The following is an interview I conducted on tour with Tile of Spain‘s Reign in Spain design competition. This FCNews blog post is a first-hand look at what is important to today’s designers and architects.
Lira Luis of Atelier Lira Luis is a Chicago-based architect specializing in organic architecture. An active tweep with projects around the world, she uses social media to keep her up-to-date on developments in the artchitectural and building materials world.
“I’m very active in Twitter and scrolling through the architect hash tag I saw a call out asking, “Do you want to go to Spain?” There are more than 1000 tweets under the architectural tag per day so it was totally random to have come across it.”
Currently working on a museum renovation originally built by Spaniards in the Philippines, she wanted to see how the Spanish are treating historical additions with modern methods in the homeland, particularly with the use of tile. “I use it now but only conventionally, so I wanted to see the new technologies involving tile.” Citing a project in Arizona with a ventilated façade made from tile, she connected the dots from the southwest U.S. to Spain to the new project in the Phillipines, given relatively similar temperatures in all three locations.
“I want to create spaces that are modern and address sustainability that are still sensitive to social responsibility. Looking at tile as a material, it addresses both of those issues. Social responsibility is up to us. I have to consider the source of the materials I specify. My projects need to mirror my work ethic.
“Talking with manufacturers, the work ethic here mirrors mine. I’ve seen that attention to the materials produced here in Spain. The carbon footprint from Spain may be a little higher than from Chinese goods, but the process isn’t always as transparent. Spanish manufacturers have told me all about their processes. Natucer for example had all recycled materials in the Life Arq collection. Area manager Jose Cantavella explained how all the materials were recycled and how the product was made without contributing to carbon footprint but it is still a sexy product. I didn’t know it existed until Cevisama and I am so excited about it.”