Stephanie Chaltiel, the architect who connects the earth with new technologies lifestyle
Her architecture seeks to help the most disadvantaged by recovering local building methods and combining them with the use of drones and FRAME technology.
Stephanie Chaltiel is an architect and interior designer, although in recent years she has focused her activity on research and experimenting with new ways of building and living that introduce nature into the city.
In her short, intense and very interesting career, she has worked in Mexico, French Guiana, New York, and now in Barcelona. She has collaborated with Bernard Tschumi, Zaha Hadid and OMA, and is co-founder of the MUDD “digital mud” studio.
Her architecture has a strong social commitment to helping the disadvantaged in cities, rural areas and refugee camps. Her recent projects and her advanced vision of new technologies, such as the use of drones, linked to local construction methods, have been highly praised and have brought her numerous awards around the world.
We met her at the IE University Campus in Segovia, at the HAY Festival, when she was about to talk to Martha Thorne. Dean of the University’s School of Design and Architecture.
By the main façade of the thirteenth-century Convent of Santa Cruz la Real, during a sudden storm, we had a conversation in which we learnt about her vision of contemporary architecture, her deep social commitment and the traditional and technological approach to building that she champions.
Digitalised green architecture
“My studies are based on the architecture of the earth, on green architecture. We take local materials and traditional techniques into account, combining them with the use of drones, new FRAME technologies mixed with what we call earth techniques. Traditional forms of construction have disappeared and we want to recover them without ignoring current advances,” says Stephanie Chaltiel on the development of her career and the concept of her work.
Stephanie Chaltiel: “Beyond concrete, there are better solutions for greener building”
After the research she has carried out, exhibitions in various cities and events such as the Salone del Mobile in Milan, we asked her about her plans for the future. “This is a very important issue because without a policy, without good coordination between designers, experts on materials and town planners… without this cooperation it is very difficult to move forward. It doesn’t matter how good your ideas are or how advanced technology is… Beyond concrete, there are better solutions for greener building. Otherwise we will not advance in the fight against climate change.”
At the moment, all our efforts seem to be geared to dealing with the global pandemic, an opportunity to change points of view that were deeply embedded. “With the effects of this virus, everyone has a new feeling of fragility, but the good thing that is taking place is a decentralisation of capitals and big cities. More and more people are moving to smaller places to live, because where there is more cooperation, more help is given,” she says.
“More and more people are moving to smaller places to live, because where there is more cooperation, more help is given”
A global awareness project
For Chaltiel, the future involves working together to create more green spaces. “Beyond gardens, vertical or otherwise, we have to think about other, more living materials, new structures and simpler forms of energy. There are many designers and technologies that can do this, but once again we are up against the problem of global and political awareness,” she concludes.
“Like a craftsman focusing on getting small things right, only the precise analysis of details will make the cité comprehensible to the urban dweller,” sociologist Richard Sennet comments in his recent work Building and Dwelling.
In her work Stephanie Chaltiel also pays attention to the smallest details of construction, between the technical sophistication of drones and our earthy roots.