Estudio Macías Peredo is led by Salvador Macías Corona and Magui Peredo Arenas and is based in Guadalajara, Mexico. In their lecture as one of the winners of the Architectural League’s annual Emerging Voices awards, Corona and Arenas reveal the ways in which the local conditions and building traditions of their country have become creative drivers for their contemporary practice of architecture. They have a shared interest in primitive buildings, seeking to incorporate some of the inherent abstract qualities of primitive structures in ways that address contemporary issues.
They begin by showing a hand-painted clay plane that they found in a local market and speak about its symbolic issues in relation to cultural appropriation, explaining how it symbolizes in many ways their approach to local architecture. Guadalajara itself represents an interesting architectural landscape that is defined by the work of skilled local laborers. This reality has developed their unique approach to design in which they are in constant dialogue with local artisans to intentionally plan for a certain degree of imperfection.
Some of their realizations about vernacular material came to them through their work on a local renovation project in which they uncovered traditionally built brick walls behind a modern whitewashed façade. To them, the wall represented a beautiful work in itself, and the decision was made to simply renovate the existing structure to keep the existing brick walls and showcase their texture. After their discovery of the potential for authentic brick masonry in their renovation project, they chose to incorporate the same building system into new projects.
Subsequent projects show contemporary bricks that are laid out to create textured walls and unique exterior spaces. Largely, the forms of their architecture are determined by the skills of their artisans. Through the use of modular systems, their artisans were able to use simple tools to efficiently create wood frame constructions on-site. The wood frame construction in several of their projects is left exposed, reinforcing the idea of architecture as a form of artisanal craft.
Corona and Arenas reveal the ways in which they conceptualize their combination of primitive structures with thatch roofs with modernist forms such as the Farnsworth house. This hybridization was abstracted and further explored in their Casa Arenas house, where they attempted to combine the vernacular and the modern.
In Terraza CV in Zapopan, hand-cut masonry is carefully fitted together to give the modern house warm and vernacular qualities. These vernacular qualities are taken even further in one of their most recent projects currently under construction in which a traditional thatched roof structure often seen on Mexican beaches is incorporated. Used in combination with a concrete structure, the two materials create a truly hybrid building that embraces its local context.
Perhaps most significantly, Corona and Arenas reveal the ways in which many of their buildings demonstrate the passage of time through the simple integration of handmade and natural materials.