ISSUE 1. Interview with Carlos Bedoya, partner of PRODUCTORA in Mexico City by Gabriel Esquivel


31 Aug

Carlos Bedoya is one of the four partners of PRODUCTORA, a Mexico City-based architecture studio founded in 2006, alongside Abel Perles, Victor Jaime, and Wonne Ickx. PRODUCTORA’s work is distinguished by an interest in precise geometries, the production of clearly legible projects with limited gestures, and the search for buildings that are timeless in their material and spatial resolutions. PRODUCTORA has been awarded by the Architectural League of New York with the Young Architects Forum (2007) and the Emerging Voices (2013). In 2016 they received the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize for emerging architects (MCHAP-emerge) for their “Pavilion on the Zocalo” at the IIT in Chicago. In 2011 PRODUCTORA founded, in partnership with curator and art critic Ruth Estévez, an exhibition platform for the promotion of young and emerging Latin-American architecture, called LIGA, Espacio para Arquitectura.

www.productora-df.com.mx | www.liga-df.com | @LIGADF

Gabriel Esquivel

Hi Carlos! Thank you very much for granting me this interview.

Carlos Bedoya

Thank you Gabriel!  however there is something I would like to clarify and for this interview all my comments are personal, as Carlos Bedoya, partner of PRODUCTORA,  speaking of what I think and not necessarily representing what the rest of the members of PRODUCTORA . Not because I have a problem doing it, it's just because I'm going to speak for myself rather than for my partners.

Gabriel Esquivel

Sure of course, I get it. I would like to start if you allow me with something rather complicated, you can reserve your right not to comment. How do you see the situation in Mexico?

Carlos Bedoya

I believe that the political structure in Mexico needs a radical change. Let's say that this structure has been expired for many years, there are several texts by Reinier de Graaf Reinier de Graaf that talk about the new geography established through the powers of corporations that lots of times a company has more money than certain countries.

It is like a new geography which is not yet established as such, but it already exists. So my vote for López Obrador was actually a vote of exhaustion because of previous and the huge degree of corruption and impunity.  The current system needs changes. My decision was more than a simple vote of 100% confidence in what López Obrador was going to do. I was thinking more about the future, the opportunity for us the citizens to react.  In fact, I am sure that anyone who enters in such a position, has to negotiate with many people, it is not an easy task.

Iit was also clear to me that if for López Obrador really wants to make a change, it was not going to be in his six-year administration, you cannot change like 70 years of corruption, especially in the last 6 years. In fact I see the Mexican situation quite critical, not only because of the government's response but because I also think that we are in a stage of humanity of radical changes where paradigms are breaking. I feel that today we see many essential questions arising such as; the value of money, the value of health, the importance of public space, the public-private relationship, the relationship between human beings, climate change, our way of eating, sexuality, the importance of the city vs. the rural, etc. ..

Gabriel Esquivel

I understand, it was something very well thought out, do you think it will give results?

Carlos Bedoya

Let's say that was the reason I gave him my vote. Rather than thinking that he was going to solve everything, it was simply as if to say, on the one hand, make the corrupt politicians to understand that it is no longer so easy to remain in power with impunity. On the other hand, I also thought that society has to be much more aware and help generate political structures together with the government..

Gabriel Esquivel

What do you mean?

Carlos Bedoya

Since López Obrador took office until now, I understood that his policy was like chemotherapy, erase everything, whether good or bad, to start from scratch. In other words, I was already thinking about it and also heard about from friends, but I didn't think he was capable of doing it, to the degree of how it's being done. For me there are spaces and institutions that are being strategically eliminated. I understand that many of these institutions need to be restructured or even some of them need to be eliminated. However within this political strategy, it seems that the best thing is to disappear everything that was done in previous governments, a situation with which I do not entirely agree, many are institutions that were created and improved over many years and are part of a very complex network of decisions and reasons. Let's take for example the airport, project that was won by Norman Foster and FREE, I'm sure what happened was the best option.

Gabriel Esquivel

What are you talking about specifically?

