Ipiña + Nieto Architects are a group of architects and designers lead by Tadea de Ipiña Mariscal and Jorge Nieto Pujol. With offices in both Madrid and Santiago de Chile, their architecture is becoming international in context and opulent in quality.
For us, Ipiña + Nieto Architects are a design team who actually adhere to principles we were taught at university: to design for people, for society and for human interaction.
“We can’t forget the human responsibility of architecture”
A quote taken from their interview with us below
– a 1075 m2 housing project in Santiago de Chile –
Rich of artistic dexterity, their projects always evoke feelings of community and character. The team create collages to paint their intentions and architectural explorations.
Here, Edward Hopper’s painting “Office in a Small City” (1953) is mirrored between a yellow vertical channeled panel: each man looking out into the sun, the light and the city beyond. A connection is drawn between the outside streets to the home.
Almost cinematic, the collage makes us question our anthropological connection with our city streets and how every day observation is important in community health. In many of Hopper’s painting’s the windows act as entries for light and suggest opportunity: where the character gazes upon the vast cityscape in front of them and thinks about their place in society.
La Juliana is a clear example of elegant, problem solving architecture which has been moulded to create platforms for residents to connect with their community.
The site boasts of double orientation: where openings in both north and south facades induce cross ventilation of fresh air. Despite being a narrow site, the architects have designed an ergonomically continuous space, which allows fluidity and flexibility to any resident. Built-in furniture runs along one side of the apartment: from living (north), kitchen, bathroom, bedroom (south). Acting as one complete unit, the cabinet contains all the needed storage and utility space.
As well as this, an inner courtyard/patio space has been designed to increase the amount of light into the apartment but to also encourage communication between the community.
Corner glazing wraps around the street facades and allows the residents to peer down into calle Monjitas; which is an important street that links nodal points of the city such as Lastarria and Plaza de Armas.
Proportionally, the glazing elements coincide with the surrounding vernacular, where the thin black frames act as a contemporary contrast. Its box-like glazing pushes out to the same distance as the adjacent building’s balconies; while it’s simple white, black and yellow form contrasts against the greying structures of Santiago de Chile.
The building brings a modern finish while incorporating subtle features of the surrounding architecture.
The media presented here has been captured by photographer Pablo Casals Aguirre. Frequently working in unison with Ipiña + Nieto, Pablo creates dreamlike photography which resonates their architectural intentions. Here, his framework and composition of the pieces echoes the style of Edward Hopper; from the colours, to the planes, to the texture of the images. Pablo illustrates the angle of the sun through the glass and the similarity between Edward Hopper’s painting, “Office in a Small City” (1953), is uncanny.
In addition to photography, Pablo is also a 2006 UNAB (Campus Creativo Universidad Andres Bello) honour graduate Architect and now teaches there, as well as Universidad Finis Terrae_UFT. It is his background in architecture which enhances his skills of structural understanding. The two go hand in hand; where Pablo recognises mass, form and light in the same respect as a working architect.
His appreciation for the art pours out of the pictures.
Project Team: Tadea de Ipiña Mariscal, Jorge Nieto Pujol.
Collaborators: Ignacio Hornillos
Client: Inversiones Inmobiliarias Araba S.L.
Location: Calle Monjitas 530. Santiago de Chile.
Construction: Moguerza Constructora SPA
Area: 1075 m2
Project Year: 2014 – 2017
Media: Pablo Casals Aguirre
Ipiña + Nieto Architects were kind enough to answer a few questions for us.
1. Do you think a window is about light entering human domain or a cinematic viewpoint for the habitant?
In this project we designed the window, not just as a necessary light and air generator, but also as an important viewpoint to the city. This is a window to observe the activity from the Monjitas Street. This window is also designed to be looked through as you sit on the couch, similar to a bow-window. For that reason the height of that window is ergonomically lower than normal height.
2. What is your intent for using a diagram of Edward Hopper’s painting “office in a small city” (1953)?
We admire Edward Hopper’s work. We find it suggestive and illustrative to the current urban life. This painting’s composition, where the habitant is completely inside and participating of the urban life, was one of our wishes for the future residents at La Juliana. It was so rewarding when Pablo made these beautiful pictures of the façade. It is these pictures that make it absolutely clear that Hopper’s painting defines how the front windows can be used to gaze onto city life.
3. What materials are used for the window and yellow panel construction?
The frame of the window was made of steel and painted in black. And the yellow panel is a corrugated steel lacquered yellow.
4. Why did you choose yellow for the window cills and panelling?
The building is located inside one of the most interesting neighbourhoods of the city. Bellas Artes is becoming a young and cool neighbourhood with many new shops and restaurants. It has been converted into the most touristic and desirable neighbourhood to live in. In contrast with that, all the surrounding buildings have a homogeneous grey appearance. With this plastic colour, we try to approach the new housing to the current urban life.
