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03.20.2014
Emerging Voices> Taller Rocha+Carrillo
Originally established in 1991, this Mexico City-based studio is hoping to do more international work.
Plastic Arts School, Universidad Auttnoma Benito Juurez de Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Luis Gordoa

The Architectural League’s 32nd annual Emerging Voices Award brings a focus to creative practices that will influence the future direction of architecture. Each of the eight firms will deliver a lecture this month in Manhattan. The first lecture takes place tonight, Thursday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m. when Taller |Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo| and Williamson Chong Architects will present their work.

Taller Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo

Mexico City

“Our work is focused in the thoughtful manipulation of proportion, volume, light, and material,” Gabriela Carrillo Caldez, co-founder of Mexico City–based practice Taller |MauricioRocha+GabrielaCarrillo|, recently told AN. “Process is perhaps the word having the most importance to our work. In every case we need to be sensitive to the context, the site, the whole environment. We research for materials and local construction techniques. We also need to understand the client’s needs and requests. We need to understand all the external factors.”

Perhaps an emerging voice here in the United States, this practice has been around for quite some time and earned its fair share of laurels in Mexico. Originally established in 1991 by Mauricio Rocha Iturbide as TALLER DE ARQUITECTURA and renamed TALLER |MauricioRocha+GabrielaCarrillo| in 2011, the firm boasts a robust body of award-winning work. The San Pablo Oztotepec Market in Milpa Alta, Mexico City, for example, received the Gold Medal at the VII Biennial of Mexican Architecture. And The Plastic Arts School at the Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca received the Gold Medal at the XI Biennal of Mexican Architecture. Both projects, like the rest of the studio’s work, evince an understanding of vernacular and craftsmanship.

   
Left to right: Hall for visually impaired Ciudadela, 2012; Cuatro Cuatros Ranch, Bathrooms, 2013 ; Sound Pavillion, Science & Arts Labyrinth, San Luis Potosí, 2009.
Jaime Navarro; Mauricio Rocha; Luis Gordoa
 

Rocha and Carrillo have earned their own accolades from the profession in their country. Both graduated with honors from the Faculty of Architecture of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Rocha has been a fellow and jury member for the National Fund for Culture and the Arts and has, since 2011, served as Academician of the National Academy of Architecture. Carrillo began collaborating with Rocha in 2001 and served as project director from 2006 to 2011, when the two founded the current studio. Carillo has also taught at the Instituto Superior de Arquitectura y Diseño and the Universidad Iberoamericana.

 
Contemporary intervention and rehabilitation of the Temple of San Pablo and Complex, San Pablo, Oaxaca, Mexico (left). Compensatory Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired Care at Mexico City, 2001 (right).
Francisco de Leon; Luis Gordoa
 

In spite of all of this established success, Rocha and Carillo profess an enduring fascination for architecture and a thirst for projects big and small alike. “We love to work in different scales at the same time, we don’t bother if it is a staircase or a big development,” said Carillo. “We also love to work in public and private buildings at the same moment. Running several projects at the same time helps us to develop ideas we’ve been working on a long time; each project is an opportunity to explore what interests us and develop the architectural language we’ve been working on.”

In the future, Rocha and Carillo hope to win commissions outside of Mexico. “We’ve been doing work in different states in Mexico and it has been a powerful experience,” said Carillo. “We really don’t mind the type of project. Every time the projects we receive surprise us with great sites and provocative programs.”

Aaron Seward