From Blueprint to Building: Ângela Roldão’s Journey

Architecture is where math meets creativity to turn ideas into real structures. The journey of Ângela Roldão tells us how to do it. With a long career and a simple idea of blending art with function, Roldão’s journey from a young artist to a renowned architect provides insights of her story.


When asked how she got into architecture, Roldão recalls being unsure at 17. “It’s tough to pick something for life,” she says. Her dad nudged her toward architecture because she liked art. She found it’s a mix of logic, math, and creativity. “I’m lucky,” she says.


In her career, Ângela Roldão has faced various challenges, from adapting designs to client preferences to overcoming the complexities of her home state, Minas Gerais. One memorable project a farm went through 35 different versions before completion, highlighting the need to adjust to clients evolving tastes.


Roldão’s fondness for brutalist architecture, influenced by her studies in Munich and the Bauhaus movement, is evident in her preference for concrete and steel. She values architecture that exudes clarity and strength without unnecessary ornamentation.


Leveraging local resources and skilled labor in Minas Gerais, she brings her visions to life. Despite her successes, Roldão acknowledges the hurdles faced by women in architecture. While prevalent in academic settings, practical recognition and success can be elusive. Nevertheless, she emphasizes the importance of perseverance and a bit of luck in making a mark in the field.


Ângela Roldão believes architects have a crucial role to play in addressing global challenges like overpopulation and environmental degradation. She advocates for practical design solutions that prioritize efficient space use and sustainability. Roldão envisions a future where architecture promotes equity and responsible stewardship of the planet.


She emphasizes her commitment to using local resources responsibly, aiming to work in harmony with nature while creating both sturdy and delicate structures. Roldão also expresses her desire to share her insights globally, grateful for opportunities like this interview in Kosovo, which allow her to contribute to the dialogue on a larger scale.


Ângela Roldão’s Advice for the Next Generation of Architects

Study, study, study. Sensitivity and empathy. Never forget that architecture is made by and for human beings. A great Brazilian sculptor, Amilcar de Castro who, like me, is from Minas Gerais, taught me: “architecture is an imposing art. Never forget to observe the surroundings in which the work will be located and the people who will pass by it and will be forced to live with it! And an observation: it seems to me that joint actions will prevail in the future. So, if you can work in a group, even better! That’s how I would do it if I had to start over.”




Ângela Roldão’s Website.


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