Name: Jorge Luis Hernández Silva + Javier Rosales Iriondo
Company: Hernández Silva Arquitectos + Taller 31
Position within company: Founder & Main architect
. Tell us a little about your background in architecture (education, experience, etc)
JORGE LUIS HERNÁNDEZ SILVA. I graduated in 1988 from the ITESO architecture school in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México. I have worked as a faculty member at “ITESM” Guadalajara and “ITESO”, teaching composition and architecture workshops, also as a student and intern I taught composition and art drawing at “UNIVER”.
In 1988 I founded “HERNANDEZ SILVA”, a professional architecture, engineering and construction collaborative studio, under my direction. We are based in Guadalajara, México.
Our projects have been published in many occasions by major editorials and architecture websites and also have been awarded by the “Americas Property Awards 2012-2013” and Bienal Iberoamericana CIDI. Our work includes more than three hundred projects within houses, institutional and recreation buildings and makeovers.
JAVIER ROSALES IRIONDO. I graduated in 1988 from the ITESO architecture school in Guadalajara. Since I graduated, I’ve been working in construction and architectural projects; including houses, restaurants and housing developments.
. How would you describe your architectural style?
We believe that styles shouldn’t be a group of preconceived forms or an element catalog. We have as a statement that style is a way of being and doing, more than looking for a style we work on contents. We like to work with natural materials and we’re really careful on the way we use them. For us, style should be based on the user that’ll live the architecture more than the architect.
. When embarking upon new projects, where do you look for inspiration?
At the beginning of any project, a platform to define objectives and intention is established; we draw a path that guides the development of the idea without any preconceived perceptions, taking as a critical element the analysis of site and user. We reflect a lot about the questions we’ll make. About the site, we observe what it is and what can be. We have a commitment that the place should be better than it is. The inspiration emerges as the reflection dictates the lines of the architectural concept.
. In what direction do you feel that architecture is moving towards in a general sense?
Definitely architecture is returning to its roots. We finally understood that architecture must be in harmony with nature. New technologies allow us to use resources in a much more efficient way. From this, I think we can achieve buildings that are conscious of their natural, social and urban environment. That will be the common denominator of most buildings.
. Name five key themes to consider when approaching design projects in 2013 and beyond.
The first theme is the person that will live in it, the user. We have to be very careful about who is going to live it and how.
The second one is our position. Our point of view on the subject we are given and how should we proceed in the project. We make an argument on the issue, we review that issue and make a reflection, where we stand and what are we going to propose.
The site, we must feel it and live it. The most important things on the site remain hidden. You have to understand it, what happens and isn’t obvious. Trying to perceive what symbolizes, what are the natural conditions, how the sun performs, what happens with natural and urban environment; everything that is around.
The concept, we try to disassemble it, in three basic parts:
The first one is what it will say, what its expressive strength is, we understand that as formal concept.
The second is how it holds up, we name it structural concept. At the end, how the building is going to relate with gravity and how we apply the technologies and the tools we have to make it able to stand up and at the same time interact with the formal concept.
The third is the functional concept. That is how the building is going to be used; this means the flows, relation between spaces and what elements should be taken or not to make decisions why things are done.
The fifth theme is search for the contents in architecture. How are we going to support our design choices. It’s where we really make a deep and thoughtful analysis of what we propose and if our creative process and our decisions are justified.
. If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to architectural projects, what would it be?
The most important thing is that architecture has to be above any interest. I think we can’t subordinate architecture to the market nor individual or group interests. Architecture is a common good that needs to be above everything and we have to learn to say no; it is very difficult for an architect to learn when and how to say no, and when and how we have to say yes. We have to be very aware of what is best for the others. Architecture has a social value; you have to understand that common good is much more important than individual good, although if it’s an element like a private house we must understand that community good is more important.
. How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
I believe any recognition is very important because in some way it is an acknowledgment of a personal effort you have through many years and it is a great personal satisfaction, but we think that the best recognition of an architectural project is given by the user. The person who inhabits or uses the building is the first judge of our projects.
. What projects are you currently working on?
We are developing a lot of vertical housing; middle-income housing developments and we are moving into new frontiers of architecture, much more economical. We are trying to find ways of make dignified architecture for all social classes. We are also continuing with something that fascinates us, private houses; we have several homes in in progress.
. What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
Lately we’ve been growing a lot and our goal is keep growing with the same order and professionalism that we’ve had. Keep on making the maximum effort. The architecture will continue to fascinate us, no matter how big or small the job is, all of them are really important to us, and finally to keep looking for work, you must go out and find the client and keep trying to find new spaces to continue doing what we love.
. Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself
Your most treasured possession?
JLHS: A picture from Thomas Ruff
JRI: My time
Your favourite holiday destination?
JRI: Punta Monterrey, Nayarit, MX
Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar?
JLHS: Casa de Sierra Nevada, at San Miguel de Allende, MX
/ Le colonial, Chicago
/ Rusty Trombone at Guadalajara
JRI: Can’t name one, every hotel, restaurant and bar that I’ve been to has its own experience, good or bad.
Your favourite book / film / song?
JLHS: The fountainhead by Ayn Rand
/ A clockwork Orange, Stanley Kubrick
/ Fake plastic trees, Radiohead
JRI: Los cuatro acuerdos, Miguel Ruiz
/ El bolero de Raquel, Cantinflas
/ The one that gives me goosebumps
Your favourite food and drink?
JLHS: Food: grilled beef steak
Drink: Whisky single malt
JRI: Food: seafood
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon? (in no more than 25 words)
JLHS: kids-wife-park of designing-whisky-cigar
JRI: Good chat with cigar and good friends.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
JLHS: Homeless, or a bad musician.
Anything else interesting?
JLHS: I love to write about architecture, I’m passionate about conceptual art and music.