Julio Prado Despacho de Arquitectura y Urbanismo 2022-06-30
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This has been his career path so far:

Born in Madrid in 1972, he graduated from the Higher Technical School of Architecture of Madrid in 1998. He trained during his career in the architecture studios of his uncles Ricardo Prado and Fermín Fraguas. From 1998 to 2000 he worked in a study specialized in social housing and urban planning (ARA, S.L.), and from 2000 to 2005 in MECSA, an engineering, architecture, and urban planning company, where he became the project manager.

At the moment he directs Julio Prado's Office of Architecture and Urbanism, in which he carries out projects that range from transport infrastructure to single-family or collective housing, through hotel use or interior design.

Let us get to know you a little better...
What is architecture for you?

What is clear to me is that everything we build does not have to be architecture, just as not everything that is written is literature. I want to think that architects, like other professionals, provide a service to society by trying to cover a need that a client expresses to us with the best possible solution from a functional, economic and aesthetic point of view, both for the client and for the city or the place where it is inserted. Architecture should aspire to be durable, useful, and beautiful. This is taught to all of us at school, but I think it is the basis of this profession.

Sustainability and architecture are increasingly linked…

Yes, although sometimes I think we abuse the term sustainability and everything that it involves that, in a certain way, has become a fashion and, sometimes, it seems the only important thing when it comes to shaping a project. The architects of 50 years ago also knew how to correctly orient buildings and distributions, take advantage of lighting and natural ventilation, etc.

I do not want to say that sustainability is not important or decisive, that it is both in architecture and in life and in society in general, but I think that sometimes it gives the feeling that the main objective when carrying out a project whether they later place a silver or gold medal on the façade of the future building. Sometimes we forget the responsibility that the architect acquires over the investment of the promoter who, in the end, is the one who must know what he wants or needs to do with his capital.

How do you imagine the architecture of the future?

I hope it is an architecture attached to the place where it is built with which it must be integrated, its climate, its vegetation, its materials and construction tradition, its traditional and existing landscape and architecture, etc. I don't quite understand the architects who build the same thing anywhere in the world. And, in fact, it seems very complicated to me to carry out a project when you do not start from some previously forced feet that mark the architectural solutions to be developed. This is something that usually happens, for example, in airports, where many times there are no prior conditions (aesthetic, architectural, construction, etc.).

Any important project you are working on that you can tell us about?

We are doing the projects for four fire stations for the Ávila Provincial Council. We find it to be a very interesting job because, in addition to the projects themselves, what the client has asked us to do is create a common and representative image for the buildings and facilities of the new fire department in the province of Ávila.

What is the most curious place where you have been inspired?

I believe that, in this profession, in your day-to-day life, you are always seeing things that can later serve as inspiration when you start a project. From the moment you enter school, you create a collection of ideas or images that come from trips or visits that you make, books that you read, etc… and that later emerge at a given moment, when you need them.

Has any dream project come true?

I dare say yes. There are two or three single-family homes that I really enjoyed when designing them, due to the continuous contact with the owners, who reveal their needs, tastes, or hobbies, so that you give them shape when making the project of their home. A building that could only be for those specific owners and for that particular lot.

At the same time, and going to the opposite extreme, I have been able to carry out several passenger airport terminal projects, and I have enjoyed them enormously. When one does the final degree project, many times one thinks that it will be difficult to do, in "real life", a project of that magnitude, and I found myself with less than 30 years directing the Fuerteventura Airport Terminal project, and then that of Algiers, among others.

What led you to dedicate yourself to architecture? In my family, there were several architects. I saw what his work and his day-to-day consisted of and I thought that I liked him and I would be good at it. However, the profession has changed tremendously since then.

Each project is different, as is the environment where it will be physically reflected. How do both concepts come together?

I think I've explained it before. That is the most beautiful thing when starting a project: unite on paper the previous conditioning factors for the site, for the place where the project is carried out (landscape, climate, architectural conditions or construction tradition, materials, etc. …) together with the needs that, functionally and economically, you have to solve in the project. And from all this come some ideas that make up the new building.

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