ISSUE 3. Interview with Abraham Cota Paredes by Alfonso Arias


25 Feb

Abraham Cota Paredes (1986, Los Mochis, Sinaloa, MX.) 

In 2008 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Guadalajara. 

In 2011 he was awarded the Navarra International Talent Scholarship. 

In 2012 graduated with a master’s degree in Architectural Design from the Technical School  Superior of Architecture of Navarra. 

In 2014 he opened his independent practice. 

In 2015 "House to see the sky" is selected for the Jalisciense Architecture Biennial. 

In 2016 Abraham Cota Paredes is included in the Architect's Directory in Wallpaper Magazine. A selection of 20 emerging Architecture offices around the world. 

In 2017 he participated in the Biennial of Latin American Architecture, in the city of Pamplona, Spain. He was a speaker at the College of Architects of Catalonia and in it that same year the project "La Cueva" is a selected for the Jalisciense Architecture Biennial.

 In 2018 "La Cueva" is part of the project exhibition at Young Architects in Latin American collateral competition of the Venice Biennale and received an honorable mention.

 His work has been published in various digital media around the world and in Architecture and Design magazines in Australia, Ecuador, England, Poland, China, South Korea, and Mexico.

Interview with Abraham Cota Paredes

By Alfonso Arias 

Alfonso Arias: Good morning, Abraham. First of all, I would like to thank you for opening a space in your busy schedule for this interview, as you know AGENCIA is an online publication that seeks to capture the world of architecture, moving aside the projects and photographic glamour to go further into the ontology of Mexican and Latin American Architecture. We would like to find and discuss the paradigms that govern these and problematize the aspects of technology, education, or training of the discipline and the theory in our practice. 

Abraham Cota Paredes: Excellent! --Well, thank you very much and it is a pleasure to be here. 

Alfonso Arias: I thought of you first of all because of the contact and spaces that we have shared few years ago, I know of your willingness to participate in activities that enrich architecture, your defined vision and precision for the work you have been doing for a few years now regarding the production of architecture through digital media. AGENCIA has prepared some questions which we would like you to share a picture of your vision regarding this activity.   

Abraham Cota Paredes

Sure, great! 

Alfonso Arias: I would like you to talk about it from your ideological position. What is your vision of Architecture? Tell us a little about yourself, about your training and experience as a person and a professional that has allowed you to have your own perspective.

 Abraham Cota Paredes:  Sure, my name is Abraham Cota Paredes, I was born in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, but I am currently working from the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. I graduated from the University of Guadalajara in 2008 and with a master's degree in Architectural from the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, in 2011.

 My vision of architecture is basically that we are a kind of animal lineage dedicated to generating the habitats where human life develops. So that is our profession. That is what we do. I have a pretty, realistic perspective, I think we could call it a realist. I mean, I see us as an animal species, where every person has a role as an individual to find the reason or duty to be somebody to do something, the purpose, beyond the idea of being. What is his or her purpose in society?  Because we are social beings. 

So, in recent years I have developed a discourse of thought in which I try to see us as another species, where I find relationships, for example with ants. Each ant has its own role, for example, you have the scout ant that is responsible for going out and sniffing or detecting where food is. Then that ant warns the others to go with the workers in charge of collecting the food, there are also the soldiers who are bigger in case any rivals appear, there is the queen and the fertile ants. So, there are always those functions for each line.

 I see the architecture like that, we take care of developing the buildings to generate life. The architect in the end, oversees the construction of both housing and building types to develop all our activities, I call it or define it as the implementation of man’s hand in nature. 

Every time that nature is affected by man architecture is being produced.  We ask ourselves how far does it go? Since the indigenous, or more than the indigenous, when the primitive man walks through the plains, through the jungle and begins to lay stones to make a campfire, those stones, that circle of stones, that’s architecture. So, anything that modifies nature, a bent branch that a man walks on top if it, architecture begins to form, if you bend many branches, suddenly becomes a tunnel through the jungle, that tunnel becomes architecture. I see myself as a human who has a function, which is that of a builder. The architect as a builder. Humans through their thoughts try to express themselves, to leave the expression of their humanity, of their existence, in everything they execute, then architecture is that construction loaded with expression, of human expression in this case. So, I love to see myself like this, I love it! I love to have that slightly more pragmatic perspective of the trade and at the same time we live in the age of content. 

