The work and thoughts of people you meet affects the work you do. Call it influences, references, whatever. Here follows a mélange of names and subjects awkwardly put forward as an attempt to capture some of that.
Probably the best example of commitment and dedication to the discipline of architecture was presented to me by the great Teodoro Fernández, recipient of the Chilean Premio Nacional de Arquitectura in 2015, with whom I had the pleasure of working for a couple of years in two public competitions. Together with him and Danilo Martic, Valentina Rozas, and Anna Turull, we faced the challenge of transforming the site of the Estadio Nacional into a public park. This effort unfortunately fell short in face of short-sighted and egotistic politics. Macarena Gaete was part of the office at the time and was leading the design of the Kaukari park in Copiapó, an excellent example of what a dry climate riverbed can become.
As a student I tasted the infamous oranges from the patio de los naranjos at the UC School of Architecture in Santiago, thus gladly condemning myself to forever returning to it. I have been now following the work of various people while living away from Santiago. The work of some of my former classmates, students and teachers is especially worth mentioning. Collaborating with Antonio Lipthay for a brief period in teaching and a public competition was stimulating and allowed for a study on the subversion of the role of transport infrastructure. Also from the UC school, Felipe de Ferrari and Diego Grass from Plan Común are building a discourse that is stimulating in the context of a sometimes disengaged academic environment. Romy Hecht is probably the most interesting voice regarding landscape in Chile and having myself been involved in various landscape projects, the discussions taking part in LOFscapes is particularly relevant for me. When studying in Marne la Vallée for a brief period, Sébastien Marot introduced me to deeper understandings of urban territories through the works of George Descombes, Robert Smithson or William Carlos Williams.
While in London I had the pleasure of meeting an excellent group of architects, researchers who led by Adrian Lahoud, had us reflecting on the Mediterranean as a political territory, one worth rethinking from our discipline in face of its current state of distress. Adrian’s own work is in fact a particular take on the geopolitical issues related to climate. Hannah Corlett, Peter Besley and Jonathan Kendall were especially kind and patient with a group of us who plunged into Cairo and Tangier daringly and found it hard to understand cultures so different from ours. At the time, Hannah and Peter’s had won the competition for the Iraqi Parliament, which was later overthrown and passed on to Zaha. Then there’s Ross Exo Adams, who rambled on about urbanization and circulation and has really constructed an interesting discourse which you can get a glimpse of on his blog machines of urbanization; Godofredo Pereira, whose forensic research on the desert of Atacama and other South American matters brings him close to my neighbourhood; also Davide Saconni - with Campo and Black Square - and Platon Issaias, both of them contributing to The City as a Project. During this time we had the honour of having Elia Zenghelis with us, who patiently and disruptively discussed with us the issues of density and intensity in sprawling cities while drinking some wine. Also regarding epicurean matters there is Andrea Bagnato with space caviar and Daniel Fernández who besides serving us political drinks is able to relate food and laws regarding space. Many of my former classmates are surely currently working towards substantial discoveries and significance as well, and our multilingual discussions fuelled fascinating explorations.
Most recently, living in the driest desert in the world has brought me closer to newfound matters. Alejandro Gutiérrez invited me to take part in an unprecedented ordeal to formulate a masterplan for a Chilean city, an effort which is still underway and has stimulated many thoughts and contributed to the reformulation of urban policies. In this context I was able to work together with Sergio Baeriswyl, current Chilean Premio Nacional de Urbanismo, in evaluating the effects of altering building regulations in the city, a rich though short collaboration which I hope to develop further in the future.