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Interview with Javier Sanchez: “Where are the Projects? Let’s Find Them!”

09:30 - 17 October, 2017
Interview with Javier Sanchez: “Where are the Projects? Let’s Find Them!”, The 22, Lima, Peru, 2010. Image © Eduardo Hirose
The 22, Lima, Peru, 2010. Image © Eduardo Hirose

In the decade since the start of the financial crisis, there has been an explosion in the number of architectural practices that have pursued unusual and ingenious business models—among the most popular of which is the concept of the developer-architect, who serves as their own client. With his architecture firm and development company JSa, Javier Sanchez has been proving this concept since long before the financial crisis hit. In the latest interview of his City of Ideas series—and the third of his interviews with Mexican architects after Enrique NortenAlberto Kalach and  Mauricio Rocha and Gabriela Carrillo—Vladimir Belogolovsky speaks to Sanchez about the benefits of working as one’s own client and how JSa leverages its business model to improve the city.

Vladimir Belogolovsky: You are often described as a developer first and an architect second. Is that accurate? How do you see yourself?

Javier Sanchez: Well, I started as a developer and I became an architect as a consequence. In fact, in the beginning, I only worked as a developer. Now about three-quarters of our projects are for other clients and only a quarter we develop ourselves. I think of development as a tool that enables me to do my architecture. This is what I learned directly from my father’s partner who, apart from heading their architecture studio, worked on small-scale development projects on his own, in partnership with investors. He was both an architect and client, which was intriguing to me. In a way, it was almost like being an artist, since artists don’t usually have clients. I like the idea that an architect can face himself and the project directly without having a client.

Carlota Hotel, Mexico City, Mexico, 2015. Image © Rafael Gamo Spanish Cultural Center, Mexico City, Mexico, 2012. Image © Rafael Gamo Hotel Condesa, Mexico City, Mexico, 2005. Image © Luis Gordoa Amsterdam Tower, Mexico City, Mexico, 2012. Image Courtesy of JSa + 58

The Best Photos of the Week: The Beauty of Concrete

12:00 - 20 August, 2017

Due to its ability to be shaped into complex forms and the diversity of textures that it can offer, concrete is one of the favorite materials of many architects, who appreciate its capacity to help them realize their designs. For this reason, for this week's Photos of the Week we have selected 20 images that highlight the beauty and expressiveness of this material. Read on to see a selection of renowned photographers such as Brigida GonzálezBruno Candiotto, Élena Marini Silvestri, and Raphael Olivier.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Élena Marini Silvestri © Ivan Brodey © Fernando Stankuns + 21

Funerary Garden / Taller DIEZ 05

17:00 - 18 July, 2017
Funerary Garden / Taller DIEZ 05, © Luis Gordoa
© Luis Gordoa

© Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa + 32

  • Architects

  • Location

    Medellín, Ver., Mexico
  • Architect in Charge

    Manuel Herrera Gil
  • Area

    450.0 m2
  • Project Year

    2016
  • Photographs

Casa Risco / Estefanía Barrios & Silvana Barrios

13:00 - 30 June, 2017
Casa Risco / Estefanía Barrios & Silvana Barrios, © Luis Gordoa
© Luis Gordoa

© Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa + 32

Casa del Abuelo / Taller DIEZ 05

13:00 - 11 June, 2017
Casa del Abuelo / Taller DIEZ 05, © Luis Gordoa
© Luis Gordoa

© Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa + 28

  • Architects

  • Location

    Córdoba, Veracruz, México
  • Architect in Charge

    Manuel Herrera Gil
  • Collaborators

    LP-Francisco Dorado, Juan Rodríguez.
  • Area

    780.0 m2
  • Project Year

    2016
  • Photographs

Spotlight: Toyo Ito

04:00 - 1 June, 2017
Spotlight: Toyo Ito, Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2002 / Toyo Ito + Cecil Balmond + Arup. Image © Sylvain Deleu
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2002 / Toyo Ito + Cecil Balmond + Arup. Image © Sylvain Deleu

As one of the leading architects of Japan's increasingly highly-regarded architecture culture, 2013 Pritzker Laureate Toyo Ito (born June 1, 1941) has defined his career by combining elements of minimalism with an embrace of technology, in a way that merges both traditional and contemporary elements of Japanese culture.