Carlos Bedoya

Totally stopping the project of the airport! The fact is that a million of dollars effort had already been made for the Airport’s budget, design, infrastructure, etc. And then in a kind of a whim of showing who has the power, with the idea of eliminating any projects from the previous administration he cancels it. He ends a project that was in an advance stage of construction to develop another that from my point of view had to be developed in a hurry in every way. Possibly you can think that in some way it is being done with the best intention, but another problem that happens in my opinion is happening is that the communication from the government to the citizens is very bad, considering that today there are so many channels communication, that the information we receive is not always the real information and this in the end also contributes to more confusion and that it becomes quite difficult to evaluate these decisions.

Gabriel Esquivel

It is really very difficult to understand, accept and defend the situation.

Carlos Bedoya

Personally, I feel rushed to evaluate, we have barely been in government for a year and months, I have heard that there are other projects of an urban nature or certain political strategies that I think make more sense. I hope that there is time and the will for these projects to come to fruition and that we as a society realize that times have changed and that we have to be more proactive in the country's decisions.

Understanding politics is always very complex because there are many things in the political fabric that we as spectators cannot see. In addition to, it is information to which we do not have access or that is manipulated. On the other hand (and more today) I think it is a big mistake to wait for López Obrador and his cabinet to solve everything, there is also a very great responsibility of citizens to be more active and solve things and not leave everything to them,  and if you don't agree, you have to raise your hand. But again I understand that it is more complex than just saying it, there is also a cultural and indosyncratic issue that must be clear to understand why Mexicans behave in a certain way.

It seems to me that there are also communication problems from the government. That is to say, when you listen to the Secretary of Finance speak, you realize that he is aware of the great problems in terms of the economy that the country is going through and that, apparently the president by strategy, decides to communicate the information in a different way, almost contradicting what the secretary of economy communicates (to cite an example) this happens in many areas and ends up being very confusing.

Gabriel Esquivel

What you say makes sense. I understand that you have to empower a certain group, but dividing other groups that are also law abiding citizens. Don't you think that things are starting to turn around now and not in the best way?

That is to say, the group or groups that have influence the agency, let's say the economic power to carry out certain projects, when they begin to withdraw their capital from the country, but in the middle of all that is the middle-class that is being affected, let's say left without agency, like many architects and other professions that depend from these groups to carry out many of their projects, since not all the projects comes from the government. How do you guys as an office see such things? How to find a way to try to survive, how to fight? What are you going to face such a difficult situation?

Carlos Bedoya

You know that we have been doing this for years, on the one hand, reflecting on our role as architects because the truth is that we complain a lot about the problem that we are not respected as a group, but also think this situation is not only outside the guild but within it as well.  We as an architect have always been very closed in our own world, we are very empathetic towards the needs of others.

I believe that in the world it is not about who is right or wrong, that is very relative, it is about being able to establish channels of communication or dialogue to reach good agreements, I think that we architects close ourselves to that dialogue and this has caused us to separate ourselves from the world, from economic, productive and social capital, from everything.

We are living the consequences today to this particular problem that architecture has, we should also add the problems of cities, social differences, class differences, accessibility to good systems of education, health, etc.

I think we have tried to do (as a result of the pandemic as a firm) is to try to open new channels of communication and opportunities through our two projects, PRODUCTORA and LIGA. We are currently working with some developers. Normally for us architects it is very difficult to have the mentality of a developer, but thanks to the fact that we have managed to have projects with them and live with them, we have managed to understand their interests a little more.  What we are doing is trying to understand and open our minds as architects towards what clients need, rethink our role, understand that it is not only limited to being the architect as we understood it before. This has allowed us to continue growing as an office in the face of the different circumstances that have arisen over the years.

Gabriel Esquivel

I understand, I think what happened is that from the beginning you anticipated certain things or had established certain communication channels. At this time, they don't have to be reactionary to a difficult situation. Now you have realized that what you have planned before was something that started working a long time ago, that is, the channels were already there and that is why you are not in a forced situation.

The question that comes up is: Why architects only complain and blame the government? But they also find themselves in dilemma thinking about how the future will be in terms of work, projection, etc. I agree with you, we have to keep opening new channels of communication, as well as stop seeing ourselves in that mirror in which there are only architects talking to architects on the other side and we rarely communicate with others, with other disciplines, with other people.

So there are no collaborations and we complain about the problems to which we have no “agency”, desperately asking to be heard. And of course, that is something that has definitely been going on for a long time and we have done almost nothing to change this.

