Mientras que mi web professional muestra las obras de mi despacho como arquitecto, este blog recopila documentación sobre una serie de actividades que desarrollo en paralelo a él. El ejercicio internacional de la profesión, las entidades entorno a las que se organizan los arquitectos o la reflexión sobre los modos de intervención en la ciudad constituyen los principales puntos de atención, al tiempo que se facilita el acceso a una serie de enlaces relacionados.


The Leie River has been enlarged and modified to allow bigger barge traffic. This is at the origin of the transformation that their margins have experienced in recent years as it passes through the city of Kortrijk.

These interventions have been used by the city to bring changes that go beyond the strict river traffic needs in order to promote urban renewal in the surroundings. A renovation that involves both local objectives, that are borne by improvements in the city itself, and metropolitan objectives, allowing anchor to a territory that goes beyond the city administrative boundaries.

The north side of the river is a loose residential area with some big plots for reuse or transformation. On its south side lies the island of Buda, just separated from the historical center by a secondary arm of the river, and which houses various cultural activities and services.

Our work, conducted jointly with Leiedal, has focused, so far, on two significant parts: Diksmuidekaai and Buda Beach. The first is located on the north bank and the second on the south bank. The vocation of the two is completely different.

The first one, Diksmuidekaai, aims to become a backbone that articulates the whole city north of the river, becomes the basis for future settlements and articulates the city of Kortrijk with nearby towns. It is a model that, after an initial implementation in a segment of about 800 meters, has been used in other stretches west of the first one and will continue to be used to configure the entire urban river front.

It is organized as a linear space with a single pavement (concrete with additives of an earthy color) that subtly separates users through street furniture (benches, bollards and bins) so that it can be shared without too much conflict and create continuity to the whole space between the building facades and the river.

The second one, Buda Beach, is one of the episodes doting the south river bank to form a sequence of public spaces that provide facilities to the more established areas of the city.

This is a landscaped area, intended for leisure, allowing use as a summer beach by providing temporary sand. It is designed as an undulating terrain with large green slopes down from the street to the river that serves as a starting point for the pedestrian bridge that links both sides of it. At the point where the Ijzerkaai bridge reaches the start of the pedestrian bridge, there is a platform under which there is a small building which houses the bar and the public services.

The success of the transformation is obvious to everyone who is familiar with Kortrijk. The banks of the river, once "behind" the city, have acquired new “centrality” values, with many interested developers and where a growing number of businesses and housing are settling, which contributes to the orderly development of the city.


La ampliación y modificación de trazado del río Leie para permitir la circulación de barcazas de mayor calado está en el origen de la transformación que sus márgenes han experimentado en estos últimos años a su paso por la ciudad de Kortrijk. 

Dichas intervenciones han sido aprovechadas por la ciudad para plantear cambios que vayan más allá de las necesidades de circulación fluvial y redunden en beneficio de una renovación urbana del entorno. Una renovación que comporta tanto objetivos locales, que revierten en mejoras para la propia ciudad, como otros de metropolitanos, que permiten anclarla a un territorio que supera sus límites administrativos.

El lado norte del río lo constituye un territorio vagamente residencial con algunas grandes piezas a reutilizar o transformar. En su lado sur se encuentra la isla de Buda, apenas separada del centro histórico por un brazo secundario del propio río, y donde se alojan diversas actividades culturales y de servicios.

Nuestros trabajos, realizados conjuntamente con Leiedal, se han centrado, hasta el momento, en dos piezas significativas: Diksmuidekaai y Buda Beach. La primera se encuentra en la orilla norte y la segunda en la orilla sur. La vocación de ambas es completamente distinta.

La primera, Diksmuidekaai, tiene como objetivo constituirse en una espina que articule el conjunto del territorio de la ciudad al norte del río, sirva de base para futuros asentamientos y articule la propia ciudad de Kortrijk con las ciudades del entorno. Constituye un modelo que, tras una primera implantación en un segmento de unos 800 metros, se ha utilizado en otros tramos situados al oeste del primero y seguirá utilizándose hasta configurar todo el frente urbano al río.

