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038


DETAILS [lighting talk] This issue we talk to architect Fernando Romero of FR-EE. COULD YOU TELL ME... … what made you become an architect?


Architecture delivers useful solutions to complex issues. It also acts as a reflector and translator of social, political, and cultural conditions. This complexity is what attracted me in the first place. But I wasn’t convinced I wanted to be an architect until I finished architecture school and went to Europe. There, I was incredibly lucky to get a position at OMA in Rotterdam. I got to work closely with Rem Koolhaas, just as the office was finding great success winning international competitions, as the work was moving out of the realm of the theoretical into reality. I was surrounded by a lot of very talented people, so it was a very productive period for expanding my expectations about architecture’s possibilities.


… how important lighting is to your architecture? Light is for me the soul of architecture, it compliments proportions and defines spaces. Architecture and its function is very dependant of light. In our Soumaya Museum [1]


direct relationship with sun and shadow - and the light in the case of our Los Cabos International Convention Center [2] visitors and users to discover the space.


encourages


… about the importance of shadows and the balance of darkness and light in your work?


… what excites you about light and lighting? First, the poetic quality of light which we continuously explore and rediscover each time we design a building. At FR-EE we are also very interested in technology and constantly searching for more efficiency - we try to use less energy while integrating as much natural light as possible into our buildings. Light is also essential when materialising our design ideas through architectural models. A really complex project, FR-EE City [3]


, our prototype


for 21st century cities in emerging economies, was illustrated and made accessible to the public by projecting a 3m diameter light installation on top of a physical model.


… why spending time thinking about and working with light is important to you?


Light in our buildings is the result of the entire design process. We are mainly thinking about space and structure in the initial phases where light is one of the essential factors to define these. For instance, our chapel in Miami [4]


, dedicated to the Virgin of


Guadalipe, is a very vertical, simple gesture of a building that rises from the ground to search for light. The floor plan is the translation of the irradiating image of the virgin.


Pic: FR-EE


The shadow is a very powerful element that helps us recognise the drama of the building’s shape and structure, and the shadow serves as a constant reminder that light and the surroundings are continuously changing. www.fr-ee.org


… about how you approach lighting a building through architecture?


Most often, we collaborate with external consultants from the beginning, who help us achieve the ideal light condition for the users of the building and to compliment the architecture and aesthetics of the building.


… about the role lighting plays in the life of a city? And through your work, how do you contribute to it?


Certain cities have a really powerful presence of lighting features... it is not as relevant in our general urban context so we focus on giving our buildings a strong presence.


in Mexico city, the facade is in


… about the best and the worst illuminated places you have visited? To me, its less about the actual light solution or object - and more about a successful transition between natural and artificial light which I believe is best being smooth and seamless.


Pic: Adam Wiseman


Pic: Raul Soria


Pic: Adam Wiseman


Pic: FR-EE


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