Thomas Heatherwick discussing his work at Strelka Institute
|Born||Thomas Alexander Heatherwick
(1970-02-17) 17 February 1970
|Alma mater||Manchester Metropolitan University|
UK pavilion at Expo 2010
Olympics cauldron (2012)
The Rolling Bridge (2005)
As a teenager, my father took me to the shows at the Architectural Association and to places like Milton Keynes back when it was first being built. But I couldn’t find anything for me. There seemed to be despair at the possibility of the built environment possessing any imagination in the real world.
It’s important for people who criticise architects – whether what they build is or isn’t to your taste – to appreciate how they devote themselves and put everything into bringing a building into existence.
I am finally getting the chance to build large structures and break preconceptions that my designs are just sculptures for people to be in. But my work always comes down to the human scale.
At the root of everything I do is a fascination with ideas – what ideas are for, what jobs they do.
I don’t feel I’m trying to make art. I’m trying to make interesting things. People can relate to that.
I have a strong sense that every project is an invention, which is not a word I hear being used in architecture courses.
I studied at a time when buildings were sterile things, and their creators were hands-off people – super-intelligent people, but you felt they didn’t love the stuff buildings are made from.
An interest in ideas is a sign of human life. People are fascinated by what the future is going to be – and the future is going to be an accumulation of ideas.
I’m wary of the word ‘inventing,’ because in the British psyche the word ‘inventor’ is immediately linked with ‘mad’. For me, inventing is problem-solving.