A little bit ago I spoke with someone about the whole economic, social issue, because it seems to me that it is very important, in an article that I read about five years ago, they talked about two ideas; the first one, the 21st century was going to be the century of content, that was going to be the main industry of this century The content, it was no longer going to be oil, it was not going to be anything else, it was going to be the content. 

And the second idea was that if you could not take your business to the internet and you couldn't control it with your cell phone, it wasn't going to be business in the short term.

Yesterday I was talking about this, it seems that the pandemic is going to change everything, it is going to completely change life. So, the one who made money the same way he has been doing for 30 years, could be a doctor's office or a restaurant or a retail space, he or she is no longer going to be able to make money the same way. The complex and remarkably interesting issue is that it was a completely sudden process. It was not gradual, life switched overnight, worthy of any science fiction novel, like an essay on Saramago's blindness! An event that happens overnight! Like that Saramago novel in which the taxi driver suddenly goes blind and crashes, and the one he collides with suddenly becomes infected and begins to infect everyone. This is so powerful. It is interesting because like Architecture, which is one more trade, there has to be an adaptation. The fact that this article said is that if you cannot practice architecture from your cell phone it is not going to be business, it is contradictory, right?  Because I'm talking to you that you're a construction ant, isn't it? What does the builder ant have to do with the cell phone? 

So all those mechanisms that the architect has to generate, to be able to feed off technology, to be able to carry out his trade, and if you mix it with the fact that we live in the era of content, how does the architect generate content in order to carry out his trade?, that allows him or her to stay alive, survive, right? and develop a sustainable business model according to the times we live in. That's why I've been developing the industry of my contents since I finished my master's degree, because when I finished my friend Alvaro Beruben told me - open an Instagram account, you're going to get addicted – suddenly I realized that Instagram is all images, and I thought if the architect makes images then I started to see everything I did since 2013 as content, I started working on that content, I started manipulating that content and started spreading it. 

I started using it to my favor, I see myself as a construction ant that manipulates and shares its contents. If we also start to see again that we belong to the realm of animal species and not function, but the goal of life is that it continues to grow. For the cell the fundamental goal is to multiply, to replicate, to grow, to expand. This is what we are seeing with the virus, the virus is not bad in itself, its function, its programming is to multiply. 

Alfonso Arias: The architect, with this vision that you have and with the experience that you to have received by training in different places or different universities of Mexico and abroad, also now as a teacher. What is your general opinion on architecture’s formation in Mexico? What strengths do you find? How can it be improved? What needs to be changed urgently? 

Abraham Cota Paredes: It is a light darkness; it is a powerful entity because it is full of good architects. There are great architects teaching in large but good universities in Mexico, but if we really see it from the point of view beyond numbers it is quite poor. If you count how many universities in Mexico have an architecture school, (just for the argument sake we can create any number). We are going to find out what is out there, I do not know... Five hundred, six hundred, a thousand universities in Mexico that offer an architecture degree, and of that arbitrary number, how many have good professors? Because education is the teacher! It is that simple. I talk a lot about the university going to die or it is going to disappear, maybe it doesn't disappear completely, but the way we conceived it now is going to disappear. 

It is not going to be the same anymore after the pandemic. For example; right now the TEC of Monterrey and all the universities are lowering their tuition, they are doing things like that because they no longer have the same demand. If this goes for a long time, the topic is digital then. But well, what I want to tell you is that the percentage of good teachers at universities in Mexico is, dare I say, it's 1% or 2%.... Never greater than 10%. So that tells you that 90% of students who want to study Architecture in Mexico are going to get an education from mediocre to bad.

