"Architects Have to Learn to Speak Less and to Listen More"

The particularities of place and context should be among architects’ foremost preoccupations, say the Mexico City-based designers.

Left to right: Carlos Bedoya (Mexico), Wonne Ickx (Belgium), Victor Jaime (Mexico), and Abel Perles (Argentina)

This is the third in a series of short manifestos from participating architects at the Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB). For more on CAB, see our interview with directors Sarah Herda and Joseph Grima. 

We have come to a moment in history in which the idea of progress is under scrutiny. The recent enthusiasm for the possibilities of technology and digital culture is being paired with awareness of the ways in which we engage with our surroundings and other humans. This brings forward a whole series of new interpretations and reevaluations of basic architectural principles.

As architects, we forget we are part of a much larger context. We have to learn to speak less and to listen more. We have to understand that maybe only one in ten or 20 projects has relevance beyond our practice (because of a specific client, site, program, moment). The insatiable hunger of the media industry makes this hard to realize.

How local conditions can inform international architectural practice is a very important and intriguing issue for us, being from the “periphery.” We understand more and more how the particularities of working in a specific place shape our projects, way of working, and thinking, especially now that we are building more and in different locations. We really embrace these differences, but at the same time, we think it is important to communicate about shared interests with colleagues abroad. Working from Latin America, we wonder about how to make something strong and interesting—neither making this socioeconomic context the central theme in our work, nor denying it.

Location: Mexico City
Founded: 2006

Size: 10-14 people
Founder: Carlos Bedoya, Wonne Ickx, Victor Jaime, and Abel Perles

Pavilion on the Zocalo, Mexico City, 2014

House in Alpes, Mexico City, 2014

House in Tequesquitengo, Mexico, 2013

Recycled House in Tlayacapan, Mexico, 2012

Casa Diaz, Valle de Bravo, Mexico, 2011


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