How is it going, mate? Guess what? The ‘Brazilian Architects Tribute’ is on tour around Australia (more info on: https://www.brazilianarchitectstribute.com/)!
The exhibition has been recently held in Brisbane at the local Australian Institute of Architects, situated in South Brisbane, and we were there at the Opening Cocktail. It was on in Brisbane from October the 18th until the 25th but it keeps going around Australia and next stops are Melbourne (opening on 21/11/2019) and Sydney (opening on 11/12/2019). So you could still make it!
In order to celebrate it and as a way of helping in the advertisement of such an important event for us, Brazilian Architects, we are honoured to bring the interview with the exhibition’s organizer, Adauto Melo. Adauto is a Brazilian Architect currently living and working in Sydney and also the mind behind the “Arquiteto Imigrante” Blog (available on: https://www.arquitetoimigrante.com/).
1.Adauto, what’s your story in Australia? And as an architect?
I fell into the architecture kind of parachute, I was not sure what to do, but I identified myself very much with the environment and the work of the architect, so I ended up taking the course. Funny that I started to study in the countryside of Mato Grosso and did not feel that I was really living what I wanted, then I moved out and got a place at UnB (University of Brasilia), where I felt more fulfilled with the profession. In my professional career in Brazil I worked in the government for a long time during uni, which was essential because I already had to pay my bills and until then I was supporting myself with a intern’s salary. As soon as university was over I moved to a practice where we mainly did residential projects. At the same time, a friend commented that she was coming to Australia and before she invited me I said “I’m coming too!”. Do you know when you have the feeling you were just waiting for the person to say something? That was my feeling. I always wanted to have an experience abroad, but my family had no money, but at that time I was independent and nothing else tied me in the country. Then all lined up unbelievably so that I could come, new projects, contracts, crazy. When I arrived in Australia I didn’t speak English at all and I ended up in the cliché of working in hospitality as a waiter. When I was working on this for 3 months, we were putting together the biggest event I had ever worked on so far, it was a dinner for 700 people. As we rode, there was a woman training the speech she would give at night, from the few words I understood from time to time I heard “architect” or “architecture.” I was curious, I went to ask my supervisor which event we would be working on that night and to my surprise the answer was “Today we will work on the delivery of the 2016 Australian Architecture Award”. In theory I could not do much, my possibilities were limited because I was working as a waiter, I could at most try to make some contacts but limiting myself to the work I had to perform. Later my boss put me to work at the event bar and a couple came to order a beer and asked me what I was thinking of the night, I thought to myself “this is my opportunity” and said I was enjoying seeing how they had fun. around here and I used to attend this kind of event in Brazil, because I’m an Architect too. The woman looked very confused and said, “Are you an Architect? What are you doing behind the bar? ”And of course, I didn’t want to be there either, I explained as most Brazilians do “ I’m waiting for my English to improve to start looking for a spot ”. That’s when I heard one of the most remarkable phrases of my life: “Waiting for your English to improve? There are two Colombians who work with me who don’t even speak English! Let others say your English is bad, not you! ” From that moment I only stopped when I got a job in the area, which took only 3 weeks.
2. In your opinion, is Brazilian architecture well regarded in Australia?
There are many architects who know our architecture here! Oscar Niemeyer is unanimous, of course, when talking about Brazilian architecture is the first name that invariably comes. But besides him we have some admirers of architects like Marcio Kogan and Arthur Casas, mainly for the residential projects. This year we had a talk by our dear Angelo Bucci, from SPBR, and it was very well spoken and was even organized by an Australian company. We are trying with the “Arquiteto Imigrante” and the Brazilian Architects Tribute to further popularize our architecture and create a position of respect for our professional in the local industry.
3. Why organize the “Tribute to Brazilian Architects” in Australia?
Although some people know our architecture, there are still a large number of places that know nothing about our architecture. I never agreed to Brazilian architects not being treated the same as an English or French or Italian architect when they go to a job interview here. Our architecture is very rich in design and our technical expertise is often superior to that of these people, so the exhibition was designed as a way to celebrate this architecture, showcase our background and put us on the level we deserve as a professional community.
4. What are the opportunities for Brazilian Architects in Australia?
Australia does not stop growing and this has to be our fuel. I once heard a phrase that I thought was great, “For every new idea, an architect is needed,” and I believe that very much. Our profession is very basic and necessary, so the demand for professionals here will always be great. But it is important to know our duties as well, we have an excellent education in Brazil, but we cannot hold on to this as the only preparation required to fit in the international market, the more we qualify in software domain, local building legislation. and especially in language, the faster it will be our entry as professionals
5. What are the next “Arquiteto Imigrante” projects in Australia?
The “Arquiteto Imigrante” is a year old, and it all started with the idea of creating a blog to help people. However, we noticed that human contact is essential and we also saw that we could help people with training, networking, this motivated us to start with courses, meetings and workshops, and the response was very positive. Starting next year we have already closed Basic and Advanced REVIT courses, so let’s start being more specific and helping the niches of the profession. For the exhibition to be held in Australia, we will have the theme “Brasilia”, since it is 60 years of our capital, we want to show all aspects of the contest, construction and the impact on our current architecture. We also want to run a contest in which the prize will be a job vacancy in some prestigious Australian office, this will be associated with exhibition. We are very excited and we are not tired of saying that every person who benefits from our efforts makes it all worthwhile.
*All the images in this post belongs to the writer´s personal gallery and correspond to intellectual property, otherwise as noted.