I would like to delve a little deeper into PRODUCTORA, this group that I met more than ten years ago and that impressed me for several things, which I would like us to talk about. For you Carlos, what does PRODUCTORA represent, unlike other groups?

Carlos Bedoya

Well, I think that it has two starting points that probably helped us to be more comprehensive. On the one hand, we started the office as friends, above of all, we were friends. Normally you get together with someone with whom you share a certain professional empathy, in our case we were all people who perhaps were going through a similar moment and looking for something similar, not only professionally but personally, because when you’re working in other offices, you have hardly defined for yourself what do you want from architecture.

I think our friendship has strengthened the office. On the other hand, I think that a healthy office or a healthy project has to be healthy in every way, in terms of content, ideas, but also financially. Now the other point that is very important is that we are from very different contexts and different geographies; that also helped a lot.

Sometimes I think that if it were an office of four Mexicans, we would no longer be together, not because we are better or worse, simply because positive poles repel each other, perhaps also because of the very particular, very specific social, economic and political way of life of each one of us influences significantly, of course this circumstance  is not a rule, however this strengthened us a lot and prepared us for the professional life, this factor has greatly helped PRODUCTORA, is the type of management of Cuatro Cabezas (Four Heads), each head has a very different vision, one member is European, another South American and two Mexican. This has allowed us to have more ideas to solve the different situations that have arisen.

Gabriel Esquivel

How would you define yourself within PRODUCTORA?

From my point of view, from the outside, I see you like the theoretical, intellectual head of PRODUCTORA. This does not mean that you do not take part in design, administration and many other aspects. Am I right or do you see it differently?

Carlos Bedoya

Not necessarily. Theoretically we are all involved with all architectural issues within the office, if we defined the partners in categories, this would only define them in a superficial way. I would say that they are all very sensitive people. For example, Abel highly values certain aspects, when you listen to him, for example, talking about his vacation and mention how he visualizes a mountain, feels the wind, etc. He does it in a very personal and profound way. But maybe if you meet him on a daily basis he is more pragmatic. On the other hand, someone like Victor values drinking well, eating well, listening to good music, and sharing with others, he is a very sensitive person, but he is not someone who is too concerned with the theory of architecture, let's say that his approach is much more practical. In that sense I think that Wonne and I are the ones who probably read the most about architecture, at the same time he is very pragmatic, he lands things well and I think that the big difference between Wonne and me is that I also personally love philosophy, and I read a lot about philosophy. All this works efficiently because it makes ideas more complete with 4 heads, as the saying goes that “two heads are better than one”.

Gabriel Esquivel

There is another aspect that has more or less to do with this. I mean the success within your practice which you have achieved.

For you, what represents success? Do you think that PRODUCTORA has succeeded in its original approaches, that is, since its foundation?

Carlos Bedoya

For me it has to do with levels of consciousness and not so much in terms of economy or recognition. This is the part the interests ne the most, consciousness and connection.

What PRODUCTORA has given me personally, it has been to be able to achieve satisfaction through the practice, therefore, that experience and success does not depend on whether it is good or bad. I believe that the important thing is the fact of actually doing it, but in a passionate and conscious way and that will result in a balanced person and a balanced profession.

This is what I consider as success, being able to carry out an activity that allows me to reach moments of consciousness. Now, if we talk about PRODUCTORA from the inside out, I think there are moments where we have achieved success through projects where not only PRODUCTORA has participated, but in combination with several collaborators. I think that the best PRODUCORA projects have been those that have had an intense relationship with the people who participated around a project.

Two very clear examples are the auditorium we did in Teopanzolco. The Ensemble was projected through a very important relationship with the Secretary of Culture of Cuernavaca led by Cristina Faesler, who is an incredibly talented and sensitive person, she is largely responsible for making the project a reality today.

Gabriel Esquivel

Could you talk a little more about how do you measure the success of a project?

Carlos Bedoya

I think it is in the way that people can appropriate it and use it as an intermediary to do other things, like I always say, paraphrasing a teacher I had in the master's degree, Juan Navarro Baldeweg, “architecture is like a soundboard that amplifies the sounds”. Architecture, I think, amplifies emotions, relationships and experiences, for example, when I see how the auditorium we designed in collaboration with Isaac Broid, I think it was a successful project, given the fact it really is a space that works as an intermediary for a series of relationships to occur, it is a space that allows opportunities

When I see how the Teotitlán del Valle project in Oaxaca is used and how people have appropriated it, you feel that something in this context actually works. I think it has also been a successful project that we have accomplished.

