Award-winning architect Tatiana Bilbao spoke in an interview released by Louisiana Channel about her frustrations with today’s concept of sustainability in architecture. Living in Mexico, which Bilbao describes as a “country with no resources,” she states that people are accustomed to not wasting resources and that “sustainability” is a natural part of daily life. “I hate the word ‘sustainability’ because I think it has become a word that can qualify a type of architecture, and for me it should be embedded.”
Recycling and saving energy come naturally in a country like Mexico, “you behave yourself responsibly because you don’t have the resources to waste them.” Nature, as well, is integral to architecture for Bilbao and she expresses astonishment at the buildings in countries with more abundant wealth that disregard their natural climate. Acknowledging that it’s difficult to understand this mindset when you do have resources at your disposal, she wishes sustainable practices were natural and expected instead of a specific classification of design.
Tatiana Bilbao is a Mexican architect who founded Tatiana Bilbao Estudio in 2004. Working out of Mexico City, the firm has completed projects throughout Europe, China, and Mexico. Her work often focuses on the landscape, at various scales, and a “flexible building prototype” she presented at the Chicago Architecture Biennial 2015 was commissioned by the Mexican government to provide low-cost housing and address the country’s housing shortage. Bilbao has won multiple awards, including the UNESCO Global Award for Sustainable Architecture Prize in 2014.