Ciro Miguel came to the US in 2007 to study a Masters in Advanced Architectural Design at Columbia University. He now works at Bernard Tschumi architects.
What are you currently working on?
The design development of a museum in Prince George's County, Maryland, and a study for a small house in São Paolo.
How does working in New York compare to working in São Paolo?
São Paulo has a much more dramatic urban environment, socially and architectonically speaking, than New York. Everything an architect needs to learn about cities is there, spread out on a fragmented landscape. It is an extremely violent and complex city which demands a lot from all its inhabitants. On the other hand, NY is not the same delirious environment of the early 20th century or the culturally charged city of the 1970s. Forget Talking Heads, Matta-Clark and Warhol; the island has isolated itself, becoming expensive, corporate and mainstream. The pockets of cultural resistance are outside the grids of Manhattan. Yet the city still attracts people from all over, acting as an international forum where ideas meet and collide. This is what keeps the urban myth and the appeal of NY alive.
What things do you miss most about Brazil?
Brazil is a country under construction. That's our past and our future. As such, in every project there is a sense of a greater purpose, which will eventually contribute to society as a whole. This collective commitment certainly differs from the individualistic American ideology of the 'self-made man'. Also I dance. New Yorkers don't.
What would be your perfect night out in Brazil?
I would head to Rua Augusta in Sao Paolo. Everything underground, illegal, trashy, mysterious and outrageous is there.
Are there any Brazilian expressions that translate well into English?
'Jeitinho brasileiro' which means 'the little Brazilian way'. It refers to our skill at juggling difficulties, of finding solutions to problems, often with the recourse of illegal methods, and improvising when facing a challenge.