The number of leading architects in the world is as same as the number of leading nations

Interview with Azerbaijani architect Babek Shamilov

- A great many architects avouch that public interiors will carry inference to a great extent to realize personal, sometimes rather trailblazing ideas of the architect. Where more freedom of creativity is likely to hover for the author - in a public environment or in a living one?

- I would opine that the matter is not in the type of the project. The gist of the matter lies in the ingenuity of the architect's application of his/her minds and ideas to the project. Albeit loud-colored and seamless ideas impress with their vivacity, they will always be defeated by the ideas with enigmatic, mysterious, nondescript and feeble nature. To all intents and purposes, the easily digestible idea by all whatever masterly field the inventor of it might belong to, such as architecture, music, arts or any other related realm requiring much of creativity, is the proof of the simplicity of the idea put forward. First off, an architect i.e. an artisan must be an innate born. Aptness in the early years would be in outward seeming like a quiet volcano following the years of education and experience. However, the real talent is accommodated in an artist who leaves behind a conundrum or a mysterious idea for all with his/her creations upon masterly hiding inner volcano and behaving quite modest in our midst. It could be likened to the hidden volcano in Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa", which would play a prologue before any inexplicable stealthy, extraordinary peaceful stance sensible to yield a horror with its sudden explosion.

- Do you apply any across-the-board details characteristic solely to you in your works? How is your approach to the implication to the so-called "author's fingerprint"?

- I and my coevals studied during the period of Soviets. A number of issues made our grandfathers to feel appalled from the Soviet government. Foremost was the fear of being generalized and losing individuality, secondly giving up faith and not recognizing the existence of God, thirdly being unaware of roots and history on the basis of which to blindfold study the newly scribbled Soviet history and to become faceless..
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Notwithstanding sweeping changes in the structure, did in no ways impacted the change of the times. The policy of globalization wages all over the world keeps poking in any aspect brushing off traditions and customs as a sign of retardation and emphatically replacing them with the cities resembling the alike mixed mass of concrete and glass jungles that are worse luck erected in the place of nature which was destroyed by us at lightning speed. And naturally to stick out of others amid such a rapid flow is very challenging.

The state-of-arts technology affords all opportunities for those wishing to be an architect to arrange all happened and existing facilities in front of their eyes just within a minute. Of late, the world has lessened by far. Such an ongoing stance gives an impetus to be temporarily distinguished from others by rapidly making the most of internet and programs at hand, altering and slightly face-lifting projects of building structures in other countries in an idiosyncrasy way and subsequently privatizing it and pop up as an ingenious and new signature of a masterpiece upon taking advantage of the client's unawareness. Meanwhile, my assumption embraces the idea that the number of leading architects in the world is as same as the number of leading and top-developed nations. The remained plethora of architects are differing from each other only with the comprehension of projects that they have been involved in within certain frameworks and thus with neglecting his/her work and contaminating the environment.

- How would you describe a universal, ideal and vivid interior?

- It stands no reason that everybody will behave differently even in a same interior. This phenomenon would also depend on the taste, the work undertaken, the position held, psychological status, intellect and certainly on the field he/she is interested in. For instance, just fancy to ask people their preferred interior that they would wish to live in. Based on my experience, I am confident to foretell that some 80-90% of them do not know what they are after and which interior would suit them after all. For the most part, people living under the inculcation of television and commercials, would by majority parrot the influence of movies and commercials that they have fell victims of. Only those gifted creative individuals with the ability to think different would objectively offer an advanced idea about the performance of any architect. I am inclined to brood upon that I would feel better in an inner-contradictory interior which would far and wide differ from one another. My choice is in many respects that very interior where I will feel easy, comfortable, kind and sincere with my family and kith and kin. This kind of choice could be either a minimalist-type apartment with maximum simplicity in the downtown, or a palace echoing a complicated castle of Middle Ages or the chalet in Oghuz where we visit joyfully.

- Do you consider architect is a broad or narrow specialty?

- Naming just a few, I have never been ordered to design a military-barrack. Whereas in the case of emergence such an order, I will some way or other introduce additional and peculiar features to such a project with grace and creativity. Setting to work over any project is very challenging and extremely responsible mission for me. Irrespective the dimensional details of the orders I am involved in, makes me every time to overstay in a library for days. Though some subjects have nothing to do with my work, I keep on reading as much as possible. I start to work only then when after certain period of time I feel in working order and ready to face up to responsibilities. The architects more often than not are analogized to physicians, historians, astronomers, artists and even funnily enough to skilful swindlers in social gatherings for them to appear the first time or in far trips. It inevitably originates from the factor that architecture is the speciality requiring reading a lot, possession of broad-scaled knowledge, even superficially being aware of all sciences in the proper sense of the word.