 This makes us a minority and quite privileged percentage of those who study in good level public universities such as the University of Guadalajara. But watch out! University of Guadalajara is hiring worse and worse teachers. Then the landscape for new ones is becoming more complex. However, what rescues the Guadalajara University, is that there are fewer and fewer teachers and more students, I always say that a public university has in its favor that it will always have the best students, it will have the best ants. Why? Because it is an ant that went through an admissions exam that took lots of work and dedication. It is an ant that needed to have a good high school GPA, so it is an ant that by itself has a good capacity for success. Even if he or she gets a bad teacher, the ant is good. If it is a good ant, it will be able to do better with what it has, that is the virtue that public universities have, like La Politécnica in Madrid, in Barcelona, and Guadalajara, Mexico. That is, virtue relies in the student, and if you add to that good teachers like those in many universities in Europe, Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil. Where there are good universities, large public universities, with great professionals who are practicing and who are teaching, there you will find the key to success. 

The key to success is for the student to receive education from a professional, not from a teacher as such. For me, the person who teaches needs to practice, because if not, he or she teaches what they were taught and it is focused only in transmitting education, not to developing it. He is not researching because the teacher must do research. And how does an architect investigate within the field? Executing, developing, making concrete walls, making stone walls, making earth walls, making a wall, etc. And then, when he experiments, and goes in front of a classroom and tell them, you know what? Earth walls lay on concrete foundations, because if they do not, they are going to be filled with moisture and they are going to collapse. Use a wooden slab and a cover on it, because if you do not, they are going to get moisture. You see what I mean? the master must be the maker, the one who develops. So, in the digital age, for me the university is an interface, right now we are using an interface (zoom) that we use every day, social networks are interfaces, interfaces that connect people, that connect ants. The university was an interface that connected students with teachers, but suddenly the pandemic arrives, and we all leave and protect ourselves in our dens, in our burrows and no one wants to leave. 

We have to educate ourselves through these interfaces. Where's the university? Well, the university, the interface, this is the university, which connects the one who wants the knowledge with who he has the knowledge. So, I have been dedicated for three years (because I started with this since 2017) to generate this interface, this interface that connects people who want knowledge with people who have the knowledge, and understood that we can be much more massive, much more democratic. Because it's cheaper, because we're not paying for the buildings, we're not paying for the infrastructure the university has to pay for to survive, we can be much more efficient. What the post-pandemic era teaches us is that we can be much more efficient as a species to develop our work, to educate ourselves, to reproduce, to feed ourselves, to transport ourselves.

Alfonso Arias: I noticed that you mentioned superficially a particularly important point, it caught my attention because we have also heard it with other people. That teachers who are sharing knowledge with students are people with experience not only theoretical but practical, in this sense, what do you consider, could be improved or modified in universities to link these students with the professional field? 

