Luis Vidal: “Overpopulation creates depopulation” lifestyle
From his own studio, Luis Vidal + Architects, this Spanish architect has become a world leader through his large and extensive projects, among which the Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suarez airport Terminal 4 and Heathrow airport Terminal 2 stand out.
While some were playing cowboys and Indians or building new cities with Lego blocks, Luis Vidal (Barcelona 1969) would go sailing and set his pace according to the wind, one of his childhood mentors. To it he owes his intuition and steady hand. Confident and decisive, as one needs to be when sailing on the high seas.
From his father, mentor, guide and tutor, he learned the building technique and precision he professes today. It was with him that Vidal drew his first sketches, and from those strokes of charcoal, which many keep as mementos, he shaped his style. These pages captured his vision and taste for dynamic, analytic and voluptuous shapes. They represented the first architectural treatise by Luis Vidal + Architects, his architecture studio and the personal signature that all his projects carry. “The day I decided to open my own studio was a turning point. It was a very important day”, explains the architect himself to Porcelanosa Life Magazine.
A broad, universal vision
From there, he exported his name and style to the world’s key airports. These are spaces in which he has been specialised since the age of 25, when he decided to knock on the door of the architect Richard Rogers (Pritzker Architecture Prize 2007) to participate in the bid for Terminal T4 of Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez airport. With this, his professional career took off. He was 28 years old.
Airport construction has been one of his specialities. This is partly the area he chose at the University of Greenwich in London, where he graduated with distinction in 1994.
And so, the youngest student ever to pass through those classrooms opted for expansive, functional and accessible buildings, fulfilling the role that, according to him, the architect should undertake: problem solving.
This is a core idea he has followed since his early years and one that defines a large part of his work, among which we must highlight Zaragoza airport (2008); London Heathrow Terminal 2 (2014) (recognised as the best terminal in the world); Santiago de Chile Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (2015); the Botín Centre in Santander (joint work with Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano); the Álvaro Cunqueiro Hospital in Vigo (2015); and the Infanta Leonor Hospital in Madrid. He is currently working on an airport in Denver (Colorado, USA).
“I believe that the achievements in artificial intelligence, medicine and robotics will help us understand a planet where overpopulation creates depopulation”
“The future of the profession is intimately linked to new allies appearing on the scene. Advances in education and healthcare are going to make the world much more universal and I believe that achievements in artificial intelligence, medicine and robotics will help us understand a planet where overpopulation creates depopulation. Where cities learn to compete, coexist, connect and share“, says Vidal.
For him, who has always conceived architecture as a way of life and a way of relating to the world, this discipline cannot be understood without innovation. Through this transformative principle, which encourages research, new responses and constructive models, it is possible to “create something new. To contribute value and discover something beautiful. To innovate is to create magic”, he says.
“Big Data will provide us with the tools necessary to make much more qualified decisions”
This goal is also shared by the 150 people who make up his team. With them, he conceives, tests and executes each of his projects, following the disciplinary and voluptuous style characteristic of the school he leads. Currently, the Luis Vida + Architects studio has offices in Madrid, Houston (USA), London and Santiago de Chile.
An expansion in which technology has played an important role, which has allowed the community created around his architecture to broaden and move towards new formulas or working methodologies. “Big Data will provide us with the tools necessary to make much more qualified decisions. We will be able to choose materials better, to interact better with the climate and make the buildings much smarter”, the architect concludes.
Photography: Javier Salas