Arquitectura en Movimiento

Interview with Mexico City architects.
This office is unlike a traditional architecture studio, in what ways is it unique in the way it approaches projects? 
We are a workshop made up of different professionals. Each project is unique and we use different methodologies to address issues.  Our teams are made up of 2-3 people, and with each project we present it to the office to get feedback from our colleagues.  We have sought to make architecture as a process. We understand that this type of work is not done by an individual but by a team of highly motivated and talented people.  We think of ourselves as alchemists rather than artists and think the process of making architecture as a solution full of values, principles, and social responsibility. 

Who were the original people that started out the studio, and how has it grown since? 
ARQMOV was founded by Fabio Correa, Eduardo Micha, and Ernesto TerĂ¡n (now separated, with his studio). Since then we have grown to about 25- 30 architects, artists, engineers and administrators.

You are a Mexican office but do a lot of projects abroad. How are you able to keep up with such demands from international locations? 
We have had the opportunity to work outside Mexico in several places, In USA: Colorado, NYC, Miami, Texas and other parts of the world such as Italy, Mundra and Mumbai in India. It's actually easier now, with technology we can understand and address our projects by maintaining constant communication and achieve completed projects as if they were right here.
Are most of your projects driven by clients, or is there sometimes room for experimentation with different materials and techniques.  
50% of our projects are private contracts with individual customers where they ask a specific project with specific characteristics. The other 50% consists of projects that generate ourselves with investors and projects through contests or invitations.

To date how many projects have you been able to realize?
Of all the projects we have done we have physically built 40% this would be a total of 90 projects and counting.

Which ones have been your favorite? 
It's hard to say which is the favorite, it is always what we are doing at the moment.

Besides commercial and residential projects have you worked on any cultural or urban projects?  
Yes, we have made a master plan for a set of social services in education, sport and culture. Also we have designed the urban complex of a green hotel in Tulum. We do many competitions that are launched by the government and international bodies, we have participated in several editions of the Condesa Roma Cultural Corridor, as well as art installations. Last year we won the design of a memorial for the Holocaust.
What has been the most challenging part of being an architect in Mexico?
There are many challenges, from physical, cultural, geographical, weather, etc. However faced with the authorities in Mexico and the institutions responsible for the city they are corrupt and make the paperwork and getting permits a difficult process.

What things have you learned from working in other countries that you have brought back with you to Mexico?
Mainly technology and software programs that are very useful for developing projects making its implementation easier and more accurate.
Also the construction process from such places like India where the techniques are spectacular and can achieve "almost" everything.
How is the city changing now in terms of new architecture projects and construction techniques?
Globalization has reached many countries, this means that the architecture has been "homogenized" in some way where you can see the same materials in Mexico, USA, China, India, etc. Innovation in the implementation of technological advances in engineering terms has allowed the possibility to accommodate large and beautiful structures.
What are some issues that the city will need to address while it continues to grow?
First of all do away with corrupt governments; the user needs to understand the culture, customs, needs and gaps. Planners need to propose solutions that meet the present and the future, updating building codes where the pedestrian and public transport takes a leading role.

Where do you see your office being in 5 years and what kind of projects will you continue to work on?
ARQMOV sees projects in more countries, with more projects that respond to social and urban issues, always giving solutions and innovative proposals.