Architecture competition "Pape Bird Observation Tower" 1st prize winners - Manuel Pareja Abascal and Berta Risueño Muzás

We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the winners of the 1st prize of our “Pape Bird Observation Tower” competition - Manuel Pareja Abascal and Berta Risueño Muzás from Spain!

Manuel Pareja Abascal and Berta Risueño Muzás from Spain

We are two architects based in Madrid who studied Architecture together and who share the same vision and understanding of the discipline, but with two different perspectives that complement each other. We have spent ten years developing our own approach to the architectural and urban field addressing aspects such as the construction of memory, environmental awareness, appropriation or identity between many others. We have joined different teams practicing with various firms and professionals, but have always had this aforementioned complementarity as the core of our work.

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?

Essentially, we believe that every project no matter the scale should bloom from realistic conditions. That means taking into account not only the immediate context, but the economic, environmental and social spheres both on local and global scales. Nonetheless, our aim does not stop there, we want to keep on dreaming, creating and anticipating the different possible futures. For us this balance is the cornerstone of our work.

These ideas were born in our first prized competition together for the architectural and environmental renovation of Manzanares neighbourhood in Madrid. From there our perspective has spread and grown to what it is today. We truly believe that this way of approaching reality is the best no matter the scale, from the furniture design to urbanism and town planning.

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

Understanding that the spatial structures are the place where we, as human beings, are shaped, the architecture itself should be the one to offer new windows, as wide as achievable, to the possible futures. That means not only keeping our feet on the ground in the material aspects, but looking higher in the intangible ones. From our point of view the architect must combine two key qualities: a solid understanding of the ever-changing actual times, and the curiosity to dream new futures looking at every detail of the world in a new light. So for us the big challenge is to turn this into an architectural response that combines these two aspects which is, for instance, the most thrilling and stimulating part of the process. In other words, we like to know the boundaries before trying to push them.

Why do you participate in architecture vision competitions?

Participating in competitions is a perfect opportunity to face this challenge, developing new ideas, evolving personal perspectives, acquiring new capacities and tools. To achieve this, each new project must be faced with accuracy, curiosity and the will to surprise and be surprised.

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

Competitions are the best place to dream, push the boundaries further, feed and enlarge your creativity and get the ingredients to improve and become a better professional. This makes them an invaluable asset for the architects offering a great opportunity to attain a critical and deep reflection as a whole of the world we live in.

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