Fala Atelier was founded in Porto in 2013 by Filipe Magalhães (Porto, 1987), Ana Luisa Soares (Porto, 1988) and Ahmed Belkhodja (Lausanne, 1990) to make the most of the diverse professional input they had experienced at SANAA, Toyo Ito, Harry Gugger Studio and Atelier Bow- Wow. Believing that “architecture is a profession aimed at putting things together, not taking them apart”, the three principals have developed an original and recognisable design language.
Fascinated by the legacy of postmodernism, their references are Kazuo Shinohara, Álvaro Siza, Robert Venturi, Rudolf Olgiati, Peter Märkli, Itsuko Hasegawa and Mario Botta. They entrust the narrative that lies behind their projects to the technique of digital collage as an alternative to the classic rendering, thereby offering a realistic vision of how the designed space will evolve. At the start of the office, the collages met with viral success on the Web, which helped open the doors to their first assignments.
Fala Atelier describes itself as “a naïve architecture practice” whose work ranges from private residences to shops, temporary displays and structures for public use in Portugal and abroad. In Porto, House in Fontaínhas (2019) shows the layering of antagonistic spatial conformations; House along the Wall (2018) is a play of blue and white elements; and Uneven House (2019) is the renovation of a former store with a cellar.
Projects for public use include Feathers (aka Folly for Sun and Sound), an experimental openair stage for the 2019 Horst Arts and Music Festival in Vilvoorde, north of Brussels. In addition to giving talks and academic courses in Europe, the US and Australia, the Fala members participated in the 2015 and 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial and the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennial. Exhibitions of the office’s work have been hosted at Fundação de Serralves (2017) in Porto and at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal (2016) in Paris.
In February 2020, Fala Atelier received the Spotlight Award from the Rice University School of Architecture in Houston, which “recognises the work of exceptionally gifted national and international architects in the early stages of their professional career who have demonstrated design excellence and curiosity through their body of work.” In 2017, Fala published 01, a collection of its early projects. In January 2020, the international architecture journal 2G dedicated the monographic issue number 80 to the office.