We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winners for our “Abu Dhabi Flamingo Visitor Center” competition – Yonatan Buchhandler and Valerio Nelli from the United Kingdom.

Yonatan Buchhandler and Valerio Nelli

After studying together for three years, back in 2006 and keeping their personal and professional relationship alive over the last 14 years, Buchhandler-Nelli was founded by Yonatan Buchhandler and Valerio Nelli in 2018.

The practice is currently based in both New-York and London with various active projects worldwide.

Yonatan Buchhandler graduated from the Architectural Association in London and gained experience in designing and delivering a range of buildings, master plans and urban design projects for public and private sector clients while working for several London based practices.

Valerio Nelli graduated from La Sapienza in Rome and gained experience working for several practices in Italy, UAE and the US where he managed to successfully deliver projects that span from residential to commercial, as well as hospitality and retail.

Together they have more than 15 years of experience in the field of architecture and have created several awarded projects.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where the company/individuals have been involved?

As a young and emerging practice, we are keen on working simultaneously in both competitions and built projects.

The practice is currently working on a wide range of projects, including a​ ​single-family house in Chandigarh​ and a​ ​small family retreat on the lake of Lac-Mégantic, Québec, Canada​.

The scale of the projects that the practice is currently dealing with is mainly dictated by the wish of delivering a building that could be controlled throughout the whole design process, from concept to completion.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of the architect in your society?

We see architecture as a composition of spatial elements, such as atmospheres, materiality, landscape, lights, shadows and sounds. Elements that allow us to imagine spaces that are not yet constructed. We believe that the role of the architect is to consider, understand and ultimately focus on those physical and social elements during the design process and to generate spaces curated for the users to engage with.

Why do you participate in architecture vision competitions?

We believe that competitions are the most liberating and creative form of architectural design. It is a great way to challenge ourselves by trying to bring new ideas and develop our thoughts in the field of architecture.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture vision competitions?

Competitions are a great way to develop architectural thinking and design skills while guiding you towards an understanding of what might be of interest to you in architecture.

We find the approach to it extremely fascinating.

It is all about the journey, the thinking process and the personal challenge; a sort of slow process which often leads towards discovering something unexpected.

Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Enter Architecture Competitions

Curious about the value of architecture competitions? Discover the transformative power they can have on your career - from igniting creativity and turning designs into reality, to gaining international recognition.

Learn more