Raul Correa-Smith Q&A
Raul Correa-smith works for Daniel Libeskind's office in New York. He is currently working on the L-Tower, a 59-storey residential building in the heart of Toronto.
Why did you end up working in New York?
Well, I am a mutt. Though I grew up in Rio de Janeiro, New York is where I was born, so it has always been a second home to me. The creative energy of this city makes it a great place to live but also a great place to exchange ideas collaboratively, a perfect bridge back to Brazil. I've recently co-founded an exchange between Rio de Janeiro and New York, called Faiscas.org, and through it we are collectively demonstrating the power that architecture has to spark the imagination. I've just returned from Rio where we coordinated an architecture exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art entitled FEITO PRO RIO. Studio Libeskind is also very keen to engage with Brazil so we are continuously pursuing projects there.
Do you think there are many opportunities in Brazil if you are an architect?
It's not easy, but I do think the opportunities are there. Open competitions are one way to carve out these opportunities, especially for young architects, and more of these are needed for Brazil to foster the talent that is available to rethink the city and its architecture.
What Brazilian things do you do in New York?
I am constantly hosting people from Brazil, my apartment in Brooklyn is bit like a mini Brazil where friends and visitors get together to talk and share ideas. Music can take me back - Forro in the Dark and DJ Greg are the perfect way to be transported home.
What would a perfect night out in Brazil involve?
Bars like Circo Voador, Arco Iris, Febrarj and Democraticos in the Lapa district of Rio.
Are there any Brazilian expressions that would do well translated in to English?
'Sangue Bom' which literally means 'Good Blood' and is commonly used among Cariocas. I've been involved in an architecture studio through Columbia University that is focused on Rio and is called Studio Sangue Bom. We bring students to Rio to meet and interact with people.
How do you think being Brazilian has shaped your aesthetic?
Brazil is a constant source of inspiration every day. I grew up in Rio and its geographic setting has always had a huge impact. The way that the city interacts with the mountains and the ocean makes it a unique place and a fantastic fuel for design ideas.