It’s all geometry

A combination of lines, circles, rectangles, parabola, with the final shape emerging out of the intersection of these forms. That is the subtlety of Carlos Arnaiz’s works.

November 27, 2015 03:06 pm | Updated 03:06 pm IST

28bgp 100 walls

28bgp 100 walls

He is an architect, educator, writer and design consultant. He is also the founder of CAZA. International architect Carlos Arnaiz, recently made a presentation of his projects to an enthralled audience. Given his philosophy background, his structures are not only innovative in their expression but philosophical too in their address of the context and function.

“We establish a conversation with the structure, address the deeper cultural meanings, the statements of our society”, said Arnaiz, talking about the subtler elements of architecture that are addressed in his projects.

His Hundred Walls church is a case in point. The chapel erected purely by parallel walls of varying sizes that numbered one hundred, is open, yet strikes a chord with the mysteries of spiritual life. No two walls have the same height or width, their varying dimensions serving as shades for the roof to cool the structure.

While some of the parallel walls are closed with glass on both sides to create an enclosed interior space that still feels open, the rest of the walls remain open to bring in semi-enclosed spaces. The structure also incorporates 14 individual gardens that lead from the interior spaces, as a representation of some of the happenings in the scriptures.

Arnaiz believes that architecture is rhizomatic, “not bound by four walls or site but extends beyond to encompass the location, the city, the nation.” His projects reflect this sentiment, the spaces refusing to be confined to a defined area. There is a strong play of openness in the structures, the spaces predominantly undefined in terms of where the interiors end and the outdoors begin, with a sense of connecting to the infinity.

In the Hue Hotel project, Arnaiz integrates two cultural elements of the beach life with urban revelry. Wrapped around the rings of the urban, cosmopolitan and the local, the physical structural rings of the building are designed to house the private spaces on top with the public spaces prevailing in the lower ring that pulls away from the main structure. The inconsistencies that arise when the geometry of circles, triangles are mingled were converted to gardens or outdoor courtyards.


The retreat home, House of Many Moons, is a structure that came up in a location which was not remarkable to offer spectacular visual appeal. While the individual spaces were tuned to open on to a landscape where the visual was distinctive for each space, the interiors of the private area was designed to be telescopic.

Thus, vents in the shape of arches, circles and others, were designed over the roof to offer a telescopic appeal. The view of the sky through the different shapes serves as a distinct connection with infinity while the continuous and individual connect with the greenery and exteriors brings in the strong play of undefined spaces.

The iconic CEBU project is an expression of the connectivity to the cultural inclination of the location. The rapid bus transit project brought in four different styles in 14 different modular stations. Says Arnaiz, “Context is very important and so is the commitment to this context. It is not a closed conversation with the context but as architects how well do we play a key role in establishing a dialogue with the local culture.”

His projects have a pronounced geometry. Commenting on this, Arnaiz stated, “Geometry is one of my biggest obsessions. Once we select an approach to a project, we dwell on the basic geometric form underlying it. But the utility of the geometric system has to have consistency through the project.” All his projects reveal this underlying principle, a combination of lines, circles, rectangles, parabola, with the final shape emerging out of the intersection of these forms.

His projects display a strong sense of use of materials in raw form. “The focus is on honesty of the material and form. In architecture, the language is the material and is determined by how this material is treated. Even in manipulation the material should exude this honesty.”

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