Getting to Know Macio & Anya

Building from childhood moments that triggered their interest in architecture to structural marvels everyone should experience, Anya and Macio invite us into their world, sharing insights as modern-day architects.

At what age did you start considering a career in architecture?

Anya: Actually when I was very young. I loved planning play-play farms between the shrubs in our garden and it gave me a huge kick to work out where everything needed to be located – the house, the barn, the animals, the vehicles, the fields, the roads etc. Oh the excitement – I can still feel it now!

Macio: When I began to walk. I bumped into a low table, designed by my father, an Architect. On it lay a copy of Le Corbusier’s ‘Oeuvre Complète.’ (Last year I visited the ‘Mill Owners’ Association Building in Ahmedabad, India, built by Le Corbusier.) I grew up in an ‘Architectural’ household.

Which architectural styles resonate with you?

Anya: Many historical and regional styles resonate with me, usually due to their contextually appropriateness – be that time or place.

Macio: I don’t refer to ‘style’. I am interested in how all buildings are made, (irrespective of era or geo-political boundaries) – in theory, structure and materiality.

What are common challenges most architects face when designing a new space?

Anya: Editing through all the possible options, and finding ones way to the most appropriate, suitable, beautiful, contextually relevant and affordable option.

Macio: Perception. Credibility. Listening and being heard. And ‘blank canvas’ problems – speaking for myself. I’m not too sure what challenges other Architects face.

Share a morning ritual that you believe contributes to a good start to a working day.

Anya: Reading at least two or three newspapers with a big cup of coffee; our cat, Stompie, curled up at my feet on the bed.

Macio: Slow methodical progress, riding and schooling a horse as darkness turns to light, night becomes day.

Share 5 workspace essentials you simply cannot live without.

Anya: Coffee, an elegant and comfortable chair, good light, a good view and enough layout space.

Macio: Bumf paper, pencils, rubber, crayons, khoki pens, Tipp-Ex, masking tape, scanner, bin, cutting knife, glue, balsa wood, spray paint, screwdriver, jigsaw, drill, tables, lighting, music… 5? Not possible.

Where do you turn to for inspiration?

Anya: Landscape, landscape, landscape; particularly the Karoo. Klein, Groot, Hardemans, Tankwa, Moordenaars Karoo – they’re all beautiful.

Macio: Everything inside me and around me, whenever, wherever, all of the time.

Does it take a certain type of person to be an architect or is it all talent and hard work?

Anya: There are many types of architects, with many different roles to fill, but I would say that belief, stamina, compassion and care are characteristics that all architects need. Talent is a rare commodity and cannot always be relied upon to produce consistently high quality work.

Macio: I have no idea. Isn’t everything about hard work and talent – with a bit of luck thrown in? (Some of the greatest designers of all time don’t have a ‘B Arch degree’ between them). I’d be happy to think that designers come from all ‘types’ of people. That would hopefully keep it interesting.

Is there one specific project that you’re particularly proud of?

Anya: No, they’re all our babies!

Macio: I take pride in all the work we have done, and the next one…

Name one architectural marvel everyone should try to see in person.

Anya: The corbelled houses of the Northern Cape, around Carnarvon. Built by the Trekboers in the early 1800s they are truly magnificent; a marvel of construction and also exceptionally poetic in their absolute essentialism and authenticity.

Macio: Sorry, but there are so many, I could not fit it into one lifetime. Start with the ‘Beaubourg’ – the square and the Brancusi gallery – but being an ‘inclusivist’, see also The Monastery of La Tourette, France, by Le Corbusier and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, USA – established by Jonas B Salk, designed by Louis Kahn.

Which country would you revisit in a heartbeat, purely for its architectural gems?

Anya: India – for its temples and mountaintop citadels.

Macio: India

Which three destinations should be on every architecture enthusiast’s bucket list?

Anya: Italy, India, Egypt. How can one possibly only choose three?

Macio: Rome, Parma, Las Vegas. (Was that 3 or 300?)

Are there any new materials you’re excited about or experimenting with?

Anya: I would love to have an opportunity to use integrated photovoltaic glass – a great concept which looks good and works well, but is extremely expensive.

Macio: Photovoltaic glass, new light fitting concepts.

What role does nature play in terms of design inspiration?

Anya: Everything. I don’t believe a single piece of architecture does not have its roots in nature, be that formal, structural, material, philosophical or other.

Macio: A primary and significant one. Given that we, as a species, have become divorced from nature, we need to examine our very interpretation and understanding of what nature really is.