Salvador Rivas
Director
s*arc: salvador rivas architects
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Different Typologies: The Future of Architecture and Design

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 11:33

Q: Why is variation in architectural design the way of the future?
A: Different types of design represent the future while giving a nod to past techniques. Architects and designers risk getting lost in style and are now coming back to forgotten techniques. For example, the new trend is mixed-use and co-working spaces, which are somehow traditional concepts.
We increasingly have more specialized typologies, as clients are expecting new things all the time. The challenge becomes one of knowing how to combine the different methodologies for different uses. Our favorite projects are mixed-use models that represent the challenge of mixing recreation, culture, housing and commercial. Architects must identify this new reality and adapt it to their designs. We are part of this transformation. Change is the force motivating us to be better in what we do.
Q: What are the main challenges and trends driving the work of architecture firms?
A: Our industry in Mexico faces the challenge of changing its mindset instead of aiming to carry out projects quickly and cheaply. We must plan for the long term. But having said this, adaptability is key as architects and designers can no longer plan buildings that will last for a century. Rapidly changing contexts and patterns call for adaptability, which must be supported by the use of technologies. Designers, for example, are relying on new tools and solutions. If we compare the architecture industry with automotive or aerospace, we find that we are still largely behind their developments. We are building as we did 50 years ago and this must change.
Q: What are the factors you take into consideration when choosing projects?
A: We are mostly interested in undertaking unique, innovative and sustainable projects that have their own character and identity that can relate to their unique context. They must be innovative in terms of technology, as we cannot keep designing and building as we did in the past. Emerging economies are increasingly valuing new technologies, especially as they lead to more sustainable projects. One of the motivations behind starting this firm was the desire to collaborate with innovative companies and we are very interested in new design possibilities such as 3D printing and robotics. We are still an emerging design studio but we strive to be more efficient and to standardize our processes.
For example, one of my favorite projects is the ongoing Saqqara mixed-use development in San Pedro Garza.  I started collaborating previously on this project as part of Foster+Partners design team from the concept stage to completion of the first phase. We still remain involved in the development of the next project phases. I especially like this project as it generates a sense of community. Also, we have been working on a modular project in the UK to rehabilitate and reuse existing industrial infrastructure, and that can be replicated elsewhere. This goes hand in hand with our principles of adaptability and sustainability. It proposed the combination of commercial with social developments. It would involve social spaces such as art galleries and nurseries in the lower levels in combination with residential, office and hotel spaces in the upper levels. I believe this project speaks to the vision of our design studio as this concept could also be implemented in Mexico.
Q: How do you create a match between the architect’s design, the developer’s expectations and the user’s demands?
A: It is key to assess the conditions in which projects will take place, from socio-economic, cultural and environmental approaches before drafting a proposal. This provides our client with an added value and protects their investments. I believe that the architect is the instrument that enables clients, developers, collaborators and authorities, to share perspectives to better define and clearly establish a project’s goals and objectives. My experience tells me that lack of communication and consensus between all the parties involved makes projects more challenging.