“Son, it would be better if you studied law or economics, careers with a better professional future… but I support your decision to choose what YOU really want to be” These were my father’s words when I shared with him my initial idea to become the first architect in a family of lawyers. Following that, my mother supported me in that interest and got me an interview with the late Mexican architect Enrique Murillo, who later would become one of my most important mentors, and who inspired me to become an architect. And this is how my journey as an architect began.
As a child, I became truly inspired by the advancements in innovation and technology of the time like the Concorde and the Space Shuttle and I used to spend long hours drawing spaceships and dreaming of one day being able to travel to outer Space. This later became a passion for aviation but after considering becoming a full-time airplane pilot, I realized that architects like Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid, were also involved in other areas of industrial design, giving me a broader vision of the contribution that architects can make to improve people`s lives, in different fields.
I started my degree at the School of Architecture of the Universidad Veracruzana, where I discovered the true extent of our profession, which could span across different disciplines. This period was also interesting since, we still used traditional design methods like hand drawing and physical models, which could be said, to bring a closer relationship between the mental idea and its material representation. While joining some local and international design competitions, some of my professors encouraged me to consider the opportunity of studying and working abroad.
After graduation and collaborating with Architect Murillo on some truly exciting projects in my then hometown of Xalapa, I evaluated various options to pursue my postgraduate studies. In the end, I decided to enroll in a Master´s Degree in Architectural Design at the Bartlett School of Architecture – University College London, without knowing at the time, that I was joining one of the top schools of architecture in the world, led at that time by Sir Peter Cook. another important and influential mentor. That one-year program turned out to be one of the most important experiences of my life.
Throughout my studies and travels, I noticed the importance of the architect`s role in Europe, so I decided to become a Chartered Architect in the UK, opening opportunities for further professional development at an international level. As a result, I pursued my major dream to join Foster+Partners, one of the leading architecture and design practices in the world, where I collaborated for more than a decade developing mixed-use, residential, hospitality, workplace, aviation, and master planning projects in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
This experience was the best of both worlds since while being based in London, I became involved in the firm`s projects in Mexico like the BBVA Competition Projects, Campus Biometropolis, Saqqara Mixed Use, and Mexico New International Airport in Texcoco, the latter opening the door for me to return to Mexico after 15 years of living in the UK. This was an extraordinary project, paramount in the evolution of airport design, from the general to the detail, and pushing the boundaries of innovation, technology, and innovation in an essential infrastructure project.
Being back in Mexico brought back memories from my earlier years as an architecture student, and after having achieved major dreams and goals, I started to reflect that after many years of a great professional career, there could be something else to pursue in Life. Simon Sinek, English author, and speaker, shares with us that “regardless of WHAT we do in our lives, our WHY, our purpose, cause, and beliefs – never change.” Based on this, I realized that we all have a concept, a blueprint, and a design for our Life, that we may have already acted upon, or not.
And this is how, and after thorough and thoughtful consideration, I got presented with the opportunity to pursue another major dream, that of starting a new company, one that could bring the experience of many years, to develop adaptable, efficient, and innovative architecture projects. This was not an easy feat but as Tony Robbins, coach, writer, and speaker says: ‘It is in your moments of decision that our destiny is shaped.` Many times, when we feel that what we are doing is enough, or that is too late to try something else, we miss precious time to pursue our true purpose.
Architecture is truly a great profession through the one we can envision new ideas, develop complex projects, and materialize their construction. I am grateful for the opportunities for a collaborative contribution that I have made to key projects in cities around the world, and now, in my own country, Mexico. With this, one day I can stand next to my son and share with him, and hopefully inspire him, that whatever he chooses to do, he can make a much-needed positive contribution to this world, full of important challenges but also of great opportunities.
Many people tell me that they would have liked to become an architect, and it is in those moments that I feel proud of what I do, and I realize, that for nearly a quarter of a century now, I have had many roles as an architect, a designer, a researcher, a professor, a mentor… but that somehow the best is yet to become. So, this turns out to be my WHY, supported by strong foundations of values, service, and contribution, and it also becomes an open invitation, if you haven`t found it yet, to take the time to look for it. This is WHY we are here for, and it is well worth it!