Gabriel Esquivel

            What are the future plans? What's next for PRODUCTORA?

Carlos Bedoya

We have always been interested in making an impact with people through our projects. In some way, private projects, especially in residential projects, although they have an impact. They are very specific and have a different scope than a public project, we value them a lot, however, we have had projects of another scale that have a more visible scope in the city in terms of the number of people who were impacted in terms of quality of life. We have also been interested in how to build a city and what to do with the city.

Gabriel Esquivel

 I understand that your future plan would it be to be able to conquer projects with much more social, urban, and cultural impact?

Carlos Bedoya

Exactly! I feel that we have matured and I believe that architecture should not be a closed system; so we continue to make houses or private projects, however, we are also increasingly seeking to contribute in the public sphere.

Gabriel Esquivel

Previously we talked about that some of my personal concerns have been precisely that question of the lack of “agency” and understanding architecture as a contemporary cultural commodity, that is, as a commodity that is not only historical and economic. For example, when you propose a project, let's say the auditorium, and all the participants are on the side of the project and respect the architect.

We could talk about these projects as a point of departure, which generate new alternatives and from them we have to talk about change, not only talk about these projects at the design level, but discuss the change they produce and the cultural impact that they can have at the local level and to point to a higher one

How to capitalize these projects to expand the architect's agency? How to spread the importance of architecture? How to get other people outside of architecture to start valuing or thinking about architecture differently?

 Carlos Bedoya

I feel that there are two complementary aspects, one is from our position as an office, that is, trying to communicate to the public what from our point of view is very important for our projects, I think that at some point the projects speak for themselves, they come to life and you can see how they were born. The second has to do with the talks or lecture you give, about what projects you have.

In this second area it is important and it is part of our responsibility to transmit relevant things, for example, in that sense "LIGA" (The cultural division of Productora) and "PODUCTORA" try to create that space, we try to transmit the different nuances that architecture has and thus create critical thinking.

This is the way in which we try to spread and open communication channels through our gaze as architects with the world that surrounds us, as I had said previously, what is very important is to understand that we as architects are part of an entire machinery and that is to understand that you alone cannot do everything, for example, I regularly watch a television show at night with various topics, it broadcasts about 250 programs a year, maybe one a year is about architecture, so what does this mean? That on the one hand we as architects are not generating enough interest to be seen by a general audience. And on the other hand, I think that we have not managed to integrate ourselves into the general interests for other people, we need to understand that from our architect pedestal, we are not going to solve certain problems, this is something much more complex

Gabriel Esquivel

What do you think about seeking not only to be discovered as a group through your existing channels like LIGA? Do you consider the possibility of having a YouTube channel to start expanding this dissemination?

Or for example, look for a journalist / analyst who is sympathetic to your opinion, your points of view and contact him or her directly, or try to create a bond with other professionals, trying to avoid not only inviting architects, but other people as well with another cultural, political ties and listen to them.

Carlos Bedoya

Using these new communication platforms efficiently requires a lot of energy and at the moment, luckily, we are saturated. It is not something that we want to discard, it is almost always convenient to connect with other opinion leaders who are not part of the architect's work, in order to enrich your practice through another look than that of the architect.

Tatiana Bilbao has her office with a great communication strategy, she is a great generator of work networks and for this reason I think she does relevant work in the field of architecture, because she understands the importance of collaborations

With LIGA are trying to make this platform that we have created incorporate more people and not just architects or reach more people through an inclusive discourse in all aspects. The architect's job could make more sense if all the gears were ready to work.

Gabriel Esquivel

            Let's say that when I was introduced to the world of PRODUCTORA, both the space, as well as the different personalities of its members, you realized that it has a very specific stamp.            For example, the way Wonne speaks you know that he has undoubtedly that European "charm", etc. As you say, it is like an assembly of personalities that are established from a horizontal, not hierarchical, direction in which everyone participates in an important way.

