We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winners for our "MICROHOME #6" competition – Xavier Duque, María Mercedes Reinoso and Nicolás Viteri from Ecuador!

Xavier Duque from Ecuador

I am part of a collaborative work practice named El Sindicato Arquitectura, co-founded by María Reinoso, Nicolás Viteri and myself (Xavier Duque) in September 2014 in Quito, Ecuador. Throughout our professional journey we have received a wide range of collaborators. Currently, our team consists of 4 co-workers: Erika, Diana, Juan and Jonathan.

We perceive architecture as a craft learned through practice, and we use it to enhance our personal explorations through a collective approach. We perceive our profession as a tool that incorporates a range of learned through practice. As a result, we carry out multidisciplinary work focused on architectural and furniture design, construction, project management, and the development of cultural and educational initiatives.

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 multidisciplinary practice, we have focused on developing projects across various fields, not only limited to architecture but also including cultural, project management, and educational areas. In architecture and construction, our work ranges from meticulously crafted structural systems, furniture and objects to the systematic and conceptual creation of livable spaces, like “Casa Parásito”, “Casa entre Árboles”, “Casa Perucho”, among others.

Regarding our multidisciplinary contribution, we have initiated, managed, and directed cultural projects such as "El Parque." This platform serves as a space for creative entrepreneurship, promoting artistic, cultural and alternative economies. Furthermore, "Martes de Mierda" is an artistic and cultural space designed to encourage conversations on various themes, featuring multidisciplinary guests and participants. Additionally, "EnObra" is a collaborative project aimed to blur the boundaries between professional practice and learning. It brings together academia and practical experience through a series of experimental workshops, covering topics from construction techniques to photography classes.

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

We see architecture as a tool that enables us to add value to personal pursuits through collective action, taking a positive advantage of its complexity and the various ways the profession offers for personal growth while being supported by our team. Our role, beyond any technical or aesthetic aspects, is to ensure that the projects we design hold the same thoughtful meaning for the people who inhabit them.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

Participating in architecture competitions has not only enabled us to explore various approaches for our own projects but has also allowed us to share our processes and receive valuable feedback from different perspectives. Overall, this experience enriches us and provides an opportunity to explore new concepts, pushing our boundaries.

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

The best advice we could give is that you can learn a lot from trying. Aspects such as teamwork, research, visual communication, and even ways of transmitting ideas into texts and diagrams are areas where improvement is always possible within your professional practice. Furthermore, participation can also provide opportunities to explore topics outside your usual explorations which can be equally enriching.

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