Two Minutes With // TYIN

Hi everyone! Today’s interview is with TYIN tegnestue Architects, of Trondheim, Norway. TYIN has completed several beautiful projects in poor and underdeveloped areas of Thailand, Burma, Haiti and Uganda, and they have shared some thoughts on their experiences. Check out their website to view more beautiful projects.

“Solutions to real and fundamental challenges call for an architecture where everything serves a purpose — an architecture that follows necessity. By involving the local populace actively in both the design and building of their projects, TYIN are able to establish a framework for mutual exchange of knowledge and skills. All materials used in TYIN´s projects are collected close to the sites or purchased from local merchants.”

Images courtesy of Pasi Aalto.

VT: Your work consistently carries serenity through its honest use of materials, light, and shadow. Is the origin of this found in the vision of each project or does it emerge within the use of natural materials?

TYIN: Most of the decisions we make during a project are based on pragmatic solutions, which are based on locally available materials and skills. We try to discover the solutions within the context, and avoid making up imaginative designs and ideas.

VT: TYIN tegnestue Architects seem to have a strong focus on architecture for people within its goal of architecture with a purpose. How was this goal conceived in 2008? What was the catalyst for this organization?

TYIN: The idea of leaving comfortable Norway was a combination of restlessness, the search for meaning in architecture, and coincidence. We met the first client in Thailand though a common friend and it seemed like our interests were similar. We were looking for a realistic project; he needed to expand his orphanage facilities.

Since then, it has been a long winding journey through so many decisions and circumstances that it is very hard to explain the reason and logic in it. We have always tried to make decisions based on our gut feeling, and we constantly question our own ideas and methods. As we see it, basing the architecture on human needs and qualities should be an obvious way to go.

VT: Your projects exhibit a clear and crisp approach to vernacular materials and methods, particularly within joinery and detailing. Is this craft inspired by the local craftsmen or is it meant to serve as inspiration?

TYIN: We have always been interested in the building process and understanding what makes architecture work. We find there is a strong and direct link between material use, structure and detailing and the final result. We are greatly affected by the people, traditions and cultures we meet in our projects, and this seeps into the architecture. At the same time our background from the DIY-attitude in Norwegian building culture plays its part in the design process.