Abraham Cota Paredes: Let the universities die! because imagine that you are a Harvard CEO or a CEO of, I do not know, of Rappi, imagine that you are the Colombian guy who invented Rappi and you think, well I will teach Tec of Monterrey, or I will enter to the IPADE for a master's degree and I will teach only 12 people who could pay 200 thousand pesos a semester. Well, you are going to be able to educate12 people, but imagine what you say, ok, I am not going to need IPADE or Tec of Monterrey, I am going to open a course by myself and I am going to open a call on social media, I am going to do it massively through a webinar. I am going to charge you half of what you would be charged at IPADE or a third, or a quarter of what you would be charged at any institution. But since I am going to have ten times as many students, I am going to earn three times or four times as much, and at the same time   I am going to teach ten times more or fifty times as many people, because it's up to me how massive I want to do it, and it depends on how many people are interested, but imagine the knowledge that the CEO of Rappi actually has. I mean, they were crazy Colombians who made an App, and all of a sudden, they're already hitting Uber, others, I don't know, I don't know where Uber is from, whether it's the United States or Finland or anywhere in Europe, I don't know, but imagine the level of these young visionaries, imagine taking classes from him instead of taking classes from someone with a master's degree. Someone who has been talking in front of a blackboard for 30 years and has two PhDs in, I do not know, in administrative economy. What do I know? I would prefer a webinar with the CEO of Rappi, and even if he doesn't give me my degree, even if he doesn't give me my certified diploma por IPADE, I don't care, I prefer to be given my certificate or diploma that has the signature of the CEO of Rappi, who in the future will be one of the richest men in the world. That signature is worth more than the signature of the director of IPADE, and that tells you something about the titles. It also tells you about the credentials that, in this virtual world, what do you care if you, or the person you are working with has a title or not, in the end what you want is the competition, what you want is the product, that meets your needs, and if you are meeting those needs at the highest level, obviously something will be behind it to support it. I mean, there will be studies behind him that are giving him the ability to be able to guarantee a top product, but what I want to tell you is that the university as an institution is becoming less and less necessary, lor that reason, it is more necessary that people like that CEO of Rappi suddenly says, I have the knowledge, why don’t I teach a course? Why don't I start a weekly class where I sit just an hour in front of my desk to talk about my projects? And I think, I am going to do a chronology of my projects and I am going to start from the project I did at 23 and every Monday at 10 o'clock at night I am going to sit down and talk about myself, my projects, from the first to the last. And you can do that as open as you want, you can say I am going to charge 20 pesos or I'm going to charge a dollar, and you're probably going to have 30,000 people there giving you $30, 000 every time you sit and tell your story. Do you understand what I am saying? and it cost them a dollar and you won 30,000 and they're learning let’s say from David Chipperfield (talking about architecture) and David Chipperfield could be educating the world, so the power of the Internet is that a person can educate millions of people. 

Alfonso Arias: But how would students relate to the professional field? 

 Abraham Cota Paredes: Well, let them acquire knowledge, if I acquire the knowledge from David Chipperfield, then I will know what to do, that is where the test of what kind of ant you are comes in. Because there are ants that are not going to do anything with that knowledge. There are ants that simply if they see it for free on the internet or see it, know that they consume it. But Chipperfield probably opens a course that costs you $30,000. They might consume it, you know. Besides, since they have it, there will be people who use it, there will be people who will take Chipperfield's teachings and apply them into their work, apply, execute them, and evolve them, and there will be people who do not, who are only going to have the experience of saying well, I took a class with David Chipperfield. Unfortunately, it's not all up to the teacher. Depends on what kind of ant you are. 

Alfonso Arias: Abraham, I think you have touched it in a very subtle way, but what were the reasons or what motivated you to start this digital-media formation initiative in architecture?

Abraham Cota Paredes: Well, look, like everything in life, interesting things can come out of necessity, the word crisis as an opportunity. I had a crisis three years ago and turned it into an opportunity, but you must take it further. When I started my master's degree in Spain, I arrived in 2011, not even in the middle but at the beginning of the crisis, you know? Right now, if you see it in perspective, the European crisis was just beginning. Don't you remember? The default of Greece, the default of Spain, then I arrived in Spain with a little knowledge that everyone who goes to study in Spain stayed to work in Spain, because there was so much work that when you finished the master's degree, someone was going to work for Juan Herreros, and another was working for Patxi Mangado and another was working for Torena. that is, all the ex-masters stayed to work in Spain and developed their life and got married there, and it was great, but when I arrived, and I got the crisis instead Suddenly no one can stay to work anymore because there is no work, the architecture offices start firing massively, the competitions were over, it was all over and then I thought what am I going to do? What's the plan going to be? It's not going to be the plan to stay here anymore, it's going to be the plan to come back, and my teacher, the career director (I have never forgotten) told us; "what you have to do is go back to your own countries and share what you have learned here." Most of the master's students were from Latin America, we were many Argentines, some Mexicans, Ecuadorians, from Puerto Rico. And there was a Spanish one, there was an Albanian, but basically, we were Latin American who wanted to improve the education we received, because the education you receive in Latin America is insufficient, insufficient at best. 

