new technologies, architecture and design align with new trends, affecting not only the construction market but also the workforce and productivity. Is artificial intelligence a beneficial tool? Do you plan to digitize your own activity?

In the desire to streamline its processes, human society is in continuous development. New software appears on the market constantly, aiming to make our work easier, from architecture to project management. We are discussing a new work environment through the use of VR technologies, which can complement traditional workflows and help us assist a new universe, the virtual one – Metaverse. Experimental Metaverse design is a collateral project we are developing, with emblematic projects that will find their application either in remote corners of the world or will benefit from the new technologies we use, including AI. In Metaverse, architects will focus on 3D modeling and integrate their professional knowledge into multiple branches: user interface, content design, and why not, character design. But the challenges are multiple for us too: Will we have limitations regarding architecture? Can we develop fantasies of the ideal city? What kind of architecture will we use? Will the universe be infinite? We can’t wait to implement the new-age architectural process!

Article: Les Dedans, VOL 1, 2023