“The architect can even surpass Nature – but to do so he must understand it, absorb it and love it with all his soul.” – Dr. Luis de Garrido

Dr. Luis de Garrido is one of the most leading architects in the world, renowned for sustainable architecture, is a Spanish architect, designer, researcher and an educator. In recent years, the architect has been very specific to accept projects where strict ecological, health and environmental criteria are highly respected.

Messi’s football-shaped home

Dr. Luis de Garrido is the Executive President of the International Federation for Sustainable Architecture (IFSA), President of the National Association for Sustainable Architecture (ANAS) and President of the National Association for Housing of the Future (ANAVIF) in Spain. He is also the Director of the Master’s degree program in Sustainable Architecture (M.A.S.) in Spain.

Dr. Garrido’s credentials are renowned for having received multiple prestigious awards for his creativity. He received the Architect of the Year 2008 Award from the “Association of Modular Architecture” (ISBU) in the United States, in collaboration with the AIA, for being considered one of the most innovative architects in the world, for the conceptual proposal R4House project.

The vision

In the year 2009, Dr. Garrido was honoured as one of the most innovative architects of Spain with the Cluster Architecture Prize by the “Serrada Blanco Foundation Art”, in Spain. In 2011, he was awarded the Environmental Responsibility Award by the “Sustainable America Foundation” from Colombia for the Design of Sayab the greenest residential complex in America.

In the year 2013, Dr. Luis de Garrido was chosen among the top 50 architects in the world and received the Top 50 Architect Award by the International “Green Planet Architects” American Association for his outstanding contribution to the development and promotion of architecture ecological, and his visionary architectural projects.

ONE-ZERO Eco-House

In spite of his famed stature, he is one of the most humble professionals, who is always willing to impart knowledge and be available irrespective of his busy schedule. His innovative design creations are spread all across the world.

Creator of Artificial Nature Architecture, Dr. Luis de Garrido is a man of vision, innovator of bio-climatic and self-sufficient architecture. He says, “The architect can even surpass Nature – but to do so he must understand it, absorb it and love it with all his soul.”

Dr. Luis de Garrido has also designed the First Bio-Climatic Commercial Building in the Panama City. It has 55 levels of natural refrigeration, the first of its kind in the world.

Argentina’s Superstar

Dr. Luis de Garrido speaks to Johnny D about how he had designed Argentina’s Soccer Superstar Lionel Messi’s ONE-ZERO Eco-House in the shape of a football. He reveals, “With the design of “One-Zero Eco-House” for Lionel Messi, we implemented all the theoretical foundations of a New Ecological Paradigm in Architecture that had shaped over the 20 years ago. With the maximum ecological level that could never get, either in the present or in the future, the goal of “One-Zero Eco-House” was to achieve a unique architectural model.”

Dr. Garrido revealed that for the design of “One-Zero Eco-House”, as well as for the design of the latest and most advanced projects of his office, he had used several innovative design strategies. He enthused, “One of the most important objectives of my design strategy is to achieve a perfect building for each of my clients. In other words, I want to make buildings that meet the physical, psychological and emotional needs of my clients.

To do so, the first thing I do is a deep psychological study of each of my customers in order to identify a set of denotative elements of their basic personal and social symbolism. These elements associated with a set of symbols, using advanced techniques of ‘brainstorming’. I even use ‘new types of brainstorming’ using the image search engines on the web. As a result I get a diverse set of symbols and try to synthesize by taking ‘fuzzy initial proto-solutions’.”

Landscaping Plan

Later, he uses a conventional method of successive refinement of the initial solution, until a result is able to perfectly meet all the initial conditions. The method is very complex and involves a team of about 10 people, but the results are spectacular. He continues, “What I’m trying to make is a perfect architecture in every way. An architecture that is timeless and impossible to overcome.”

Dr. Garrido shares how the project was shaped during the initial stages, “From the start of the project we were in contact with the Manager of Leo Messi. We obtained information from some of his closest friends, in order to get the maximum amount of information possible about his personal preferences. The result was simple and both spectacular. In fact, images of the project became viral in just two days and were televised on all the TV News Channels around the world.

In the initial stage of the project, for about 30 days, a combined total of 10 architects worked on the “One-Zero Eco-House” project. For the next 9 months, the project was completed by only one architect, with my personal involvement and direction, designing all architectural and engineering elements that I was continuously sketching freehand.”

ONE-ZERO Eco-House if properly maintained, the building can be eternal

Lionel Messi’s football-shaped house with a total floor area of 1.187’40 m2 was built at a cost of € 3,453,614. Dr. Garrido reveals about the sustainability characteristics of the “One-Zero Eco-House”, “The building has been designed to maintain, at all times, a perfect balance with the ecosystem as it has an infinite life cycle (i.e., if properly maintained the building can be eternal), non-generation of any emissions or waste, and provides thermal comfort to the occupants using only natural energy (solar and geothermal) only by proper design, without technological devices.

The building is thermally self-regulating due to its special design, without technological devices and is self-sufficient in energy, water and food.” Dr. Luis de Garrido strongly believes in the below listed six objectives that are the basic pillars and should be the base of Organic Architecture:

Dr. Garrido’s sketch

Decreased need for resources and optimize their use; Reduction of energy consumption; Promotion of natural energy resources; Reduction of waste and emissions; Improved quality of life for building occupants; and Reduced maintenance and cost of buildings.

The Eco-architect continues, “These pillars are very general and ambiguous, so it is necessary to divide them into several parts, so that they are different, and at the same time, easy to identify, implement, and evaluate. These ecological parts can be used to assess the degree of ecology of a particular building.”

A view from the top

I asked Dr. Garrido about his views on the Construction Engineers, who are breaking frontiers to give shape to Architects’ Designs’ Vision, and how much credit is being attributed to their conscientious efforts? He enthused, “The excellence of our (architects) designs and its high ecological level implies that we should develop all the construction details and do not differentiate ‘architecture’ from ‘engineering’.

In other words, architects should do all the detailing and designing aspects of the projects, keeping in mind that architects intend to eliminate or reduce to a minimum the devices incorporated in buildings. In this way, we architects are able to reduce the maximum energy consumption of buildings and increase the maximum ecological level.

Design perfection is the key

In other words, by optimizing project activities architects can avoid unwanted projects’ costs to make a much more natural ecological building. Thereby, reducing project cost to meet the clients’ needs and maintain the ecological balance.”

Dr. Garrido further adds, “By taking purely architectural decisions, you can make a building warm by itself, in the winter and cools by itself, in the summer. Similarly, you can achieve all the rooms of a building too have illumination and ventilation naturally, without technological devices. These decisions have to do with the orientation, types and the formal structure of the building, as well as the layout and positioning of the different architectural components in it. That is, purely architectural decisions, which need no technological artifacts, and do not increase the final cost of the building.”

One of its kind

Lionel Messi’s Eco-House was designed and built keeping all the above-mentioned aspects. Dr. Luis de Garrido’s reputation has surpassed all the prestigious awards the firm has won over the years on the global scenario. As the Designer Head, The humble architect describes the intricacies of winning awards one after another by closing the interview saying, “The truth is that I am proud to have received these awards, but they have not changed, in any way, my humble everyday activity (smiles).”

Image Courtesy: The Architect

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