Se organiza como un espacio lineal con un único pavimento (hormigón con aditivos que le confieren un color terroso) que separa los usuarios de manera sutil a través de la utilización del mobiliario urbano (bancos, balizas y papeleras) de manera que éstos puedan compartirlo sin entrar en conflicto y dando continuidad a todo el espacio disponible entre las fachadas de los edificios y el río.

La segunda, Buda Beach, constituye uno de los episodios con los que se ha decidido puntuar la ribera sur a fin de constituir una secuencia de espacios públicos que equipen diversamente las zonas más consolidadas de la ciudad.

Se trata de un espacio paisajístico, destinado al ocio, que permite la utilización como playa en verano previa aportación temporal de arena. Se configura como un terreno ondulante, con amplios taludes verdes que bajan desde la calle hasta las orillas del río, y sirve de punto de partida para el puente peatonal que enlaza ambos lados de éste. En el encuentro entre éste y el Ijzerkaai se crea una plataforma bajo la cual se aloja un pequeño edificio donde se ubican el bar y los servicios públicos.

El éxito de la transformación salta a la vista para todos los que conozcan Kortrijk. La ribera del río, antes un lugar “detrás” de la ciudad, ha pasado a adquirir valores de centralidad, con multitud de promotores interesados en ella y donde se implanta un número creciente de negocios y viviendas que contribuyen al desarrollo ordenado de la ciudad.

“18 dwellings in Begues” finalist at the Ugo Rivolta Award

The aim of the Ugo Rivolta Award is to bring into light the finest social housing projects constructed in Europe over the last five years. Our project in Begues is among the finalists.

The site for these 18 subsidized housing units lies between a block of row housing and a series of single-family homes. Despite being low-rise, the former constitutes a forceful urban element that occupies the territory in which it is set. The latter, smaller in size, have breathing space on plots with extensive vegetation. The planned dwellings must, then, address the transition between these two typologies, as well as exploiting the conditions of their own site.


The dwellings are grouped around two communication shafts, each of which leads to three dwellings per landing. Block A combines one-, two- and three-bedroom dwellings, whereas Block B contains all the two-bedroom apartments. Block A is intended for young people and block B for the elderly.

They adopt what is almost a single model for all 18 apartments. They are L-shaped with all rooms, including bathrooms, airing directly to the exterior. They are overlapped so that all the living rooms have good orientation, with openings that face south-east and south-west, ensuring sufficient daylight, even in mid-winter.

To regulate the amount of sunlight received, the south-west façade has metal slat blinds to filter its rays. In the south-east, alternatively, projections provide a shield from the sun in summer but let it in during the winter. Where the two orientations come together, the projections are complemented by blinds that prevent insolation at the most exposed point. Since some of the residents will be elderly people and, therefore, more sedentary, it seems appropriate to give their living rooms access to relatively spacious terraces where they can sit and enjoy their own landscaped space.

This layout also guarantees the privacy of the dwellings; not only are the living rooms well oriented and visually protected from the street, but very few of the other rooms overlook the point of entrance via the doorways. This zigzagging block also avoids direct confrontation with the neighbouring single-family dwellings, which would be unavoidable in a geometrically compact block.

tokyo "open! architecture"

At the occassion of the UIA Tokyo 2011 congress, a special edition of “open! architecture“ allows visitors to discover, free of charge, some representative buildings of Japan's capital. This video is some kind of guide to them.

"mediterranean corridor" finalist in the competition for the sagrera linear park

 Our project for the Sagrera linear Park, presented under the motto "Mediterranean corridor" and conducted jointly with Batlle-Roig, Beth Galí and Tarrasó-Espinás, is among the five runner-ups of the competition that took recently place.