It is a collaboration model that could be a model of an architectural practice. I think that once people enter that world; let's say that from my own experience it has something fascinating. Here is an architecture group that does many things, cultural and architectural, as well as socially spreading that model would be important, don't you think?

Carlos Bedoya

Yes, of course! You know what happens to us, a rather curious thing, on the one hand, is that our great virtue but at the same time our Achilles' heel which is being four partners. Why? Because it’s a bit like what you described, each of us is a world, which then is complemented with each other and made much more assertive.

            In this sense, sometime in an interview with Paloma Vera, she told us; you are like the “Alexandria Quartet”, it makes sense because they are four characters talking about the same story, but from different positions and goals. But what is interesting about this analogy is that these four voices have the vision in mind to create a complete story.

Gabriel Esquivel

As we get closer to conclude our conversation, I would like to, if you agree to enter into the subject of theory and architecture education.

To talk about the problem of teaching architecture also has to do with planning about theory. At this time and due to this project, the online magazine, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with different people and groups. It seems that the problem has not changed much for several decades, unfortunately, hegemonic vertical education is still in full force, in which the teacher is always right and there is no new alternative pedagogical dynamic in this regard.

There is a very interesting phrase in Mexico that most  Mexican architects and students say, my professors used to say it and perhaps I also repeated it back then as a student and it is this theoretical / philosophical problem and at the same time this pragmatic space that exists between “playing and landing". This dichotomy has always existed, I think that in that simple phrase one of the great problems of education is enclosed, that complex dialectic which opposes the speculative part, of design and creativity.

This part “play” somehow has to give in, to change, to stop in order to suddenly become something “landed” or “grounded”, that is to say, a practical reality, with very little negotiation between the two. This almost “theological” criteria is extremely grounded within the mentality of architectural education in Mexico. Above all, I think that this prevents the idea of growth in terms of developing new project possibilities. It is perhaps one of several rules of the modernist Mexican discourse within the Villagrán tradition, the regard for the “utilitarian”. I think that this change should be generated precisely from within the architectural studio.

 at you alone cannot do everything, for example, I regularly watch a television show at night with various topics, it broadcasts about 250 programs a year, maybe one a year is about architecture, so what does this mean? That on the one hand we as architects are not generating enough interest to be seen by a general audience. And on the other hand, I think that we have not managed to integrate ourselves into the general interests for other people, we need to understand that from our architect pedestal, we are not going to solve certain problems, this is something much more complex.

Carlos Bedoya

I think the problem of education touches many issues and has many edges, from my point of visit, for a long time it stopped having the objective with which it was originally created and has been used as a means of control through opinion leaders like politicians, businessmen, etc.

I think the most important thing is to create critical thinking that allows questioning and understanding things in a comprehensive way; it is also timeless and works in any context. Another issue is how to translate and make the world of architectural theory, the world of ideas, compatible with reality, and for this I think that we must make the architect's vision more multidisciplinary, understand other realities and points of view.

The role of the architect is changing, that is, it is not only about how you do a project with a certain level and aesthetic quality, but how to communicate it, on the other side, I think there is a very important problem in Mexico, which refers to research.

In Mexico there is very little research, in fact, the budgets for research are almost non-existent, the only universities that investigate intensively are the Polytechnic and UNAM, their available budget is very limited, there are few institutions within this academic structure with this model; therefore, the reflection on our work is very superficial.

The fact that Mexico borders with the United States, everything then becomes faster in our context, within this speed, everything is more superficial, we have to understand these things and be sensitive to them, Europeans are surprised at the amount of work that is produced in Mexico, because in Europe they take years to build because there is a very serious process of licenses, permits, feasibility, etc. Here everything is less regulated, they also have acoustic and thermal insulation restrictions, that is, they are full of rules.

In Mexico it is easier because the climate is so good that you do not need insulation, for example, they are complex situations, but I think they are part of an education problem and end up determining the structure of education.

Gabriel Esquivel

This is a very complex issue and is partly the idea of doing this project of AGENCIA online magazine based on interviews. It is very important to talk about the academic problem, that is, from the architect's formative point of view, this is the moment when ideas are born and, above all, as you say, perhaps it is time to discuss the importance of research, the importance of seeking different points of view, that’s what is missing.

