The people behind the architects. “Values of an Architect”

October 2015 | News

“The achievement of seeing an idea become a reality is the biggest satisfaction of an architect”. Without doubt, it was the general conclusion of the four architects -Fran Silvestre, Manuel Ocaña, José María Tomás Llavador and Francesc Tamarit- who took part in the conference “Values of an architect” organised by the COACV (Official School of Architecture in the Valencian Community) as part of Architecture week and where Actiu acted as the sponsor of the event.

With the objective of “getting to know the people behind some of the top names in architecture”, according to the organisers, the conference raised some questions which were far from the traditional conferences on architects' exhibition of specific projects. On the contrary, questions about their references, values or daily approaches, were posed.

Manuel Ocaña, national figure and creator, for example, of the refurbishment of the Benalúa station for the Casa Mediterraneo Headquarters, was one of the most literal, with a program and through photos, showed those words and phrases hanging from his office, which helped him reinforce his position each day. “I requested more forgiveness and less permission”, was one of them, with this he wanted to explain how red tape slowed down, in his opinion, the completion of an architectural project.

For his part, José María Tomás Llavador, the designer of Actiu Technology Park, wanted to convey the complexity of his job and show how dialogue, specialisation and research are his priorities. In his case, with an International architecture studio which works in different parts of the world, as diverse as Iraq, Morocco, Central America and Africa. It is important to “look for new experiences, to get to know new people and find relationships that can contribute to a project, it's more cultural side, because it's not the same as building in Valencia as building in the Congo”. Tomás Llavador appeals to every architect at all times, that ethical responsibility and common sense should prevail in each project: “Citizens around the world have the same needs, which architects must address, improving their living space and with it architecture, although the projects are culturally different and no two cities are the same”, he said.

Fran Silvestre, a Valencian architect with great prospects, spoke about “continuity, accuracy and dialogue” as the top three aspects of each project. “Continuity, because we want things to remain over time, and not become obsolete, and furthermore, we look for projects that tell stories of their inhabitants, which come and remain, with a story built from emotions, roots and familiar culture. We represent the identity of people with their homes. We create scenes for life”. He explained. “Accuracy, because the more accurate a project is, the more economical it becomes and therefore, more accessible to more people. Finally, our projects include a great deal of dialogue: between the team, with the customer and with the builder. We want to know their ideas and apply them in the best possible way”, explained the architect.

They also talked about their references, their teachers and those things that inspired them. For Manuel Ocaña everything begins and ends in Borromini, meanwhile the career of Fran Silvestre would not be understood without teachers such as Emilio Giménez, Álvaro Siza or Andreu Alfaro.

This event was the second part of an act that took place at the Arniches theatre in Alicante and in which Emilio Tuñón, one of the most admired and well respected national architects; Alfredo Payá, teacher trainer in Alicante and Valencia; Francisco Leiva, designer of 'Laureado Valle Trenzado' in Elche and María José Marcos, one of the brightest young people in the province, participated. In both cases, the speakers told how Actiu furniture set the scene and sponsored the event, which was a great success with more than 250 attendees.

As well as these activities, the COACV organised, like last time, some architectural workshops aimed at children between 3 and 10 years old, in which Actiu actively  participated with the assignment of furniture. These workshops, which took place in public spaces, were carried out on a roaming basis, in Alicante, Castellón and Valencia. With a successful participation, one as good as last years, the children learned to use all their creativity and imagination from drawings, cardboard boxes and LEGO toys, to construct something on a small scale. The activity, open to everybody and free, was the perfect experience for children to develop their imagination, fundamental to the architecture process.

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