- Can an architect lay out designs of everything?

- During the Soviets era, architects after a certain years of study were categorized into several specialities. Even nowadays architects graduate from the university as specialized groups particularly for typical projects. Following long years of work they become professionals merely for several projects. In this point of view, our capabilities to coup with any kind of projects leaves surprising impressions. Forasmuch as the architect engaged in town-building for many years and then switching to building bridges or erecting cutting-edge technology based skyscrapers can be possible only owing to his /her graduation from the long and overwhelming studies European and American universities... The architect with master-of-all capabilities and manageability of any tasks holds the peak for my eye. I do envy such people and think that life of an architect will scarcely cover the implementation of a proper, well-organized project which irrespective dislikes from all, will objectively be appreciated by the appropriately-knowledgeable people. The buildings are designed the same way the people are and they may be easy-going, rattle-headed, intrusive, lout, maniac, covered in piercings and tattoos from head to toes, or otherwise like a well-balanced oldster grandfather being aware of his worth, acting appropriately, master of his word and being modest and kind-hearted. Meanwhile nowadays it feels as if the majority does not need a well-balanced grandfather which reasonably has led grandfathers to lose gravity and become non-balanced....

- Which kind of architecture, in your viewpoint, will be of interest for the forthcoming generations?

- I may fail to spell it accurate to hairbreadth. The speedy developing technology formidably impacts the live of future generations in all fields. I believe that the near future promises the realisation of set of ideas seeming us utopia and most people will presumably be obliged to live in plastic and aluminium made tiny houses as a means of permanent residence. Given the huge corporations are on the way of grasping technological innovations, meals and power energy, they will change people to day and night working robots to run them depriving their sense of thinking. Despite outcries of ever-decreasing number of clever people, the technologies interfering into our lives will turn the upcoming generation into a mass living a tasteless, immoral, unthinking life with an eternal chaos. It is already engraved on the pale faces of youth who are indulged in playing shallow games on a mobile with no stop and who are self-entertaining creators.

I think it is too early to foretell the forthcoming generation's favourable taste of architecture. People are like to become more robotized forgetting concepts of family, society and statehood. It will naturally lead them to experiencing no demands for the things that are vital for us who will after the work get together in hangers and play telephone games off the reel without paying into attention to surroundings.

- The young specialists often wish to give up. They are experiencing moments of disappointment and lack of şelf-confidence. Could you tell me if you ever faced such downgrading thoughts?

- Lately I have acquired a great deal of information about the lives of Sumerians. My thoughts have been strayed in the works of Lev Gumilov, Murad Aji, Zecharia Sitchin, Fadlun Afandi and endless authors. Sometimes my own work seemed me meaningless. I have always thought that it is better to be an independent artist, writer or historian to be self-confined and to wage inner fight with the self is more honourable, than doing a dooming work for someone else and then to expect a mercy from the merciless client.

However, in the meantime a human being becomes stronger and more tolerant over the years. Naturally the contingency where we work also changes. Lately the clients with who we are cooperating have become more sensitive, educated and most of all those who understands architects. To understand and evaluate architects is really not an easy matter. It requires a person to be extremely patient with a large outlook and broad knowledge and of course a man with a certain taste.

- You have been to different European cities of the world. Which kind of architecture is your liking?

- Certainly, it is the classical architecture of Middle Ages.... I am also fond of the projects of a certain number of architects who will inevitable be considered classics in the future and I think that their works will be the most powerful masterpieces reflecting our times. Zakha Hadid, Rem Kolkhas and other similarly thinking prominent architects of our times are really the people to be envied and worshipped. Any intelligent and world-wise person will utter wishes to see historical spots and classical architectural masterpieces while visiting to any European city. This is because rays of light keep on leaking from any stone that has been left after the ancient architects. Any masterpiece created by an architect that are full of a divine love and sense will no doubt stand against hundreds of centuries and will eternally attract the surprised eyes of people in the same way that we proudly invite visitors to Baku to see the Old City, the Maiden Tower and the Complex of Shirvanshahs.

Rugiya Ashrafli

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