 It is a very practical position that schools maintain in Mexico, there is also the concern that the student is paying. So in many of the programs the students treat the teacher thinking that he or she is here at their service, that is, “I am paying you with my tuition and you have to respond to this”. Of course that there are different types of education within architecture schools. This makes academic work much more difficult, but somehow I feel that there must be a serious rethinking of everything, not only in Mexico, but about what architecture education should be in the future.

Carlos Bedoya

I agree, I think it is the core of the problem, the academy and education. Within the Ibero (Universidad Iberoamericana), which is in the school where I studied ... And going beyond religious ideals, it is very complex to understand what their current position is as a school of architecture, not only around religious issues but also specifically architectural terms.

Gabriel Esquivel

Perhaps the UNAM and the Ibero although they are very traditional schools of architecture are very good, maybe the best and some of their positive things can be reused.

Carlos Bedoya

They are probably the best, because they have a more specific profile. Although that is a big problem in the country, the lack of specificity.

Gabriel Esquivel

Sure, if there is no definition, there are no common denominators in the programs. I think something was going on in both your generation and mine. I remember that there really was a great passion for architecture, there was a group of people who were very interested in what this meant. This went far beyond the information we received within the school itself. There was a world beyond which we searched. That is, there was a desire to learn and explore; now I’ve noticed that in many of the conversations I had lately with students, there is a kind of apathy.

I feel that as a result of all this and in the face of all our current problems, there is a kind of resistance at the institutional level to change and, in turn, there is a lack of information, a lack of culture about architecture. Suddenly when you find a student who is very motivated, very interested, then I think you have the obligation as a teacher to encourage and motivate him or her to keep going. But at the moment that student tries to communicate with the teacher, they will most likely receive instead a discouraging talk with negative criticism. So the problem is also on the part of the professors who do not know how to communicate.

How do you make students fall in love with architecture? How do you manage to communicate the passion for architecture?

Carlos Bedoya

I undoubtedly think that the generations have changed a lot in the last decade, it has been a radical change, the evolution of the planet has accelerated and as a consequence people’s vision has changed a lot. I think that their way of thinking, their way of manifesting themselves, their relationship with architecture, is very different from ours. There are so many options, much more than in other times, people identify with different characters, with different things and perhaps because of all these options, architecture has lost popularity. Currently it is impossible to homogenize, people are very diverse which makes it much more difficult for architecture to be a common factor of the vast majority. Putting yourself in other shoes is very complex.

My analyst tells me that when you are in a relationship, you have to think about what the other person does and thinks, you realize that this dynamic does not depend on you. It is a relationship where it is important to listen and try to put yourself in the place of the other person, the only way in which I can get students to get involved with me, with my way of thinking, is doing it through a social mission and current and lead by example through the facts.

When they see that I am passionate and dedicated to the profession, when giving a crit, I speak about certain things and luckily many of my students, I feel that they have managed to connect with that feeling and with that thought, obviously not everyone is going to get hooked, I think that if one day I have a son and I want him to read, so the least efficient way for him to read is for me to tell him is “you have to read”, but if he sees that mom and dad are reading, most likely he will sit down to read, I think a lot depends of our position and example.

Gabriel Esquivel

Sure, you can’t force them, personally, I like to teach second year, because I feel that it is in the second year when things start to take shape. I think that through an example it is easier to connect with them. Many of them will be hooked into architecture at that moment and the love for architecture is born. If it does not happen then, it is difficult to happen later. It is at that moment when everything is revealed to you and you still allow yourself to be surprised and not be ashamed. You are not jaded yet and you do not act with cynicism and irony.

Carlos Bedoya

On the one hand, there is a generational issue that goes further, as we have already seen. But I do believe that there is also a generational thermometer, at least in Mexico.

Between the decades of the 30's to the 70's in architecture, on average, there were people who were knowledgeable technically, but also socially, politically, culturally, in all aspects, not only architecturally. Today I see how Mexico is growing with an uneven development.

Nowadays it is difficult to obtain quality, I agree with you on that point, that there is a stronger separation between the academy and the students. What are the academic foundations that tend to pass and which ones remain? For example, the United States is a country that fascinates me for all the contrasts, I do not judge it if it is something good or bad, I think that we all have good and bad things, but it is an anthropological laboratory to the max, it seems to me that it is more accidental, but In the end, this triggers many questions and therefore many searches for solutions and this is reflected in education, practice, entrepreneurship, etc.

