FRPO
Working internationally
Madrid, ES

As a continuation of a collaboration that began in 2005, Fernando Rodriguez and Pablo Oriol established FRPO in 2008 as a natural evolution of their previous professional experiences. From their open plan office space in Madrid, FRPO has been internationally-recognised and is currently undertaking projects in Mexico and the US.

Contemplating starting a practice from abroad

We met in the first days of our studies at the ETSAM (Madrid), in 1995. We studied together with some other close friends from then until we left for Chicago (Pablo) and Berlin (Fernando). Back in Spain, while working for other offices, we started running our small practice, and eventually founded FRPO.

 

Working towards greater flexibility

Hard work is not exclusively a hero’s thing; everybody has a private and family life. Our workdays are pretty much divided, as happens to many of us, between the university, the office and the construction site visits. Since we both spend a lot of time outside of the office, meetings -whether online or on site- are crucial to have everyone involved in what is happening and to smoothen the office’s performance. This allows us to be flexible enough to stay at home when needed and to run everything from abroad when travelling (which happens very often).

 

A fully horizontal workspace

The office is an open-plan single space with a big table in the middle where everything happens. Everyone is responsible for a series of projects, forming sometimes specific teams when required. We discuss projects personally on a daily basis and all meet together once a week. Further hierarchies do not exist.

 

Achieving the initial goals

We spent our first years practising in the middle of a big crisis. In 2008, we won our first significant competition (Madrid City of Justice), but suddenly, everything shut down. Those were very tough years. We used that time to start working abroad, which in turn allowed us to have today three projects being built in Mexico, and to consolidate, through minor works and competitions, a certain way of understanding our practice. Simultaneously, we strengthened our commitment to the University, both in Madrid ETSAM and abroad, as part of the same practice approach. It is quite satisfying that we have 5 projects that have been built in Mexico and the USA, 5 buildings in process in Spain and 3 projects waiting to start construction works.

 

Working towards consolidation of projects abroad

Our current next steps are mainly to carry on with our work in progress and make them significant built works within our practice’s approach. We also have a book publication that has been on hold for a few years, which we have been delaying in order to include these new works. We are also in a process to consolidate our work in Mexico and the USA, as part of a long-term strategy. So, quite big things are to come!

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06Photography courtesy FRPO






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