Alejandro Garza
Founder and Architect
Naranjo Arquitectos
View from the Top

Exceeding Stakeholder Expectations

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 11:46

Q: What makes Naranjo Arquitectos unique and the right partner for your clients?
A: Our first goal is to meet client needs. As each client has a different taste, we are not committed to one architectural style. While we always leave Naranjo Arquitectos’ mark on projects, we remain flexible to our clients’ demands. It is important to take the time to build a relationship with all stakeholders to consider their expectations for the design. Transcending the core purpose of any project is about exceeding these expectations and by surpassing them, we develop projects that deliver tailor-made designs.
Our methodology for tailoring a project starts by interviewing the client and understanding the context. The key is to listen to the client so we understand the objectives. Understanding the client implies knowing family and work dynamics, the intended use of the spaces and the desired lifestyle. We go in-depth on the client’s lifestyle so we can design the best project to match it. As we work on residential projects, we must balance the expectations of multiple stakeholders. This means that our design must consider investors, developers and the people buying their dream project. We mediate and coordinate all the players involved to adapt to their needs through the best project possible.
Q: Which of your current projects best illustrates Naranjo Arquitectos’ vision?
A: We are developing the SM Living Residential project. We are polishing the architectural master plan and will start construction soon. To raise the required capital, a private investor and Famsa Bank are supporting us. I believe it is ideal to take over the whole project, so we can make sure that our design is accurately translated in the construction phase. In this way, we can really give life to what was drafted.
Q: What innovative materials and technologies are you using in your designs and how are these impacting your clients?
A: Residential projects still use traditional materials and techniques, such as concrete and isolators. For finishing, trending materials are constantly changing and we incorporate them according to our client’s taste and needs. Wood is our favored material as it is traditional, well-known in construction and architecture and has the lowest impact on production and lifecycle.
Regarding our supply chain, we work closely with strategic partners with whom we have built a strong relationship. We also strive to help the industry and small providers grow. To ensure our projects are more sustainable, we use solar panels, urinals that do not need water, light and water sensors and LED lighting, among other features. We believe that impact emerges from the details; some elements may seem small but in daily use they represent significant savings.
Q: What is the scope and impact of green building certifications in construction and how do you incorporate these into your designs?
A: The goal of green building certifications is to save water and energy, among other resources, but also to create spaces that improve the health and wellness of their users. Certified buildings can increase their value as they are environmentally responsible and cost-effective in using resources. The aim to build responsibly also confers prestige on projects, making them more attractive to the customer.
But green building certifications are still incipient in the Mexican industry, especially for residential projects, as the cost of green materials is significantly higher. For example, if I am building a house under a MX$10 million budget and want to have it LEED certified, it will cost US$15 million. I think the market is not yet ready for this certification in residential developments; lower and more cost-effective pricing is required. More interest could balance prices so certifications become financially feasible for more projects.