5. You have designed a common core between residents (núcleo). Do you think this idea of “inner community coexistence” is key for city living in 2017?
We hope so. The intention of that core is to generate this community within the building. We think that closer relations, between people living in the same building, are necessary in big cities such as Santiago. The relationship between people makes us human, and happy with our environment.
6. The ergonomics of the building work beautifully. What is the dimension of the corridor space between the núcleo and cocina/bańo?
1.15meter. We designed it as the minimum necessary space corridor to cook in, therefore allowing us to have a bigger core.
7. Are there doors separating each space (between bathroom/kitchen/living)?
There are three doors contained in the walls. 1-wc/wash basin; 2-wash basin/kitchen; 3wash basin/bedroom. The living is always connected to the kitchen. The continuous space and flexibility was one of the design criteria. The point is, that any future resident will decide the way of life in the house, and it would change during the day to their needs.
8. During construction, what challenges did you face?
Lots of them, as any construction. But the main one was the tiny size of the plot, which made the construction works so difficult because of the lack of storage.
9. What do you love about the work of Pablo Casals Aguirre?
He is a good observer and always finds the correct viewpoint to support the design concept with his pictures. He understands the buildings and its intentions. He is easy to work with.
10. What material combinations do you like to see in architecture?
We don’t have any favourite combinations, it always depends on the project, the place, the history, and many other components that help us to choose the materials combinations.
11. What is your opinion on utopian architecture?
We strongly defend that utopian architecture is the humanistic one, overlaying life above architecture. This utopian architecture works in all layers related to life; social, political, economical, historical, artistic…
12. If you could design a masterplan for a whole city, where would you draw inspiration from?
Our inspiration would be similar to designing architecture: the complexity is not about the scale. A masterplan is a sum of related architectures between them and its common context. In this case, it is about many people’s lives.
13. Who influences your architecture?
Every professional, architect or not, that has awareness of his environment (social, historical, economical….). Who contribute not only ethically but also aesthetically.
14. Which of your projects so far has been the most challenging?
We are very proud of all of them. They have been a good opportunity about learning process, within mistakes and successes.
15. How is Chilean architecture similar or different to Europe?
Chile has another context compared to Europe. The way of living on private and public space has many differences. From the technical point and materials supply, Chile has great restrictions compared with Europe. However about regulations, it is the opposite. We find these premises so lined to our principles, working on technical simplicity and spatial intelligence.
16. What do the new generation of architecture students need to learn?
They have to be able to understand our world from a human and global point of view. To be an architect is not just about the objects, it is also about converting the environment. This is a huge responsibility. Any architect has to know and to be related with other disciplines, not just technical, but also humanistic such politics, history, sociology …
17. I will be starting my masters at Manchester School of Architecture. Jorge, how did you find your experience there? Any tips for me?
Long time ago. I remember it with love. It was a very important time in my background. It is a very good university and city. I really loved it! There are very good teachers and many things to learn from. Try to use every opportunity you have. University time is one of the better times.
18. What are the difficulties and differences from working in Santiago de Chile, compared to Madrid?
We love to work in both of them. It is so inspiring to have this opportunity and to compare each reality. Each place has strengths and weaknesses.
Spain has strong regulations and it is so built. However Chile is a developing country so it is a good place for an architect to stay. On the other hand Chile has less qualify workmanship, so it is quite frustrating in order to achieve good built details.
19. Do you prefer the work of Alejandro Aravena or Pezo Von Ellrichshausen?
We find both of their designing strategies very interesting. We think that both are necessaries and complementaries strategies. Aravena from the social approach, and Pezo from the conceptual one. Both are so inspiring!
20. How do you see the world of architecture progressing in the next 30 years?
Far from our ideals, developing just objects but no human environments. We have to learn how to work with this society otherwise we are going to be just technical puppets solving the investments from unscrupulously people. We can’t forget the human responsibility of architecture.
tadea de ipiña mariscal
2010-Now. – director architect at ipiña+nieto arquitectos
2012-2014. – architect at the office enrique browne y asociados.
jorge nieto pujol
2010-Now. – director architect at ipiña+nieto arquitectos
2004-2010. – architect at the international office chapman taylor
tadea de ipiña mariscal
2017. – founder and director of arKIDeario, architectural workshops for kids
2016. – professor at the Talca School of Architecture / urbanism and landscape
2015/Now. – professor at the Finis Terrae School of Architecture in Santiago / city and territory
jorge nieto pujol
2015/Now. – professor at the Finis Terrae School of Architecture in Santiago / final degree workshop
2013/Now. – professor at the Talca School of Architecture / project workshop
2014. – professor at the Finis Terrae School of Architecture in Santiago / architectural design
2014. – professor at the Finis Terrae School of Architecture in Santiago / urban design
2014. – professor at the Talca School of Architecture / construction workshop