Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Perks Of The Job

Being a part of the company who organizes one of the most important architectural congresses in our country had its perks. I got to see front and center (and sometimes backstage as well) many very important architects and learn a lot in the process. I got to be the biggest groupie, to meet and talk and take pictures and get autographs (and emails!) from the greatest architects in the world.

This week Mextrópoli (said congress) happened, and I was supposed to go with A, but that didn't happen, because, well. It's the first time in four years that I miss it, and it got me reminiscing. That's why I'm sharing a roundup of the best experiences I had working it in the past three years. 

My first experience was Desplazamientos. I had recently joined the team as a volunteer. This time I worked as an assistant backstage, which is by far where I had the most fun and believe it is the best place to work. Everything is so hectic having to deal with things and solving them on the spot whether it is issues with audio or getting coffee for one of the speakers. Because I was new in the team, I didn't really have any friends so I made a point to meet as many (famous) people as I could (Yes, that is Zaha Hadid, thank you very much. Also photographed Manuel Clavel, Cameron Sinclair, Sou Fujimoto, Thomas Heatherwick, Benedetta Tagliabue, Sasa Radulovic and Johanna Hurme, and Patrik Schumacher). The only possibly negative part about being backstage, is that you don't really get to listen or see the conferences, which is really a shame as some were really inspiring that year.

My second experience, already as a part of the team, was during Espacio. It was very different than the previous one. This time, my job was selling books during conference breaks in the precinct, which also meant I was able to sneak in to see some of the conferences. I really enjoyed the talks by Andrés Jaque, Alfredo Brillenbourg and Saskia Sassen. I don't think David Chipperfield was in the right condition to speak (he was sick) and Denise Scott Brown's, although very very interesting, was way too long. I did love however the graphic content accompanying the talks, truly inspiring work. This time around I didn't get to meet anyone but Denise. She was a classy lady who stood and signed books as long as there were people in line during her book's launch at Museo Tamayo.

My last collaboration was for Mextrópoli, in which the congress evolved into a Festival, becoming way bigger and more ambitious. There was more work than ever before, but it was compensated with all the more fun. This time I had to sell books again, but not in the theater, so I wasn't right on the action. I got to see the conferences I was most interested in (like Liz Diller's or Pedro Reyes') and I met my long time idol Juhani Pallasmaa and even got to ask him a few questions. I also met Iwan Baan, Winka Dubbeldam, Jordi Hereu and Josep Bohigas. Got to hang with pal Jaime Navarro, Sasa Radulovic and many others on the dance floor, including Mauricio Rocha. the venues for all the events were amazing and the parties were unforgettable. But the best part of all (besides meeting Pallasmaa) was that this time, I was surrounded by friends. Friends from work and new friends from the staff. It was the best experience and I'm glad it was the last I got to be a part of, as it would be really difficult to top.

All in all, working these were some of the most inspiring and greatest learning experiences I've had and I'm truly grateful to have been a part of them. 

Thank you for taking a stroll down memory lane with me.


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