The city of Barcelona is known for its variety of patterns, densities and uses, and the neighborhoods in the immediate vicinity of the new park are no exception. This careful look at the environment generates the park. A park necessarily fragmented, as the city itself, where the pieces are enshrined through a subtle story line that provides continuity and a metropolitan scale.

The territory of the park has historically been an area of ​​fracture, which distanced the neighborhoods to their flanks. To establish urban connectors that facilitate cross paths and articulate the environment is the starting premise. The nature of these connectors should reflect the way the city approaches the park: one will link public spaces and equipments of high use, others will have a more intimate character.

The park is set up as a succession of episodes of two kinds: squares, linked to the main connectors, that respond to the immediate environment, and a number of Mediterranean landscapes, with abundant trees and vegetation, that establish a rhythmic sequence of references that go beyond the city itself.

The park alternates neighborhood squares with palm tree areas, orchards, gardens, meadows and pine forests, in order to create a Mediterranean corridor that relates to the itinerary of the underground train.

This park is equipped with interactive signage and self-managed, with a high percentage of surface drainage, an irrigation system that uses rainwater, photovoltaic pergolas that satisfy its own needs, and an appropriate choice of indigenous plants.

“corredor mediterráneo” finalista en el concurso para el parque lineal de la sagrera

Nuestro proyecto para el Parque lineal de la Sagrera, presentado bajo el lema “corredor mediterráneo” y realizado conjuntamente con Batlle-Roig, Beth Galí y Tarrasó-Espinás, se encuentra entre los cinco finalistas del concurso recientemente fallado.

Es un proyecto que mira atentamente al entorno, en una ciudad, Barcelona, que se caracteriza por su variedad de tramas, densidades y usos, y donde los barrios alrededor del nuevo parque no son una excepción. Un parque necesariamente fragmentado, como la propia ciudad, donde las piezas se engarzan a través de un sutil hilo argumental que lo dota de continuidad y le da escala metropolitana.

El territorio en el cual se implanta ha sido históricamente un territorio de fractura, que distanciaba los barrios a sus flancos. Establecer conectores urbanos que faciliten los recorridos transversales y lo articulen al entorno es la premisa de partida. El carácter de estos conectores deberá responder a la manera en que la ciudad se acerca al parque: unos enlazarán espacios públicos y equipamientos de alta frecuentación, otros tendrán carácter más íntimo y recogido.

El parque se configura así como una sucesión de episodios de dos tipos: unas plazas, vinculadas a los conectores principales y que dan respuesta al entorno inmediato, y una serie de paisajes mediterráneos, con abundante arbolado y vegetación, que establecen una secuencia ritmada de referencias que trascienden la propia ciudad.

El parque alterna pues las plazas de barrio con el palmeral, la huerta, los jardines, la dehesa y la pineda, y da lugar a un corredor mediterráneo que remite al recorrido del tren que se encuentra en su subsuelo.

Es un parque equipado, con señalización interactiva y autogestionable, con un alto porcentaje de superficie drenante (más del 50%), una red de riego que aprovecha el agua de lluvia, pérgolas fotovoltáicas que permiten satisfacer sus propias necesidades (y las de algunos equipamientos), y una adecuada elección de especies vegetales autóctonas, que minimiza el consumo de agua, garantiza su resistencia y facilita el mantenimiento.

the sant esteve sesrovires secondary school awarded

The aim of the World Architecture Community Awards is to highlight and publish remarkable projects that might otherwise remain unnoticed by the international public yet have the potential to inspire exciting questions about contemporary architectural discourse. The Sant Esteve Sesrovires Secondary School is one of the projects awarded.

Landscape, topography and the geometry of the site played a major role in determining the implantation of the building, while privacy and transparency constituted the two basic principles to define its character. On the other hand, public authorities require affordable, easy to maintain buildings that fully adapt to previously laid functional schemes. There is a need to optimise the space available, create livable facilities that go beyond their educational purposes and satisfy other needs of the communities they serve. It was also necessary to keep the building at a reasonable scale in relation to the surrounding area and to allow users to visually enjoy as much as possible the views around.