Tower of Winds. Image © Tomio Ohashi Tama Art University Library. Image ©  Iwan Baan Sendai Mediatheque. Image © Nacasa & Partners Inc Taichung Metropolitan Opera House. Image © Lucas K. Doolan + 15

13 Stunning Inner Courtyards

12:00 - 15 January, 2017
13 Stunning Inner Courtyards

We would like to take a second to focus on the wonderful, yet often overlooked, inner courtyard. The inner courtyard is essentially a "contained outside space" made up of transparent walls, and a well thought-out drainage system is a must. Other elements such as furnishings, decks, vegetation, stairs, water are then added, complicating the space created. The inner courtyard also plays a role in the building's layout; in most cases it functions as the central point from which the other rooms and functions of the project are organized, giving them air and light when the façade openings are not enough.

Here is our selection of 13 stunning inner courtyards of houses and buildings that we have previously published on our site.

40 Impressive Details Using Concrete

08:00 - 8 November, 2016
40 Impressive Details Using Concrete

Due to its ability to mold and create different shapes, concrete is one of architecture's most popular materials. While one of its most common uses is as a humble foundation, its plasticity means that it is also used in almost all types of construction, from housing to museums, presenting a variety of details of work that deserves special attention.

Check out this collection of 40 projects that highlight the use of concrete. Impressive! 

The Key Architectural Elements Required to Design Yoga and Meditation Spaces

08:00 - 18 October, 2016
The Key Architectural Elements Required to Design Yoga and Meditation Spaces, AYC / DX Arquitectos. Santiago de Chile. Image © Pablo Blanco
AYC / DX Arquitectos. Santiago de Chile. Image © Pablo Blanco

For several decades, a set of oriental practices and techniques have strongly infiltrated the western world. A new program that, as architects, we must start solving more often, and that poses interesting challenges from the point of functional, environmental, and aesthetic.

These disciplines are completely focused on the human being, as they seek to work and satisfy their physical, psychological and spiritual needs, and that's why it seems important to analyze how these needs are being met spatially by architects. Many of the operations taken in these spaces create enabling environments for reflection, introspection, healing, and therefore could also be applied in other relevant programs, such as housing, educational, hospital, and even office spaces.

This article seeks to draw lessons from some projects already published on our site, in order to perform a kind of guide for designs that helps our community of readers to find inspiration more effectively.

Estudio Para Yoga-Kamadhenu / Carolina Echevarri + Alberto Burckhardt. Cundinamarca, Colombia. Image © Juan Cristobal Cobo AYC / DX Arquitectos. Santiago de Chile. Image © Pablo Blanco Centro Holístico Punto Zero / Dio Sustentable. Putaendo, Chile. Image © Jean Pierre Marchant y Fernando J. Romero Ritual House de Yoga / goCstudio. Seattle, Estados Unidos. Image © Kevin Scott + 29

CENTRO / TEN Arquitectos

11:00 - 6 October, 2016
CENTRO / TEN Arquitectos, © Luis Gordoa
© Luis Gordoa

© Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa + 56

  • Architects

  • Location

    Av Constituyentes 455, América, 11820 Ciudad de México, D.F., México
  • Architect in Charge

    Enrique Norten
  • Area

    7315.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2015
  • Photographs

Sonora 113 / Iñaki Echeverría

15:00 - 22 June, 2016
Sonora 113 / Iñaki Echeverría , © Luis Gordoa
© Luis Gordoa

© Luis Gordoa © Jaime Navarro © Jaime Navarro © Jaime Navarro + 25

  • Architects

  • Location

    Av Sonora 113, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
  • Design Director

    Iñaki Echeverría
  • Design Team

    Iván Parra, Josué Lee, Carolina Ayala, Guillermo López, Israel Meneses, Janisse Cruz, Jimena Castañeda, Jesús Santillán, Jorge Durán, Mario Espinoza, Osvaldo Estrada, Roberto Fuerte, Rogelio Rodriguez, Xochitl Zuñiga
  • Area