José Manuel Pozo told us, they must go back and share the knowledge that you have acquired with as many people as you can. You must return to teach in Latin American universities to improve the educational level of their fellow countrymen, that moment stayed with me, I was impregnated, that did not leave me. I returned to Mexico for various important economic reasons. I had no money and because I had no job and had no projects, but I did not want to work for anyone, I wanted to share my knowledge, however, before I went to study in Spain, I was clear (In fact, if you talk to friends from the University of Guadalajara they will tell you that in second semester I was already talking about designing a school), I swear I had that dream at the time. Imagine a school from which only the best architects graduate, but then I remember being heard by a great professor, Carlos Muñoz Botello, and he said; "you can't see it just like that because there are a lot of people who aren't going to be designers, you can't only accept good designers in any school. Why? because architecture has a much larger working field".   Well, it was my ignorance, because I wanted that, I wanted to train good architects in my school, good designers, good designers. 

What I want to tell you is that it is a wish I have been carrying it with me since I started. I tell people when they ask me, what do you do? I answer, I dedicate myself to sharing. I like share what I know and devote myself to sharing my skills and I also devote myself to share the skills of others. I do a studio where someone else teaches and shares his or her knowledge, I like to see myself as a person who is sharing content. When I came back to Mexico, I started teaching in the University Del Valley de Atemajac, out of economic need and to fulfill a desire like this and I have not stopped teaching since 2013 when I joined UNIVA. I’m going to tell you that when I'm done building the cave, (I don't know if you know this house), one day the client called me and said, "Abraham, water is coming through the window and my wooden floors are getting wet and the humidity is deforming them" I was eating out of the office, quite pressured and nervous because we were running out of work, there was no more work left, I had become independent with the promise that I was going to build a house, but the client backed down and I already had the burden of paying an office rent for an entire year and payroll, etc. And suddenly I was going through extremely hard times, a lot of nervousness every day, I remember arriving at seven o'clock at night at my office laying on the floor, looking at the ceiling with that feeling of hopelessness thinking I do not know where I'm going. That period of my life I call it floating, because all I wanted was for the ship to be able to float. I did not want it to move forward, in those times when I had no jobs and I only had little things. One day the client of the “cave” called in the afternoon and said, "Abraham it will cost thirty-thousand pesos to change the wooden planks in my bedroom floor that flooded because of the leaking window" and I thought what do I do? Where am I going to get the money? My sister Maria Isabel was studying her master's degree at the University of Phoenix in San Diego, this is a university well-known for being one of the largest digital or mixed (face-to-face and online) in the United States. I went to her graduation at The Padres Stadium. There were, I don't know about 5,000 graduates, a lot of people from different degrees, and the master’s that she studied was practically online and sometimes on Fridays she took face-to-face classes, suddenly I thought, I know what I am going to do. Well, I am going to teach a course! I am going to teach an architecture design course, which is what I studied, it is my specialty, I'm going to teach a course and I will see if I am going to get the money to pay for the wooden floor. I talked to my sister, and I said, "Hey Tita, how do you study? How do you take the classes for your online degree? She responded, there's a program called Zoom," she tells me all about zoom and talks about the benefits for using it.  I thought "ok, we're analyzing the possibility of using Zoom, this is 2017. "I'm talking summer 2017 and I started using Zoom, I opened an account and I realized that of the two fundamental things about Zoom are screen sharing and the pencil tool, the pen that lets you draw on the screen, I didn't even have a touch laptop, but Alexis, a guy in my office, had a touch screen laptop that he let me have for my classes.   So I took his laptop and I could draw with my finger on the screen, it changed my life because it was like being at the desk with the student, a kind of desk-crit, but a thousand times better, because all of a sudden I'm drawing a section on the screen and I said, a section like the Kimbell Museum and I share the screen at the same time I'm showing him the images from the Kimbell Museum section and at the same time I'm drawing it. So, it is a level that never I have never experienced, I had my crit from my 80-year-old professor, and he will scribble all over the plan. I will take the plan and I would go to my apartment to work on it. Around ten o'clock at night I would get to work the project, I would pull out my plans all scribbled, and I did not understand anything he said to me. 

