Interview with Architect-developers, Alex Diaz and Esther Gallardo, Founders of Diaz & Gallardo, Barcelona
When did you two team up as business partners and what are your respective professional backgrounds?
We became business partners – and a couple – about 15 years ago. Our first office was in a coworking space in the center of Barcelona; an 8 sqm office! A tiny office. There, we really learned how to design and live in small spaces, haha!
Both born in Barcelona, we studied and graduated with a degree in Surveying, Technical Architecture and Building Engineering. Thereafter, we opened our first office, DF-Studio, which was a multidisciplinary studio for art, architecture and design, designing bars and restaurants, urban sculpture, and interior design.
Later, Alex got a degree in Architecture at the International University of Catalonia (UIC) and was responsible for Sustainable Construction at the UPC over four years. Similarly, Esther graduated with a Master’s in Project Management from the UPC and the Association of Technical Architects and Building Engineers in Barcelona.
What made you decide to found Díaz&Gallardo Unusual Real Estate? Was there a particular moment that sealed the decision for you?
The exact moment was in 2009. First of all, there was this absence of Spanish customers; second came the search for freedom of design. Many times, customers clouded and modified our initial ideas for the project. We did not like this. Therefore, for certain projects we decided to not accept more work from external clients. We became our customers.
Do you have a better knowledge of real estate development than other architects?
Esther, as Master Project Manager, has great knowledge of the real estate world and Alex designed a real estate agency in the final project for his Building Engineer degree. We are a rare species. In general, in Spain, architects do not have knowledge of real estate development. It is something new.