“For me, architecture is not for architects. It’s for the people. In truth, architecture is necessary as long as people need it.” Mercedes Miras Varelas
This quote echoes many of my sentiments about disappointment with elitist architects and educators. Last week a colleague was explaining that architects seem to hate every building they did not personally design. And that is a travesty to our profession as architects.
Mercedes Miras Varelas (1969-) studied architecture at Seville School of Architecture (ETSAS) completing her diploma in 1997. She has been in private practice in Almeria, Spain since 1998. Castillo opened his own practice in 2000, and Mercedes joined a few years later. Her built work involves public buildings like a Center for Old Age People and a residence for the mentally disabled. She has developed several restoration projects like the Conversion of a XVIII century building into the Andalucía Photography Museum and the Restoration of a Tower in Huercal-Overa. Lately she has been working for the Andalucía Regional Government as a consultant and public participation manager for a number of projects involving the refurbishment of social housing and urban spaces in socially troubled areas.
There is a new wind among younger practitioners. They explain it well on their site:
Our work aims to show that our society needs a new architecture: one that has the ability to solve problems, not create them, one that provides practical solutions that are economically feasible, but also an architecture that transcends the merely utilitarian. When we think about architecture, there are some important concepts we reflect on: recycling, reusing the obsolete and the reclaiming degraded structures, spaces and landscapes. We like to reuse the existing and take it further: to see what others do not see, reclaiming the obsolescent.
We are part of a new architectural sensibility that has these strategies as starting point, rejecting the artistification of architecture as well as its transmutation into a product for mass consumption.
Here is a link to their firm website in Spanish and English, where you can view some of their work:
Also search for them on ArchDaily and Architizer.
You can read more of these quotes in the book : ‘the ARCHIITECT says’, compiled and edited by Laura S. Dushkes, published by the Princeton Architectural Press. She is the architectural librarian at the firm NBBJ in Seattle.