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Cineteatro San Francisco (Vejer de la Frontera, Cádiz, Spain)/San Francisco Theatre Foto/Photo © Jorge Yeregui “The most enjoyable projects are those that pose a challenge” Marta Pelegrin, founder of MEDIOMUNDO arquitectos and finalist of the 2015 Women in Architecture Awards in the category of ‘emerging architect of the year’, reveals to us her particular vision of space and design, not only as a woman but also as a citizen of First we want to congratulate you on your recognition as a finalist in the 2015 Women in Architecture Awards. How does it feel to have been one of the only two Spanish women selected along with Carme Pinos? It is a joy. They selected architects with major international significance; Carmen has an established career, and we both have been working internationally for a few years. Being selected shows how our work has been appreciated in these different forums. “How do you assess the role of women in the architecture of the XXI century? Do you think you have the same level of professional recognition as men? Female architects have played a key role in the architecture of the twentieth century, working with male companions and integrating with different teams. This was surely achieved with very different opportunities than male architects, but many women have managed to add to the architectural values that are still valid today. A pragmatic sense and also a sense of experimental design, an ingenious use of materials and resources that offers the pre-existing, a care for the environment 36 spaincontract. Coffee Break Marta Pelegrín (environment) and for agents (promoters, builders, users) are values for the century XXII. These values are recognized today and are ones that will be recognized, shared and promoted by society and the economy. Let’s talk about your work in MEDIOMUNDO arquitectos. Is the construction of habitable public buildings the ‘leitmotif’ of your studio? In MEDIOMUNDO, we architects say that we try to set aside in each work as much public space as possible, be it a home or college. It may sound like a contradiction but it is public spaces which most arouse the sense of ownership especially when smaller groups have used it frequently in order to undertake a common activity. If a public space is not ‘appropriated’ it is underused and degraded. In our housing projects, public spaces include those like a corner where one can find peace and privacy and even those spaces which allow the celebration of a party (e.g. housing in Conil de la Frontera, Cadiz); in public buildings, we always offer different ways of access, such as the Square to the Theatre de Vejer (Cádiz) which is also a meeting place, a lobby on two levels, the staircase also offers a place to have a break, people go to the theater to see and to be seen. Our public spaces offer a privileged relationship with the exterior. For example, a stroll on the roof garden at the Faculty of Health Sciences of Granada, seeing the Sierra Nevada and the Alhambra; using the cover of the Social Center for outdoor concerts or poetry readings. In recent years we have witnessed a boom in the Contract business, where design and architecture have sneaked into cultural spaces, hospitals and offices. Do you think there is now a greater awareness that these spaces must be designed for people, to be more human? The complexity of the construction undermines the attention that each of the aspects of design warrants; it tends to assume that all situations are similar even if they are quite disparate, and thus designs and the agents involved in the architectural project are disregarded. Complex structures are not very specific, too often generic. The human characteristic is space, and it is also up to the user to appreciate its qualities (value and spatiality, light, good guidance, durable materials,


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