The school is laid out in an L-shape, with the classroom and office block aligned with the main avenue, and the nucleus containing the gymnasium, changing rooms and cafeteria, parallel to the Ca n'Amat road. The entrance is between them and leads to a porch that joins the two blocks. The classroom block comprises a linear volume housing the general classrooms and a series of perpendicular modules that accommodate administration, library, laboratory and workshop. Both form a courtyard that provides natural light to the circulation areas while the classrooms face the hills across a small river. The other block is laid out over two levels to adapt to the natural slope of the site, with the cafeteria at the entrance level and the gymnasium-cum-assembly hall one floor below. The two levels are connected by a three-run ramp, which starts at the school’s main entrance.

The project will be included in a publication on the WA Awards that will soon see the light.

fumihiko maki's vision of tokyo

Fumihiko Maki is one of the most prestigious contemporary japanese architects. In 1993 he received both the Pritzker Prize and the UIA Gold Medal. He is the chair of the Advisory Board of the forthcoming World Congress of Architecture that will take place in September this year. This video shows his vision of Tokyo, the city that will host the event.

Tokyo is a city made of layers that chaotically overlap in a very fragmented way, combining the remains of the huge Edo capital with the new city created after the 1923 earthquake and the reconstruction that followed the air raids in 1944 and 1945. How to respond to this specific context, where chaos is not exempt of a certain charm, is among his concerns. The Hillside Terrace complex is used as a reference building in his description of a city that remains vigorous despite the economic downturn.

architects, double dip recession?

At the present time of crisis in several EU countries and with the introduction of austerity measures in many more, a recent survey by the Architects Council of Europe (ACE) on the impact of the global financial crisis on the architectural profession indicates that a double dip recession may be underway.

The Architects' Council of Europe carries out a bi-annual survey of architectural practices across Europe on the impact of the global financial crisis on architecture. This study considers that the lists of commissioned projects (i.e the order books) are the most reliable indicators of the economic health and vitality of the architectural profession. The results of the latest survey are very telling, as is the level of optimism about future workloads. In fact, they show that the level of optimism about increasing orders and demand for architectural services have fallen since June 2010 and that optimism about new jobs in architects offices remains low.

The figures indicate that a second dip in expectations (and thus a double dip recession) appears to be confirmed. Should this be the case, then 2011 will not be the first year of a robust recovery, as many had hoped, but a year when the recession will deepen.

best source of information on international practice

Architects are no longer confined to the borders of their own countries when providing services. Either working from their home base, associating with a foreign fellow architect or opening an office abroad, international practice has become a consequence of the global economy.

The “Architectural profession around the world” website has just been revamped! It provides insight information about 91 countries all over the globe. It is the best existing database to understand the context in which architects work and constitutes a focal point in assisting them in their transnational practice.

The information can be consulted by country or by subject.

For each country, there are 6 main blocs of information:

Statistics, including general information and useful adresses
Education, dealing with standards, internship, examination and titles
Regulation, indicating the process to access the profession
Practice, detailing the activities architects can carry, their liability or the insurances they need
Procurement, referring to the methods to obtain commissions or the way to calculate fair compensations.
Transnational practice, informing about relevant aspects of international ventures

For each subject, a statistics engine enables users to obtain comparative data by territorial area. These areas can be geographical continents, economical or political zones deriving from international accords, or the world regions as defined by the UIA.

The website is promoted by the UIA Professional Practice Commission and is based on the Accord on Recommended International Standards of Professionalism in Architectural Practice. This document is the basis for mutual recognition of architectural competences at world level and is aimed to facilitate freedom of international movement.

I wholeheartedly encourage all those willing to get first hand information to check this database when planning to practise abroad. We spent a lot of energy creating and up-dating the website. Your comments on how to improve it are most welcome!