AZAB
Dialectical tension
Bilbao, ES

AZAB Architects was established in 2018 by Cristina Acha, Miguel Zaballa, Ane Arce and Iñigo Berasategui. As architects from different generations, they interlace their shared interests on cultural and social concerns. Common to their diverse projects is the combination of efficiency and imagination to emerge new synergies and relations that remain hidden in each specific context.

 

Working towards a thrilling stage

Towards the end of 2017 we took part in an open ideas competition organised by the town council of Badajoz. The task was a small public dwelling in a historic borough. It was an imposed condition to include in the team at least one ‘senior’ architect with certain experience and a ‘junior’ architect under 35. We had known each other from different meetings around the local Official Chamber of Architects and admired each other’s work. We shared the scientific secretariat of the BIA Bilbao Urban Regeneration Forum from the first edition conducted by Cristina and Miguel to the third edition by Iñigo and Ane. We had previously talked about the possibility of collaboration to participate in public competitions and it seemed the occasion had appeared. The jury awarded our proposal and we ended up developing a project for 5 public dwellings. After working together in this project, other commissions came along. Shortly after, we decided to partner up.  Now we work as a team of four associates. Right now we find ourselves in a solid, thrilling stage under the auspices of AZAB.

 

Finding the right competitions

One of our main sources of commissions are ideas competitions. We believe they continue to be the most perfect and democratic yet imperfect way of obtaining transcendent commissions. For this reason, we believe that its role as a useful tool in the construction and improvement of our environments is never enough. It’s necessary to demand high-level juries as well as fair and generous participation conditions.

 

A critical architecture

We are not too interested in heroics. We are passionate about the architecture that accompanies our routines, journeys, readings and day-to-day interests. Our days oscillate between conversations, meetings, on site supervisions and development work, while constantly creating spaces for discussion and criticism as a central role in our work.

 

Fostering dialectical tension

Our workspace is in an old building in the centre of Bilbao where walls and rooms accumulate remains of materials, images, references and models that are finished or in process, which are in turn tools of work and memory that settle in our new projects. We do not have a predetermined methodology but we do have a series of mechanisms that help us direct the projects towards our interests. We can summarise that our projects are results of intense discussion and it is this dialectical tension that we believe charges them with strength and content.

 

Diverse fields of interest

Well, we emerged and walked a long time avoiding the crisis. Or we rather say we keep navigating through successive crises. Currently we have interesting projects both in writing and in construction. This has always granted us a certain balance in our practice and an opportunity to work on consolidating our ideas, research and theoretical aesthetic concepts. At the end of the day we do not have a special predilection towards a certain topic. All of them are included in broader research processes that allow us to investigate and draw parallel paths about their application and development, gradually building our catalogue of action. Right now, we are working on new modes of domesticity, recovery of degraded industrial landscapes, or new curatorial projects, to state some examples.

 

Research as foundation

We work to consolidate our studio as a local benchmark. Our short-term objectives are to finish the projects we have under construction, which can bring a scale jump for us. In the medium term we could summarise that we are working to have more opportunities for the exercise of research, both applied and theoretical, which for us is a fundamental part of architectural practice.



AZAB Portrait Inigo Berasategui

1 Inigo Berasategui

2 Inigo Berasategui

AZAB MIXTAPE 02 Inigo Berasategui

AZAB IGORRE Inigo Berasategui

07 Inigo Berasategui

Photography Courtesy of AZAB






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