We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winners for our "Iceland Greenhouse Restaurant" competition – Silvia Undurraga, Ricardo Abuauad, Camilo Alvarez and Constanza Lobos from Chile!
Ricardo Abuauad and Silvia Undurraga from Chile
Our studio was founded by the Architects Silvia Undurraga, Ricardo Abuauad and the Landscape Designer Ana María Trufello, in the year 2018. However, everyone developed professional activities since the 90’s, either independently or associated with other architects. We made contracts and/or partnered up with different collaborating architects or professionals for the development of the projects we took on.
In the case of the development of the proposal for this contest, in addition to the partners and principal developers previously mentioned, we had the collaboration and support of two architects, Camilo Álvarez and Constanza Lobos, who have worked for us in the past two years.
The name of our firm “Ciudad Nueva, Arquitectura y Paisaje” (New City, Architecture and Landscape), signifies our commitment and knowledge that range from urbanism and architecture to territory and landscaping. The relationship in each project between what is built, the place and the culture in which it is inserted and developed, is our primary focus and the motivation to develop projects, that impress in a positive way, the people and places in which they are inserted.
The Studio is based in the city of Santiago of Chile, developing projects across the country, and have international experience as well.
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?
We have developed projects for corporative firms in different scales, as well as single family homes and real estate projects for living places. We have also developed projects of urbanism, public space, and landscaping. One of the current projects of our studio that influenced in the development of our proposal was a “The House by the Pier”, in Chiloé, a job in one of Chile’s southern islands, in front of an imposing landscape, in which the theme of sustainability and the close relationship between the landscape and the local culture were essential. Before the formation of our studio, our members also developed projects that were recognized and awarded, such as institutional buildings for a long-established neighborhood in the center of Santiago, which ended up being defined as the University Neighborhood characteristic of the city.
What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?
Our vision of Architecture is the material expression built by the relationship between the people, their environment, and their own culture. This material expression has, in our opinion, one main purpose, the development and improvement of the quality of life, with a deep respect of environment and landscape in which our work is inserted and as the reflection of the culture it represents. Thus, it is possible to define a way of community life in a rich, diverse, and respectful way with the place in which it is being developed. Our concept of architecture comes from the perspective of its relationship with landscape and city, taking care of the connection with our clients, so that our work might reflect and improve their way of life.
We see architecture from the perspective of our country, Chile, whose imposing, varied and extreme landscapes, such as, Andes’ Mountain range, Atacama’s desert, or the native forests of the southern region, amongst others, influence different ways of emplacement, cultures, materials and constructive relationships. This way of observing architecture from a country deeply in touch with its territory, without a doubt had a strong influence in our motivation for participating in this project in particular, in a country like Iceland, that represents many of these concepts and has developed in an exemplary way these relationships and ways of life that make a positive impression on nature.
Why do you participate in architecture competitions?
Our motivation to participate in different architecture competitions, is moved by a profound believe of the importance these kinds of opportunities give, as a disciplinary reflection, in order to explore new applied solutions for new fields, develop and deepen concepts and ideas of our architecture, by giving concretes opportunities for a huge variety of new challenges that could end in solutions applicable to other commissions. It gives us the opportunity of a different perspective away from the common and daily affairs in an architecture studio.
This is also why the architects of our office are linked to the academic world, investigating, and teaching the discipline. We also believe that challenges professionally and academically are a way to nurture discussion and the project of architecture. It’s basically about feeding the creative space with more liberty.
What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture competitions?
Participating in a contest may seem like a difficult decision in the economical aspect, in the rational use of time and resources. However, we believe that it is very important, both for any studio and even more important for the younger architects that are defining their focuses and goals. The key is to choose wisely the contests that motivate the architects, and that allow reflection of the highest level, for the profiling and development of the themes and create an opportunity to increase the foundation of a disciplined development that each professional wants to follow. This is the most important way to make one’s own way in the competitive world of architectural Studios.
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