Interview with Architects Diaz & Gallardo
On your website you use the term “Architect As Developer.” When did you decide to combine the two practices?
In 2008, the financial crisis began. In Spain, the housing “bubble” burst.
At that time, our clients disappeared and Spain fully entered into the so-called “Great Recession.”
At that time, we decided to try to create a business “without clients.” We found our own trust in our architecture to always be the best solution, so we decided to become developers of our own architecture: Architects as Developers.
Now, we develop and sell and an average of 10-15 apartments per year.
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.
Could you describe the phases of one of your projects step-by-step?
The traditional process is reversed: the customer arrives at the end. After the first instance of purchasing a building or property, we try to develop a story about it. We imagine what kind of person might live there. We decide on all the little quirks and details; a “pret-a-porter” for an imaginary person. This fictional character then becomes the leitmotif for the project. We build and finally put the property on sale.
It’s very, very peculiar that in 90% of the cases the buyer-client is very similar to the person we imagined living there. This is what we call “Unusual Real Estate”; it is a kind of pret-a-porter apartment without the clients who normally start the ball rolling.