Little Maps

Last UpdateOCTOBER 2020

4. Search and Plan: To Forelive

What can we think of? To live before living. To be able to experience a place that is not there yet.

To forelive. Not to look but to live. Physiology set out.

-The next three steps -to forelive, to foresee, to forebuild- develop and organise in time all the key proposals in our plan. However, they are not consecutive steps, but rather work as a dynamic relation between the three. In these steps, it is about making choices: how it will be lived, how the whole construction process will be organized, how it will be materialized. Now is when we turn restrictions into possibilities. We make a plan that responds to the particular needs of every commission in a positive, sufficient, concrete, brave and graceful way.

The materialization of the project in our mind is fragmentary, although we must tend to think about all at once. Every decision implies modifications in the diverse aspects that the project must take into account. We keep the decisions that help each facet solve as much needs as possible. We know we’re in a fruitful track when all decisions seem to fit in the overall plan.

Following this plan, we start foreliving places that will accomodate the needs and uses of people, some feelings people might have in them -how the future place will be dwelt-, and which is the kind of human experience we’re purposing. This is when our choices become more important. A big amount of empathy and generosity is needed. We make places for others, not for us.

-We don’t think too much about how a construction will look like. Instead, we focus on how will it be lived, how it will work, how it will adapt to the climate, how it can be built, dismantled and easily tranformed.

As we also know, at least since the ancient Greeks, form is just a consequence of all this design process. Architecture cannot be photographed or written. It cannot be looked at. It can only be lived.

What’s important is not the built object but the feeling it causes. To feel at home in the most places possible. Empathy, imagination and knowledge on the complex principles that make a place inhabitable, will allow us to test how a design will be lived. To mentally move in space and time to this future place. To live before living.

-Where can we do this?

-On the site, but also in our work place as well. We think about the first day the building will be inhabited, but also the following days, years and even centuries.

-How can we do it?

-If we know who the inhabitants will be, we can picture them, with all we already know about them, but also imagining their most intimate and fragile moments. If it’s a dwelling: When they are sleeping. When they are resting. When they are sick. When they are having sex. When they bring their newborn child home for the first time -or when they give birth at home. If it’s a work place: In their most difficult meeting. While trying to solve a huge conflict.



What can we think of? To anticipate how a place will work, how will people feel in it, how it will age, how it will get better with time.

What can we think of? To build before building.