On zoom I could record, then I thought it is crazy because I reviewed the student, it is being recorded and the student can review it as many times as he wants, whenever he wants to sit down to work on it, he can pause and go back, it is a thousand times better type of education, and at the same time I started to launch through social media like Instagram and Facebook, my first course.   Then a couple of crazy students signed up for my class and I had my first class, the first architectural design studio that started on September 2017 with three students, I think two guys were from Jalapa, Veracruz and a girl from Matamoros, later on the studio manager of Luis Armando Gómez Solórzano from Appaloosa signed up.  Luis Armando knew me and told his studio manager "take the course" and he did.

Alfonso Arias: Greetings to the whole Appaloosa team, Rightly, something has caught my attention, because talking to Gabriel Esquivel and with other kids from the Universidad Ibero in Tijuana (Issue 2 AGENCIA), we talk that technology came to democratize teaching and we are amazed about how when it is in good hands, it can be used to create a meeting point among different characters that are developing in several points within the spectrum of architecture, and of course, this obviously has many advantages. Another question that undoubtedly arises is; when architecture as a discipline that works with the builtspace, with a space to be experienced with the five senses that are recognized as senses of perception of the human being. How does this sensibility is affected when teaching with technology, through a screen? How is the architectural sensibility of someone who chooses this way of teaching gets affected? What effect do you consider this type of education has on the recipient? 

Abraham Cota Paredes: Well, it's very interesting, because there's a phrase by Maquío Clouthier that says, "Mexico is going to change with you, without you or in spite of you." I'd tell you to apply this to everything, things are going to change with you, without you or despite you, technology is going to evolve, architecture’ relationships, people, everything, therefore teaching is under the same scenario. Imagine how architecture was taught in Da Vinci’s time or in the 700's, or 600's. There were no architecture schools, it was the beginning of the university. they had to learn a skill from a mentor, this was the Renaissance remember that the architecture of that period is imported by the Italians of the Romans, when Constantinople is burned down. Imagine that all the architecture books, where most of the development of Roman architecture was recorded was lost. The people who knew how to make buildings escaped from Constantinople and went to live in Florence, or to live in different cities of Italy.   

These people began to produce architecture, and if you want to learn this skill, then you had to learn directly from them. Imagine if these people were here and you say, "This my SketchUp model. What would they say? They would tell you that you are crazy. Architecture will not be taught like this. Have you seen Gaudí's models of vault’s the counterweights? These people would tell you have to do something like this, you know.

 Architecture can only be learned like this, if you ask an engineer, he will make you a model in asap, so that is how the program they use, where a mathematical model will mark with red dots the failure moments, and if the whole model is green, everything runs well. What do you need? Hanging bags is no longer needed. What I want to say is that education has to evolve, architecture itself and architecture education must evolve. You cannot continue to calculate like Gaudí did, you can not continue to design as they did. This does not mean that is better or worse, not at all, because there's a symptom or syndrome called Golden Age Syndrome. 

Did you see Woody Allen's film Midnight in Paris? It was good because it tells you about that syndrome of believing that previous times were better. And when the main character leaves and travels to another age. When they go to the Belle Epoque, he suddenly realizes that they also wanted to live in a previous era, they also believed that earlier times were better. So, this belief is always going to exist, to think that the future is bad. Today, the new generation is already lost, the new era of the world is going to end with a new generation. That thought has existed since Da Vinci, since the Egyptians, they thought the same thing, the next generation was going to wipe out the world. So, teaching architecture is never going to be the same, it can't be the same. Technology is going to get to this point where it is going to give you all the stimuli, imagine that I am inside that virtual zoom space with ten thousand people all over the world. and I'm telling them, "feel the height, see how the light hits," now we're going to be able to control, it is six o'clock in the morning and suddenly the whole atmosphere changes to the afternoon. Imagine what is going to happen in 100 years, because there comes a point where imagination can allow it, Da Vinci was thinking 500 years into the future, why can't I think about 1000 too?   

