We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the 2nd prize winner of our "SKYHIVE #5" competition – Edgar Rodriguez from United States!

Edgar Rodriguez from United States

My name is Edgar Rodriguez. I am a co-founder of operadora, an architectural design studio based in Mexico City and Syracuse, NY, and an Assistant Teaching Professor at the Syracuse University School of Architecture. I hold a master's degree in Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a bachelor's degree in Architecture from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City.

I founded operadora with Alexis Ávila in 2014, and since 2016 we have been directing the office in collaboration with José Juan Garay. Our operation has changed in size throughout this time but maintained a small scale of 4-10 full-time collaborators. Partnerships with other offices and practitioners have been fundamental to our way of working; in the past, we have worked with graphic designers, photographers, artists, programmers, and other architects to expand our reach into different scales and types of 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?

I am interested in applying and developing architectural ideas within and outside the realm of building design. I believe this interest has informed our approach to practice and the types of projects we participate in, in favor of a broader range of project types and scales, sometimes outside the traditional boundaries of architecture. Previous projects include houses, commercial and housing buildings, retail and apartment interiors, urban interventions, pavilions, books, branding strategies, t-shirts, websites, and cultural events.

We are currently involved in designing and building a small rural residence, a couple of interior renovation projects, and an apartment building in Mexico City.

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

This question was one of our early discussions when starting our office. What is architecture, anyways? And we took the dictionary and redacted our definition of architecture. For operadora, architecture is: "The logical and physical structure of the components." Leaving the medium or subject open for interpretation was always one of our main interests and drivers in thinking about architecture.

Unfortunately, the role of architects is still generally misunderstood in our social context; architects not only design buildings. I believe that as creative thinkers, architects have the skills necessary to visualize and interpret complex problems, imagine alternatives, and initiate discussions.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

Architecture competitions are a great way to explore risky and unconventional ideas and communicate them to a larger audience. I see a lot of value in having the chance to share my work with people from around the world and hopefully start new conversations about it.

Also, I believe that competitions help synthesize a concept into its core values and elements. I consider the design requirements of a brief as an opportunity to apply and test out the implications of an architectural idea.

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

Two pieces of advice: 1. look for calls that match your interests. This way, participating in competitions becomes more of a platform to test and refine your ideas rather than a matter of winning or losing. Hopefully, in preparing the submission for the competition, you will produce work that is valuable to advancing your thoughts and design skills.

And 2. test your ideas in different competitions. Different juries, different deliverables, or even different designs can help you develop and refine an idea.

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