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What connects cars and architecture?

My house, my car, my passion: For the Stuttgart architect Zeljko Vila, buildings and vehicles simply belong together. And that's exactly why at some point he began to combine his interests through photography. A conversation about good design, what architecture and cars have in common - and why a 911 is a good workplace.

Text: Jack Weil Photo: Asquared 09.12.2019 3 min

Zeljko, just introduce yourself to our community.

Hi community! my name is Zeljko Vila, (similar to Scheljko), I am 31 years old and a native Croatian, I work in Stuttgart as an architect and am a passionate hobby photographer.

Tell us something about your project »Asquared«...

»Asquared« is A squared - or A to the power of 2. It consists of the symbiosis of architecture & automobiles. As an architect, I am naturally fascinated by the urban fabric - sometimes just one house. But in combination with an automobile, the whole thing is even better. I have always enjoyed taking pictures of cars, whether with my mobile phone or my first SLR camera. At some point, however, I found it boring to photograph the vehicles in their normal positions. This resulted in first planned shootings, great moments and also new acquaintances.

What distinguishes good architecture for you?

Good architecture is always in the eye of the beholder. Architecture is art and art is subjective. Only if we humans feel that a temporary building method is mostly good or beautiful, this period of time will be combined into an epoch. As a result, architecture is constantly being redesigned and changes from day to day. Nowadays, it is above all the simple and minimalist construction that characterizes the picture. But let's think back to epochs like the baroque - today it would be unimaginable to build something like this. Good architecture conveys a feeling of comfort in a gentle way and has an emotional quality. And it is in context. Even better architecture, on the other hand, is sculptural and is often called »not good« because it is »stands out«.

And good automobile design?

Good automobile design has to reach a person at the highest emotional level and at the same time create a feeling of comfort. This is the only way we are in a good mood when we get in or when we look back after we got out.

Why do cars and architecture go together so well?

As I mentioned, the word comfort often appears. We want to feel protected, whether in the house or in the car. We also want a beautiful house and an even more beautiful car in front of it. After all, both fill us with pride and passion. Passionate car owners like us will always want to have a beautiful car in front of our villa. And another one in the garage. Or even two!

Are there parallels?

In my opinion, good automobile design is equivalent to good architecture. For example, we would all describe a Golf as »good«. It is popular with the masses, has no overly distinctive and independent design and wins in the price-performance ratio. New residential complexes like the Rosenberg on Berliner Platz in Stuttgart behave exactly the same. They look modern, not too independent, could stand anywhere in that context and yet they are well received.

How important is good design in your everyday life?

In my opinion, good design is what makes life special. That's what sets us apart from all other species. I particularly enjoy walking through Stuttgart and looking up, seeing how valuable and detailed facades can be - but also the vehicles that stand in front of them. I mean, we live in the city, cars shape the cityscape.

The Porsche 911 is driven by many architects and designers. How do you explain the popularity of this model?

Architects and engineers are influenced by geometric forms, physical processes and the resulting possibilities. Sustainability is a key issue here. Sustainable design, on the other hand, knows neither corners nor edges - and the topic of comfort comes up again. What distinguishes a Porsche from a Mercedes? Simply the soft form and the round headlights. Circular, not angular, therefore timeless and sustainable, but also interpreted as beautiful by almost everyone. Studies prove that we would live much better in circular rooms than in an orthogonal structure. However, it is much more practical to furnish square rooms with furniture and windows. Here Goliath does not fight against David, but Gaudí fights against Darwin.