Juan is passionate about new technologies and communication.
A member of the Stride Treglown BIM and Visualisation groups, he aspires to build bridges between these two antagonistic spheres through research and innovation; using digital software as a concept design tool and immersive technologies during the planning process.
If you weren’t in this career, what would you be?
Choosing Architecture as a career was very easy; I wanted it since I was a child. But, if I must imagine myself in another career, I could see myself working with foreign languages, history, cinema, theatre, storytelling… all disciplines which deal with communication, my very real passion. Recently I participated in a theatrical production by The Ustinov Studio (Theatre Royal Bath) and I’m a student at Bath College, where I’m learning French and German, while trying not to forget Italian or my native language, Spanish.
What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on to date?
In 2011, I was working for ABDR Architectti Associati in Rome. The design of the façade of a high-end residential scheme in St Petersburg, just in front of the Hermitage Museum, arrived at the studio by invitation from Evgeny Gerasimov and Sergei Tchoban, top architects in Russia.
Our provocative proposal was in line with Loosian principles spelled out in “Ornament and Crime” and far away from the Baroque exuberance of the city. The conflict in Crimea abruptly interrupted the economic flows between Russia and the West and this project became another victim. Fortunately for us Architects, our buildings live on within our drawings.
What is the current big trend in your sector?
In my opinion, the most dynamic trend across all sectors is the promising application of new technologies. We are witnessing the fourth industrial revolution which is leading to a myriad of changes at all levels. I am particularly interested in the impact on visualisation, because it has changed not only the way we communicate our ideas, but also the way we work with them. Architects do not draw lines anymore. We place objects in the space.
We do not produce abstract images of our projects anymore. We build digital models of the project itself. When we need a plan, a section, or an elevation; we simply cut our model and produce a visual automatically. This is a completely revolutionary new approach to our daily work that allows us to focus on design.
What advice would you give your 20 year old self?
Every day should be a school day. Be patient, focus on learning and do not be misled by the allure of money.
In my early career, I relinquished interesting opportunities because I was afraid of losing my economic status. When I was working in Seville, I was offered a position to deliver the Bridge Pavilion, a project by Zaha Hadid for the Expo 2008 in Zaragoza. I refused it. A few years later, the Tsunami that triggered the fall of Lehman Brother, swept my career away in a blink of an eye and nowadays my most emblematic project of that period lies under the sun as a concrete skeleton, monument to the madness that led us to the crisis. That was an err of youth that I have never again committed.
Interesting fact that nobody knows about you?
In 2012 I was working for ABDR Architetti Associati. Italian government austerity hit my practice and I decided to move to Australia. But before moving, I spent my holidays in Scotland in order to improve my English. In Edinburgh I met my partner and I decided to stay. The southern hemisphere will have to wait…
My First job in the UK, when I arrived from Rome, was a sales assistant post at the Superdry store in Edinburgh. It was an experience that I always remember with a smile and something I am particularly proud of. Working in fashion retail unexpectedly put me in close contact with design: getting familiar with fabrics; experiencing textures; studying pattern and colours; understanding the structure of a garment – all priceless lessons for an architect.
Best book you’ve read?
It’s not the best, but it is one of my favourites. ‘Metamorphoses’ by the Roman poet Ovid. I read it in Spanish when I was very young. The beauty and sensuality of this story of stories is overwhelming. I loved the tales so much that I learnt many by heart. I strongly recommend this book. Ovid offers a subtly stitched collection of myths. Sometimes people feel trapped in a false dichotomy between classic and contemporary. Why choose? I want both.
Planning & Immersion Research
Stride Treglown is teaming up with Bath Spa University to explore how immersive technologies can be used in the planning process.