February 11, 2019


Alejandro Zaera-Polo takes his seat on the Jury at the 12th PORCELANOSA Group Awards

The prestigious Spanish architect runs his own architectural studio called AZPML in London, as well as working as a teacher at the Princeton University School of Architecture.

A supporter of  functional architecture and the redevelopment of cities, we highlight the International Passenger Terminal in Yokohama and the new station in Birmingham as just some of his major projects.

The 12th PORCELANOSA Group Architecture and Interior Design Awards welcomes a new jury member: Alejandro Zaera-Polo.

After studying at the School of Architecture in Madrid, Alejandro Zaera (Madrid, 1963) moved to Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA) to study a Master’s in Architecture at The Graduate School of Design. An academic experience that would allow him to improve his architectural vision and to get to know the new aesthetic trends that had already begun to gather strength.

With the current situation in one hand and the future in the other, from very early on he began to collaborate with the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), where he began having a certain professional autonomy, as well as refining his architectural instinct. A background that would be very useful in 1992, when he founded his own architecture studio: Foreign Office Architects (FOA), with the British architect, Farshid Moussavi.

Functional architecture for a new urban order

Under these acronyms, he has developed several projects that have brought him international recognition. This is the case of the gigantic International Passenger Terminal in Yokohama, Japan, where new architectural shapes for maritime transport sites can be seen among the expanded 48,000m2. In this port terminal, some of the subjects championed by Zaera can be seen: Building responsibility, balance and dialogue with the natural and urban atmosphere.

Built between 2000 and 2002, this wavy shaped dock leads directly into the sea, eliminating the separation lines which are so characteristic in these types of constructions. A methodology that led him to winning a contest about ideas, where some 660 participants from all over the world took part.

A supporter of functional architecture, the building as an object and of the urban changes (he understood these as a source of energy to build new structures), Zaera continued refining his architectural approach through the AZPML studio, his new architectural project. Created in 2011 with his partner, Maider LLaguno, the team managed to expand its headquarters in London, New York, Lugano and Madrid. During that stage, the architect was working on the new station in Birmingham, an award winner in 2008; the Palace of Cinema in Locarno (Switzerland); the Museum of Vienna or the Cerezales Antonio and Cinia Foundation in León, Spain.

Between models and classrooms

Committed to education and research in the classroom, the role of Zaera as a teacher goes back to the School of Architecture in Madrid. From there, he moved to the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. After there, he would later go on to transmit all his knowledge to the students at the Columbia, Princeton, Yale and California Colleges. His academic curriculum also includes his role as the Dean at the Berlage Institute in Amsterdam. Models for a solid and free education.

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