Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Foreign Office Architects
Recorded: February 26. 2010
Alejandro Zaera-Polo, co-founder with Farshid Moussavi of the London-based Foreign Office Architects (FOA), presents the firm’s recent work and current projects under design and construction including the Meydan Shopping Center in Istanbul, the Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication in Greenwich, UK, and Carabanchel Social Housing in Madrid. Awards to the firm include the Enric Miralles Prize for Architecture; the Kanagawa Prize for Architecture; three RIBA Worldwide Awards; the Special Award in Topography at the 9th Venice Architecture Biennale; the Charles Jencks Award for Architecture; an RIBA European Award for Carabanchel Social Housing in Madrid; and a 2009 RIBA Award for the John Lewis Department Store and Cineplex. FOA also represented Britain at the 8th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2002. The work of the firm has been widely published and exhibited.
In parallel to his professional activities, Zaera-Polo has developed a substantial role within academia. He was the Dean of the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam and currently occupies the Berlage Chair at the Technical University of Delft. He is also a Visiting Professor at Princeton University and the first recipient of the Norman R. Foster Visiting Professorship at Yale. He has published extensively as a theorist in El Croquis, Quaderns, A+U, Arch+, Volume, Log and many other international magazines and is a member of the London School of Economics Urban Age project. The practice’s multi-award winning Yokohama International Cruise Terminal in Japan — a dramatically formed port integrated with urban facilities noted for its fascination with the interplay of architecture, landscape and nature and — is credited by the Design Museum as “a design sensation, alive with bustling urbanity and seaside tranquillity.” Zaera-Polo graduated from the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid and Harvard GSD with Distinction and worked at OMA in Rotterdam prior to establishing FOA in 1993.
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