    406.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2016
  • Photographs

Museo Internacional del Barroco / Toyo Ito & Associates

13:00 - 24 April, 2016
Museo Internacional del Barroco / Toyo Ito & Associates, © Patrick Lopez Jaimes / Danstek
© Patrick Lopez Jaimes / Danstek

© Patrick Lopez Jaimes / Danstek © Patrick Lopez Jaimes / Danstek © Patrick Lopez Jaimes / Danstek © Patrick Lopez Jaimes / Danstek + 46

  • Architects

  • Location

    Via Atlixcayotl, Reserva Territorial Atlixcáyotl, Corredor Comercial Desarrollo Atlixcayotl, Puebla, Pue., Mexico
  • Architectural Project

    Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects
  • Local Architect

    Federico Bautista Alonso
  • Area

    18149.0 m2
  • Project Year

    2016
  • Photographs

San Pablo Academic and Cultural Center / Taller de Arquitectura Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo

11:00 - 14 April, 2016
San Pablo Academic and Cultural Center / Taller de Arquitectura Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo, © Sandra Pereznieto
© Sandra Pereznieto

© Sandra Pereznieto © Francisco León © Sandra Pereznieto © Sandra Pereznieto + 25

Interview with Enrique Norten: "Architecture is Not a Competition of Strange Objects"

11:30 - 5 January, 2016
Interview with Enrique Norten: "Architecture is Not a Competition of Strange Objects", Rutgers Business School, Piscataway, New Jersey. Image © Peter Aaron
Rutgers Business School, Piscataway, New Jersey. Image © Peter Aaron

Founded in 1986 in Mexico City, Enrique Norten's practice TEN Arquitectos is not known for a signature style, preferring to make each project a modernist-infused response to its own specific conditions. Nonetheless, they have become one of the most widely-recognized architectural practices emerging from Mexico, with projects throughout North America. In the latest interview in his "City of Ideas" column, Vladimir Belogolovsky speaks with Norten in New York to find out how the architect's past has influenced his current design work, and to discuss the future trajectory of architecture.

Vladimir Belogolovsky: How busy are you now, what kind of projects are you working on?

Enrique Norten: Fortunately, we are very busy. Half of our work is for such clients as cultural institutions, education, and government. The other half is for private clients – developers and homeowners. TEN Arquitectos maintains around 75 to 85 architects between our two offices in Mexico City and here in New York, from where we are working on projects in many major cities in the US and now in Toronto, and in the Caribbean. Two thirds of the work is handled by our Mexico City office, from which we work on projects all over Mexico and in Central America.

The new Acapulco City Hall. Image Courtesy of TEN Arquitectos CENTRO University, Mexico City. Image © Luis Gordoa Mercedes House, New York City. Image © Evan Joseph Habita Hotel, Mexico City. Image © Luis Gordoa + 23

RGT House / GBF Taller de Arquitectura

11:00 - 7 August, 2015
RGT House / GBF Taller de Arquitectura, © Luis Gordoa
© Luis Gordoa

© Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa + 37

Hidalga Residence / grupoarquitectura

17:00 - 3 July, 2015
Hidalga Residence / grupoarquitectura, © Luis Gordoa
© Luis Gordoa

© Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa + 40

  • Architects

  • Location

    Mexico City, Mexico
  • Architect in Charge

    Daniel Álvarez
  • Design Team

    Pilar Medina, Rosa López, Susana López, Raúl Chávez, Sergio Valdés, Francisco Puente, Manuel Campos
  • Area

    900.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2010
  • Photographs

Floraplant Pavillion / T3arc

13:00 - 2 June, 2015
Floraplant Pavillion / T3arc, © Luis Gordoa
© Luis Gordoa

© Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa + 39

  • Architects

  • Location

    Casasano, San Pedro Apatlaco, Mor., Mexico
  • Architect In Charge

    Alfredo Cano Briceno
  • Area

    220.0 m2
  • Year

    2011
  • Photographs

Malinalco House / Arquitectura Alternativa

01:00 - 2 January, 2015
Malinalco House / Arquitectura Alternativa, © Luis Gordoa
© Luis Gordoa

© Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa © Luis Gordoa + 22