Olga Felip is co-founder of Catalonia-based practice Arquitecturia
Olga Felip is studying for a PhD at Barcelona’s School of Architecture and is a director of Architects for Architecture, an organisation promoting architecture as an instrument of progress. This year she received the European Centre of Architecture’s International Architecture Award and was shortlisted in the FAD Awards. She will represent Catalonia at the next Venice Architecture Biennale.
Why did you become an architect?
As a child I spent many hours playing with templates of letters, furniture, huge rolls of tracing paper, Rotring pens, and compasses. That was my world and I never considered being anything else but an architect.
What is your design ethos?
Respect for the material forerunners; social commitment and respect for people; use of materials from the existing structure and materials of earth and fire, loaded with meaning and memory; textures which over time take on a patina of age; an ability to experiment and innovate focused on the relationship between material and people without intermediaries; voluntary restraint in formal approaches and economy of resources.
Which women architects inspire you?
Not an architect, but a designer and businesswoman, Nani Marquina wanted to design rugs and made it a reality by putting into practice values such as observation, innovative endeavour, communication, emotion and knowing how to contemporise traditional craftsmanship. Today Nani Marquina is one of the leading rug manufacturing firms. There is so much to learn from her success and it is not so different from our task as architects.
What is your advice to aspiring female architects?
As my final project tutor told me: ‘be prudent but fearless’.
Why do women leave the profession?
They leave when they get married and have children. But we need to change that, as it is possible to handle both family and a career.
Place of study ETSAB - the Barcelona Higher Technical School of Architecture
Current projects The Law Courts of Balaguer, currently under construction; preliminary studies for Barcelona’s Sant Pau Square; a plan for recovering the four rivers of Girona; an industrialised system of houses for Sifera
Clients The Catalan Government; the Town Halls of Tortosa, Girona, Caldes de Malavella, l’Escala and Ascó; private clients
Emerging Woman Architect of the Year: Olga Felip