Inside the Mind of Raúl Almenara
16 de December de 2021
16 de December de 2021
Whenever we do something that gathers the best of each discipline, results break boundaries and move across sectors. Today we will be talking with someone who’s a clear example of this. Our protagonist has even seen his architecture make it to the cover of fashion magazines.
Raúl Almenara was born in Cordoba in 1990 and, today, he’s considered one of the 10 under-35 most influential architects in Spain. His education and training in Fine Arts have helped him along his way and have had such an influence on his work that he positions himself in the middle of this hybrid between the two disciplines.
In spite of his young age, Almenara already has 37 finished projects on his back, many of which have received architecture awards and have been present in international exhibitions such as Architecture Beyond Now, ANCB Berlin, Bienal de Valencia and Im?possible Madrid, among many others. Besides, Raúl Almenara has caught the attention of the masses to such an extent that he has been interviewed by El Pais, T-Magazine, ABC, The New York Times… All of whom consider him one of the young promises in current architecture, design and interior design. He even made it to the cover of the most famous gossip, culture and fashion magazines in Spain, such as Hola or Vanity Fair.
Synthetic leather work for Mioko.
But, what makes an architect make the cover of such magazines? It’s something that one could think is reserved for rock stars and popular actresses. But Raúl has that capacity to move us. He’s a defender of the so-called sensorial architecture, where all the shapes and textures transmit emotional atmospheres and where the lines escape conventions and create innovative spaces. A clear example of this is his work in Casa Alento.
Casa Alento is one of Raúl’s most famous works. It was assigned to him by the director of the National Ballet, Antonion Najarro, and the space was planned based on the sketches of a ballet of his that was called Alento. Colours imitate the on-stage costumes and the structure of the house follows the movements of the dancers.
Antonio Najarro at Casa Alento.
A house created in spiral shapes, with curves that transport us to dance performances and that, like Raúl says, make us understand that, in nature, there are no straight lines. Almenara takes ballent into the house, using architecture as a language.
But, what makes an architect seek to transmit emotions in every curve? And, most importantly, how does he manage to do it? Raúl tells us about it in this exclusive interview:
There are many technical solutions for a problem, but the brightest one is the one that offers the users a message of beauty and emotions. That’s architecture. Art capable of creating spaces and atmospheres. It caresses the soul.
This way of generating sensations is not arbitrary — behind it there’s an intense research in order to study these effects in depth.
For me, it’s crucial to connect different disciplines. This allows me to create spaces that are not inhibited by traditional preconceived lines.
The process starts by analysing the playing field — the environment as well as the user’s needs and preferences. It’s crucial for architects to know how to see without being blinded by a pure rational analysis. With that data, I start a concepts research that, a priori, aren’t usually connected to architecture. Music, literature, geology, mythology… It’s there that the final concept is born; the concept that is going to guide our creative and constructive process.
I don’t believe blank pages even exist. We are conditioned, in one way or another, always. Even in a site in the middle of the desert we would be conditioned by climate, orography, commodities… Good architecture, one that bets on sustainability, must provide solutions for these constraints. Let’s turn constraints into opportunities.
The key is in the exchange of information between disciplines during the creative process. In my case, it’s fine arts, but it could have easily been music or medicine. When our creative process is not the usual for architecture, when we look at other disciplines as well, the result is different. These are new inputs that help us come up with new ideas.
Every project is a unique challenge in which I must do my research and face and discover new things. The driving force behind each of my projects is the excitement to see my ideas materialise
Being authentic, being yourself, being coherent with your ideas and the way you understand the world, whether in your personal or professional life, will always lead to success.
Living is not merely existing
Rather existing and creating
Knowing how to enjoy and how to suffer
And not sleeping without dreaming
To rest is to start dying.
Article written in collaboration with: Raúl Almenara.