I want to believe this is how it's going to be. I want to believe that I am going to die with 10,000 people connected at the same time with their virtual reality lenses, and I'm going to give them a tour. I am going to say, "Ok, you understand this virtual space and now we're going to the Barcelona pavilion." Suddenly we are in the Barcelona pavilion, and I begin to explain the similarities, and the chimney effect of the low wall, the courtyard, all of a sudden, I ask them, did you understand the courtyard? We walk through the Barcelona pavilion and tell them, "now we will see the courtyard of Barragan’s Galvez house". That is reality, but it is a reality that you have to wait for a little, not much, and I dare say that is less than twenty years away. 

Alfonso Arias: This brings to the next question. We want to know your vision of architecture, but in terms of what it is going to be like for Mexico within this global landscape. How will education change in a medium term? Not just talking about ideals, but diagnosing Mexican Architecture in this new world? 

Abraham Cota Paredes: It is in a short-term because I am doing it and I'm already late. In the short term because I will have a new diploma course. Right now, I have students from Bolivia, from Ecuador, from all over Mexico, I have one in France, in the past there were from Colombia, I have one from Argentina. I have five countries in my diploma course as of today, and I have instructors like Alejandro Borrachia, who is the dean of Morón University in Argentina, he taught on Monday. Space Workers, who are Portuguese architects and who are about to win the ARQUITEC award, they taught three weeks ago and Lucio Muniain two weeks ago, Rafa Pardo three weeks ago.      

To all those people, I tell them, "How else could you give a crit to a student in Bolivia?" Through the network. The question is, what is next? I'm going to generate an increasingly formal, virtual academy, where knowledge will be shared by all instructors.   Then right now, this week, Lucio Muniain in Mexico and Carlos Patrón in Mérida, Roberto Ramírez in Mérida, Min Peniche and Jorge Duarte, Arkham Projects in Merida, Rafa Pardo in Xalapa, Juan Carral in Cancun, they have the task of making a video of a tour in one of their finished projects, a 25-minute video. Doyou know what a 25-minute video of Le Corbusier explaining and touring the Villa Savoye would online temporarily free, later there is going to be a membership fee to be able to watch them, those videos are going to generate, I don't know, 100 thousand views or a million views and means that 50,000people will see them. Those 50,000 people in Mexico, because our country is the main follower of my YouTube channel, then Peru, and then the United States, because there will be 50 thousand people spread around the world between Mexico and other countries that will consume that knowledge, digest it and put it into practice.   

All these architects are going to start advising because they are no longer going to be teaching full courses. What I want is for them to start advising, then you are going to register to my university, or my academy and you are going to pay a fee for monthly advice. That registration is going to include all the instructor’s videos, because every week each teacher will make two videos explaining how to they mix their concrete, how they make their vaults, etc. Rafa Pardo says that architecture is fundamentally learned at the construction site, the videos that I upload to YouTube of my construction processes are helping, and I believe that more than my design courses, because more people can consume them. I have had in my design courses about two hundred students, but do you know how many people have seen my videos? I dare say hundreds of thousands.   Those people that write to me every day in social media, thank me, "Abraham thank you very much for sharing your knowledge and look what I'm doing here and look at the window I made in this house in Peru." I mean, they are already using it.   What I want to tell you is that right now, the new initiative is that you no longer have to take a course that keeps you committed. I want the subscription to this Architecture Netflix to include three consultations a month, imagine that for a monthly subscription, you are entitled to an hour and a half (because each review is going to last half an hour), with architects like Lucio Muniain, such as Manuel Herrera, like Juan Carral, as Carlos Patrón, as Arkham Projects, as Alejandro Borrasca in Argentina, such as Space Workers in Portugal, and everyone who will be joining. Thanks to fact that I share, people come and more wanting to teach, more and more people want to join this movement, which is being generated. Imagine that you are a student of Arquitectura at a bad middle of the road university in El Salvador, in Paraguay, in Venezuela.   

