Fernando Romero was born in Mexico City, 1971. He graduated from the Universidad Iberoamericana (Mexico city) and went on to work with Rem Koolhaas at OMA (1997-2000) most notably as head project leader the Concert Casa da Musica, Porto, Portugal (1999). Upon returning to mexico he started the LAR (laboratory of architecture) in 2000, which was renamed FREE (Fernando Romero EnterprisE) in 2011. With FREE he gained international acclaim for his Soumaya Museum in Mexico City. FREE projects are currently spread between its offices in Mexico City and New York, where Romero aims to foster collaborations and partnerships among individuals and organizations, and materialize ideas into projects that will enhance people’s living conditions and environment. This last week, Arch2O had a chance to discuss with Fernando his thoughts and views.
1) Coffee or Tea?
Coffee in the morning and hot water the rest of the day!
2) FR-EE’s website speaks of a ‘contemporary moment and culture’, which the firm seeks to translate into architecture. How would you define this ‘moment and culture’? Are there specific events, causes, ideas or theories which you see as important to such a definition?
To us, architecture is the translation of the forces that define a building, such as its restrictions, resources, ambitions and other factors.Our website presents a synthesis of our interests, from architectural icons to social agendas. Our platform is a result of the context where it is placed. We truly believe that technology influences the way in which we develop our work.
3) The Archivo Diseño y Arquitectura is a very interesting concept and scope. Could you give a bit of an introduction and further explanation of your plans behind it?
The idea of Archivo is to create the first truly global design collection in Mexico. To this date, we have successfully presented a number of shows curated by local and international forces. The mission of Archivo is to enrich and increase the awareness and value of design in our culture. Today, we are analyzing the next phases for Archivo to have an even stronger presence locally and in the rest of the region.
4) When you begin a design, what is the second thing you do?
The first the second and the third is to search for forces and information that can become crucial in defining the identity of the project.
5) Much of your work strikes me as delightfully situational while managing to skirt around, and avoid becoming situationally formulaic. What cues do you look to when you get on site? Do you have a specific methodology for finding these cues?
Each building has its own process, in some programs exists a wider freedom for the exploration of the space, structure and form, often the projects which are somehow connected with culture and art. We don’t have a dependency to specific form or space… We believe that the specifics of the particular context should define each project’s own morphology.
6) Brahms, Bach, or Dvořák?
I am mostly into electronic music.
7) If I asked you to pull a book from your shelf, for which one would you unconsciously reach?
“The New Digital Age” by Eric Schmidt
8) How do you determine the placement of openings in your buildings?
The openings of the buildings are always a result of the programmatic needs, depending on the necessities. They are rarely a search for something playful or formal – rather a technical consequence.
9) Is there a specific building element (facade, stair, floor, wall, fenestration…) which you feel a special affinity towards while designing? One that holds above the rest in the hierarchy? Is there a hierarchy?
As banal as it may sound, I believe that these are all interconnected and none is more important than the other.
10) Ten years have passed and it is now 2023, what is your firm currently engaged in?
By 2023 FR-EE has analyzed the best opportunities in the region where architecture makes a difference and can transform context in a wider sense.We are producing architecture that creates employment, awareness, hope and emotion.
The Sun | FR-EE