Artribune, July 2014

A short self-introduction. Who is José Maria Sanchez Garcia?

Well, I think it is difficult to talk about yourself, right? I hope that after the interview it will be answered… (laughs)

Less than 40 years and you have already built important projects such as: the restoration of the archaeological site around the Temple of Diana in Merida, the centre for sports innovation “el Anillo” in Guijo de Granadilla and the rowing centre in Alange. All selected by the BSI Swiss Architectural Award you recently won. What these projects have in common?

They really have a lot in common. The restoration of the archaeological site around the Temple of Diana was the first important competition we won and allowed me to form a stable team to develop the project. Somehow, everything starts with this project. That is, we define those subjects that interest us and that finally respond also to other projects. It is the beginning of a line of research developed in recent years in the study. For instance, the restoration of the archaelogical site around the Temple of Diana, a project designed in 2005 and it takes over 6 years to materialize, coexists with “el Anillo”,  intended, developed and constructed in less than a year. Therefore, concepts such as landscape, the preexisting, geometry or the linear condition marked at the project in the Temple of Diana, are present in the other two works.

Your work seems to be characterized by a conscious use of materials and a peculiar attention for geometry. All in a special relationship with the surroundings. Which is your approach when you develop a project?

The question is very wise. With no doubt these are the themes that interest us. We could say that the approach to each project is unique and singular, but in some intuitive way, these studio worklines are always present. We could say that we always seek some aspects that go furhter than architecture, responding to a scale slightly larger than the architectural object.

What inspires your work?

I do not think that the term “inspiration” is appropriate for architecture. As I said, we have certain interests that, although we try not to impose on our work, are fundamental to our way of thinking. Inspiration is dangerous, because it can turn architecture into a subjective field. I am interested in finding more opportunities.

How much is your work influenced by the spanish culture where you’re from?

I guess it’s quite an influence. Each architect is a man of his time and as such, responds to a culture and a technic. I was lucky to grow linked to rural areas, where I could see first hand craft aspects that have been lost. I have understood that much of the training of a person occurs in the first 6 years of life. If so, I guess that early experiences are central to the way of thinking about architecture.

Which project best synthesizes your philosophy?

I hope everyone. Maybe in the project of the Centre for Sports Innovation “el Anillo” and The environment of the Temple of Diana, one can detect more clearly the way we work.

The BSI Swiss Architectural Award is a recognition given to “who have shown particular sensitivity to landscape and the environmental context”. How do you translate your sensitivity for the environment in architecture?

Wow, tough question! … When we got to a place for the first time, if anything characterizes the architects is his critical eye that can detect problems, and at the same time, all its possibilities. I love that critical look and develop projects as new opportunities.

What is Architecture for you?

I think all that I have explained above.