If your teachers don't practice architecture, they don't build, they don't do anything, but you want your education right? And that is all you can afford, you say, I can make an effort to pay for this subscription to this academy and improve the project I'm developing at my university, with the poor advice from my poor teachers (poor of knowledge, not money) who don't help me at all, I subscribe to this service to this online academy and suddenly I can receive three reviews a month with great architects from all over the world and improve my studio project Do you realize the potential of this approach? It has the potential to improve education all over the world, because if you want a degree, you go into any University, in any town or any Latin American city, but if you register to this academy where you receive monthly advice from great architects, they will help you improve your project every semester.   

If you want that sequence, now imagine that you are three-year graduate, that he has his first projects and he wants to do well, he should register to this service. Then he can ask the advisor how to make a concrete stair for example? The advisor will convey his knowledge, imagine that Barragán was in that course, in that academy.

Alfonso Arias:   And what about the aspects of government regulation and the sensitivity given by one's own experience? Being exclusive at the spectral point of architecture that refers to construction, obtaining shared knowledge does not mean that you can build before an authority.

Abraham Cota Paredes: Similarly, imagine that people already have all the knowledge, you have already taken all the courses, you have already taken all the diplomas and all the webinars, all the knowledge you have already consumed, but if we are talking about that in a country like Mexico, where 90% of what is built, is built without licenses, and that is a real issue that gives a lot to talk about. For example, right now they were talking about self-construction, I am assuming that you already know that they just launched a program, a manual of self-construction in Mexico, for me what I think they are going to do is to formalize the irregularity. Because we are a country where very few people are within a formal economy. So that self-construction manual is going to legalize informality. I mean, this is the opposite of what should happen, they are going to give people tools, so they don't need an architect to build, don't need an engineer to build, and that's what our president is generating. After taking everything, after generating all the knowledge in a formal country, in a country like the United States. 

What is next? Then take your  accreditations. It's like when you take your Revit course,(We're about to launch a Revit course) toto get certified (because they had the previous business model),  you had  to apply an exam at a Revit-certified training center and you could only take the exam in their computers, for example, we're going to teach a course in alliance with an institute, with a BIM Center and in this center they still have an infrastructure to teach online courses. We are negotiating with them the possibility for people to take online certification courses that we will teach, so that they don’t have to go to the BIM center. You will have to generate live online certification systems with our on-camera instructor, so that everyone gets the certification that allows them to build. This will be like the fire test for this educational system, keeping in mind that the people who took three years of this type of content will no problem passing the exam. You must organize field trips. 

Just imagine that suddenly all these students that are located all over the world, we tell them, in this academy there are three international trips per year. will have an intensive week or two, and we will meet each other in Merida, and we will visit the pyramids in the area, and then we will visit the architecture of the instructors that we have over there, and the next trip we go to Porto and see all the projects of the instructors that we have there. Imagine all these new dynamics, we need to talk about transportation next, because as time becomes more and more relative and when the distance barrier disappears within the following decades, there will be faster flights, from New York to Madrid, you can be there in three hours. 

Obviously, it is going to take time for them to be low cost, but I think it will be sooner or later you could fly from Argentina to New York in three hours. You are taking your class online and the following week, on Monday, you will be flying from Buenos Aires to New York departing at six in the morning and at twelve o'clock in the afternoon you're in Time Square in New York. It is going to be crazy, but the future is going to be wonderful! I'm very optimistic, as you can tell.

 Alfonso Arias: Abraham, I have nothing left but to thank you to share with AGENCIA your ideas and thoughts, this is a meeting point (as I mentioned before), for all those voices that seek to be heard by society to capture the importance of architecture in our daily lives. I say goodbye hoping we can work together again soon and be able to group all the characters that are joining this dynamic to debate and find common ideas, I wish you an excellent week. 

Abraham Cota Paredes: Likewise, Alfonso, see you soon.


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