Today, Michel Rojkind is widely known as one of Mexico's most successful, and at times flamboyant, architects of the 21st century. But in spite of his success, his path to architecture was never straightforward; before founding Rojkind Arquitectos, he spent over a decade as a drummer in pop-rock band Aleks Syntek y La Gente Normal, an experience which he actually credits with sparking his interest in architecture. An article released this week by Surface Magazine offers an extensive profile of Rojkind, from his childhood, through his days as a drummer, to the difficulties he experienced on his architectural work--including the disastrous opening of Mexico City's Cineteca Nacional in 2014. Read some excerpts from Surface Magazine's article after the break.
On growing up, from 1975 to 1978, as a kid in the Bronx and Scarsdale, New York:
It was super hard. Being a Mexican living in New York, I would get into fights all the time. Kids would be like, ‘You’re not Mexican—you’re blonde and have blue eyes. Mexicans are dark-skinned.’
On touring in the 1990s as the drummer in the band Aleks Syntek y la Gente Normal:
I would arrive at a new airport and see the infrastructure, and then go to the hotel and see that, and then go out and see the plazas and the people. I started understanding the power of architecture, and how it defines spaces and makes people feel. It was through touring that I fell in love with urbanism, architecture, and the relationship we have to our surroundings. You would think it would have happened in school, but no.
On comparing music and architecture:
If you’re a musician and you hear somebody play like a motherfucker, you want to jam with him. When I quit music and started architecture, I thought it was the same kind of creative situation.
On the premature opening of Cineteca Nacional in Mexico City, in 2014:
All the press was there. The cinemas were packed. And then it starts pouring like crazy. It starts hailing. The project floods like crazy. Rain comes through the lamps inside of the theaters. Everyone has to evacuate. There was a huge thing in the newspapers: ‘This architect doesn’t know how to build!’ I’m like, ‘I’m not the builder—I’m the designer.’ … I learned what trolling was after that project. I was getting all these online trolls screaming ‘You fucking architect!’ … I swore that I would never work with the government again after Cineteca.
Read the full profile by Spencer Bailey over at Surface Magazine here.