Gabriel Esquivel

The United States is a country where there is a huge range, especially in terms of social cohesion. Here in Texas I’ve had students from all walks of life, from millionaires to those who come from poor rural areas. African American students or of Mexican or Asian descent, there is a very large mix. When you face a group and you see all that diversity, you are in shock. Last night talking with a friend, also a professor, we mentioned that one of the great things that architecture has, especially here in the United States is in the way that students relate to each other, and that is despite having all those differences, social, racial, cultural, sexual and gender wise. Students after spending several days without sleep at three in the morning inside studio and sharing the effort that takes to finish a project. Those existing barriers, the prejudices that were instilled in them at home, start to crumble and then communication begins from another perspective, as human beings.

It is at that time that even many students who were raised with certain religious, racial, approaches; begin to change because they have started to develop new friendships, even close friendships among people who they never consider they could be friends. That is the great social hope that architecture can provide from within. The old structures are broken and from that moment another way of thinking from the students begins that could  be projected in the future in their way of thinking about society. This could become a wonderful model that is not only an academic model, but is an extremely important professional and human model.

Carlos Bedoya

I totally agree with you because it is what I was saying regarding the topic that there is an academic structural problem within the sphere of culture and that within that structure you can be in touch on educational, social and technical issues related to architecture.

For example, at The Ibero, these interaction dynamics are not necessarily fostered, as well as structural discussions regarding the teaching of architecture. But it is there where teams of students with similar interests begin to form. In general there is little integration between the diversity of the population within The Ibero and obviously upon leaving the university, their first reaction is to continue with that line, that is, they continue to be part of that group. Perhaps there should be some way to further integrate the exchange of ideas, but it is not about imposing any specific discourse, but at least present different points of view. There is a very radical separation that possibly affects education from within the studio.

Gabriel Esquivel

From an academic point of view, it is important that they learn to work in groups. We really like this at Texas A&M for students to work in groups of two, often in groups up to five students. As the studio develops, we are looking at the profiles of the students and we try to analyze if they can work within a particular group, obviously these considerations have to do with a similar work discipline, interests, personality, among others.

It is possible that in the beginning the project production, as well as their relationship, will be difficult, but in the end more likely that the work quality improves significantly and they will end up being friends as opposed to end up hating each other. If these dynamics are instilled early, the student can understand the meaning of the group work habits that will continue in the office. Generally this relationship at work will be among people possibly not connected to your interests but somehow you will have to make this happen. So it is important that from the beginning that students learn to deal with different ideas, not only to tolerate them, but also to process and negotiate them.

Carlos Bedoya 

I agree with what you propose, for example, I like to try to understand different situations, I like to learn. My position is generally to listen, understand, learn and from there decide if I agree or not, this does not mean that the position regarding the other person is good or bad, the important thing is to listen and inform yourself in order to have an opinion, because in the end our profession works as a team.

As time goes by you realize that you always end up working in one way or another as a team, even in the most extreme case in which you manage your own work, even so, architecture is a profession that develops in essence in a group, so I fully agree that this should be a very important part of the academic learning processes

Gabriel Esquivel

I really love talking to you. You are a world of knowledge. When you told me that you were giving me the interview, I kept insisting because it is something very important to start this AGENCIA project.

Before we say goodbye, I would like to tell you that you have to write more.

Carlos Bedoya

I have started to write certain topics and I have written some things for the magazine Circo about Mancilla y Tuñon in Spain, I have two or three texts that actually appear on the PRODUCTORA page, there are also texts written between the four partners, but more between Wonne and me. You know that since my universe is sometimes so complex and so dispersed, it is difficult for me to download ideas and organize them, when I write a text it can be a page and it takes me ages, that's why I don't do it so often, but I like it because I know that when They are making sense, I get very excited.

Gabriel Esquivel

Above all, because having these texts, your students find them, read them and ask you questions, that is important, that they know what you think.

Thank you Carlos for dedicating this time to me, you should come again to talk with us, to show us new projects or maybe do something different. Well, I hope you are well, many greetings, a huge hug and that all the successes continue. Let’s keep the conversation going. Thanks again!



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