Architecture competition "Kemeri National Park Observation Tower" 1st prize winner - Ernesto Urquízar Quesada and María Cervantes Lardón

We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the winners of the 1st prize of our “Kemeri National Park Observation Tower” competition - Ernesto Urquízar Quesada and María Cervantes Lardón from Spain!

Ernesto Urquízar Quesada and María Cervantes Lardón from Spain

We are two Spanish architects currently based in Paris. We have both been studying abroad, Rome and Santiago de Chile, in order to get a broader view of architecture. Since we met each other during our studies we have shared a common view of architecture meaning. We have always tried to develop a critical thinking based on the site, we strongly think the most important question in architecture is to rediscover the cultural and historical keys the place has been gathering. Our goal as architects is to take these keys and create a project that would respond to its specific context. In this way, we try to create architecture halfway between a strong formal autonomy and in continuous line to inheritance.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where company/ individuals have been involved?

As architecture students, we have always been involved in projects focused on our current situation of crisis, not as a handicap but as an opportunity to change the way of thinking and practice. Maria has been very focused on the study of the current political and urban situation in Spain, from an architectural view of the consequences of housing bubbles. For his part, Ernesto has participated in some international architecture competitions such as Europan, ArchMedium and a few others, achieving good results and experience. Since our academic training at the University of Granada, we are convinced that architecture needs to be thought of within a multiscalar approach so that an architect should be able to create all the way from a furniture item to an urban master plan. For this reason, now in a professional background, we are very interested in changing different scenarios in order to deal with different situations and become better architects every day. 

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

For us, architecture has always represented more than an occupation, but a way of looking and thinking. Architecture is a very complex discipline that nowadays should change the architect role in order to approach social and political conditions in a new way of understanding architecture. We strongly believe that our social and cultural contexts should be the main values in architecture. Context is always the key to design and to propose new ways of living the cities.

Why do you participate in architecture vision competitions?

We think here we have the opportunity to be more radical, to show the source of our way of thinking in a free environment. Competitions represent an alternative not only to improve yourself but to go further and make demands of yourself.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture vision competitions?

Subsequently, to participate in competitions like this are always a very interesting experience in which you can to improve and keep learning new things. It’s an opportunity to have some fun and develop the architecture you really have in mind. 

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