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New Practices #71: AZPA

The latest in a series of practice profiles looking at architects who have recently decided to go it alone either through choice or circumstances

Alejandro Zaera Polo Architecture (AZPA) London and Barcelona

Founded: June 2011

Main people: Alejandro Zaera Polo (pictured), Pep Wennberg, Robert Berenguer, Charles Valla

Where have you come from? Zaera Polo was a founding partner of Foreign Office Architects (FOA), having worked for OMA in Rotterdam and for Rafael Moneo in Madrid.

What work do you have? We will continue working on the Birmingham New Street Station project started two years ago [under the FOA banner] and we have a project in Santander for the 2014 World Sailing Championship, a cultural centre in Gapyong, South Korea, and a hospital and a cultural centre in Catalonia. We will be looking to competitions to acquire work, as we have always done.
We hope to be able to obtain some work through some former clients too, although most of our clients are institutional rather than commercial, so projects are one-off. 

What are your ambitions? We hope to rebuild a practice similar to FOA, with a mid-size, international profile and a diverse portfolio of projects with an experimental edge and environmental design. We are interested in the connection between practice and theory and hope to retain this connection within AZPA as well as developing the practice on environmental design and computation.

How optimistic are you? This is a good time to start a new practice, even if the practice has already an important legacy. The recession will allow time to reset targets and do some research to be used when the economy picks up. It will be slow for some time, but it will eventually help to build some solid foundations. The recession will continue for a couple of years in Europe, and this will be the time to build up strengths. And perhaps seek work elsewhere.

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