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Design, Architecture & the City: a rendez-vous with Enrique Sanchez, associate at Studios Architecture

anna volpicelliComment
California Health Department.

California Health Department.

"Designers nowadays have to be flexible and nimble" Enrique Sanchez, associate at Studios Architects and Principal at Green Shoots Creative, a life coaching organization, those are qualities needed to overcome the pressure that people in the industry have to deal with. As an award-winning designer (his designs won the Merit Award from BusinessWeek & Architectural Record, The America Architecture award from the Chicago Athenaeum and more), he has been able to combine his life coaching philosophy with his ability to create environments that can inspire and empower people everyday. Curiosity, empathy and creative thinking are tools that help him to manage challenges and to find in the most difficult and demanding projects always an opportunity to grow, evolve and become a better professional, a better person.

D: How did the local design and architecture industries have changed in the last 5-10 years?

ES: They have changed a lot, most of all in terms of the process of completing a project. There has been a lot of pressure to get things done quicker. This is happening because of the tech industry and its needs to finish a work as quick as possible. Sometimes I feel like It would be nice to have time to breath and to think about what we are doing and what we are offering to our clients. If we are offering the best or if we are working in a thoughtful way. This fast pace way of working requires designers and architects to be flexible and nimble. 

D: How is technology affecting the design and architecture industry, the development of new products and new buildings?

ES: Technology is a central tool for many people. It can accelerate the process of any kind of work and this was impossible just a few years ago. The demand is higher and the expectations too. Clients are asking to do everything fast, good and cheap. Those are new values which are challenging and very difficult to achieve. You cannot have it all, all the time. You have always to choose and prioritize. The question is what is the value that is going to be sacrificed to adapt to this high speed?

D: What are your favorite design pieces and architecture projects in the Bay Area?

ES: I really love the De Young Museum. I like the way where it is located, the material they used to build it, the tower, the access to that great view at the top floor. It is a great example of thoughtful design. The California Academy of Science and The San Francisco Federal Building. 

D: And those you don’t like at all?

ES: I think that San Francisco is a very young city from a design prospective. I am not going to mention any buildings but what I can say is that I don’t really appreciate new buildings that replicate and reproduce the old ones.

D: In your opinion, who are the new Bay Area’s talents in the design and architecture industries?

ES: IwamotoScott Architecture, they are much into researching and experiences, Aidlin Darling Design.

SFMoMA

SFMoMA

D: What do you think about housing affordability? Is there a solution to solve this problem?

ES: It is a complicated issue. There are so many regulations involved that it is very difficult to find a solution. I think that this problem cannot be solved by a single organization but we all have to be involved, architects, designers, planners, institutions. Spur, the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association, is a fantastic organization. They are working on finding solutions to this big problem, but again I think we all have to work together. 

D: What are your thoughts on San Francisco’s and the Bay Area’s future?

ES: There is an incredible growth of population. This is happening thanks to Silicon Valley. San Francisco is going through many changes because of this growth and I think we all have to be aware of the opportunities and challenges related to it that are coming along.

D: What are you doing to leave a positive mark on it?

ES: There are a lot of interesting clients and being part of this process is very rewarding. I like the idea that architecture and interior design can inspire people and I think I would love to keep working on projects where I feel inspired and that can inspire other people.