The Architectural League’s Emerging Voices award and lecture series spotlight individuals and firms with distinct design “voices” that have the potential to influence the discipline of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design. The jury, composed of Sunil Bald, Mario Gooden, Lisa Gray, Paul Lewis, Jing Liu, Thomas Phifer, Bradley Samuels, Billie Tsien, and Ian Volner, selected architects and designers who have significant bodies of realized work that creatively address larger issues in the built environment.
The Architect’s Newspaper featured the Emerging Voices firms in our February issue; stay tuned as we upload those articles to our website over the coming weeks. The firm featured below (Mexico City and Barcelona-based Cadaval & Solà-Morales) will deliver their lecture on March 16, 2017, at The Architecture League in New York City. Click here to learn more!
Eduardo Cadaval and Clara Solà-Morales met at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and launched their practice, Cadaval & Solà-Morales, in New York City shortly after in 2003. Two years later, they moved it to Barcelona and Mexico City. Their first projects were two residences: the House at the Pyrenees—a renovation and expansion of a vernacular house perched on the top of a mountain in Aran Valley, Spain—and TDA House in Oaxaca, Mexico, a beach house that can easily be opened and closed depending on the weather.
With a focus on residential architecture in challenging sites, Cadaval and Solà-Morales strive for an honest, straightforward approach—hitting that intersection of theory, practice, and academy. “We always look for simplicity in our work,” said cofounder and partner Cadaval. “We try to make bold projects that can stand the passage of time and not rely on the latest trends. We enjoy working at different scales and types of projects so we don’t have a set goal to achieve. We just try to do our work in the best way possible and enjoy the process.”
This simple approach has led to striking results: The X House is nestled into the hills of Cabrils, Barcelona, celebrating the expansive, dramatic views of nature and the city. The project also makes use of concrete construction techniques typically used for building bridges and tunnels. To help reduce costs and shorten the construction schedule, the project relied on high-density concrete made using a single-sided formwork rather than a double-sided one.
Outside of Spain, Cadaval and Solà-Morales are building up a body of work in and around Mexico City. “Recently we have been working on buildings that are part of an effort to densify Mexico City,” said Cadaval. These include urban residential units, such as Córdoba-Reurbano—a conversion (renovation and addition) of a formerly abandoned historic home to nine residential units with ground-floor commercial space.
Cadaval and Solà-Morales, both associate professors at the Barcelona School of Architecture, have also completed ephemeral works, including a Reporters without Borders exhibit at Robert Palace in Barcelona.
“We think that it would be very pretentious from our part to say that we stand apart from other offices,” explained Cadaval. “We all try to do our best. The only thing that we do is try to work as hard as possible and try to find solutions that simplify and synthesize the project.”