A New Way, Always


Innovation has been at the heart of multi-disciplinary architectural firm Rafael de la - Hoz Arquitects for over a century, L-J Andrew spoke to Rafael de La-Hoz Castanys, about how he is keeping this core spirt and drive alive.

Your great grandfather found the company in 1920. How has design evolved over 100 years?

My great grandfather ‘s generation was one that enjoyed the benefits of the industrial revolution. Including the invention of new materials and construction techniques that lead to a new architectural language after many centuries of stagnation. It was the most revolutionary period of architecture, probably ever.

The real change in modern architecture has been the digitalisation in the means of creation, which has brought a raft of benefits. Since the incorporation of computing techniques, we are able to maximize performance while dealing with more complexity in our designs.

How do you keep projects innovative and modern?

It´s our core belief as a practice that only through innovation you can deliver more. Right now, we are developing a project in Andorra, that is articulated through an innovative inclined elevator in response to the geographical context. As the inclined lift lays almost naturally on the terrain's slope, which is nearly 45º, with it we can reduce ecological damage and even overall costs. From a clients point of view, incorporating an inclined lift allows us to assign less resources to logistics and more to fine interior details. But in many cases innovation requires a developer willing to innovate, and that's not always the case, that's why Metrico is so key in our practice.

Tell us more about Metrico

Metrico is a branch of the business where we act not only as architects but also as developers. This increases unity across the management of a development, therefore delivering better quality to final clients as well as the buyers. Developers nowadays have a bigger impact on the real estate product than any other party involved, so being our commissioner allows us to deliver a product with no interferences that hits our standard of unprecedented quality.

What inspired the creation of the Real Estate branch of the brand?

The idea arose when we identified a key element was lacking in the real estate market, we realised that many times developers, in fear of innovation, tend to choose more conventional and boring solutions when it comes to marketing and selling. Also, because in a market economy, architectural innovation is not a priority compared to the idea of getting more return on investment, the result is a very homogenous product. We felt it was time for this toc change and create something that celebrates innovation and doesn’t shy away from it.

Sadly, developers are not necessarily familiar with better alternatives than traditional ones. Over the years of working with many parties, we have concluded that there is a segment of the market that appreciates very fine details and architecture, as they're not part of the broad real estate market, they are not usually considered. Metrico arose as a response that pretends to cover that niche of the market, which is the product that we like to create most.  


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