#alcaláaroundtheworld – Daniel Tejedor / Nepal
0_ Who is Daniel Tejedor Ramos?
Daniel graduated in the School of Architecture of the University of Alcalá de Henares. During his studies participated in different extraactivities such as architecture or photography competitions, bioconstructed housing, urban art or filming. He also studied one year as an Erasmus in Vilnius, Lithuania. During his last two years in University he was working as an architect in EMC3, collaborating in some comercial projects for internacional brands such as Carrefour, Alcampo, Norauto or Vorwerk.
After finishing his degree and having some years of working experience, he decided that it was time to continue his training in other countries. Architecture is a global activity, so he decided to start traveling looking for other ways to understand the profession.
In Thailand he was working with local builders first and in an architecture office (Agora) after, developing one of the refugees camps for burmese people in the country. This experiences improved my training in different bioconstruction techniques such us bamboo, adobe or wood.
Nowadays he’s in Nepal working in the reconstruction of the country after the earthquake. He’s directing some projects for Petit Mon Foundation in which they’re developing a school and a students residence. He also collaborates giving technical support to other NGO’s. They use new antiseismic techniques with local materials, they train local builders and organize building, educative or forestry workshops each week.
1_Nowadays It seems common to consider the possibility of working in other countries. In Spain this is specially important due to the lack of jobs we have. When did you start thinking about the possibility of working abroad? Why did you consider this option?
When I was working in EMC3 engineers I could deeply know the capitalist way of working. After several years of being under a lot of pressure in order to achieve the office economic objectives, I thought that architecture couldn’t be in the background, so I decided to look for projects where architecture would be ahead of economy profitability. Low-cost projects, where the main focus is on architecture and its role for society, introducing myself in “social architecture”, concept which I started developing on my final thesis.
2_How was you ﬁrst experience abroad? Was is difﬁcult to start working in a new and different environment with people from other countries and universities?
I started working in the middle in the jungle in a southern region of Thailand, where stress doesn’t exist. That’s why, being used to work under a lot of pressure, developing some projects at the same time and with very hard deadlines, the contrast was very big.
When you start working in this way, you realize that all the people involved in these projects work with a great illusion, giving the best in the process. That’s what made me give my best everyday too, making certain the sentence “make a hobby out of your job”.
3_And what about the culture and the city?
Logically, the culture I was born in is completely different from what I’m living now. These big differences between cultures give you the chance of questioning yourself every concept related to your daily life. This allows you yo choose and value each one of them.
During this time I could learn very different concepts. I try to apply a lot of them in my daily life. Although I have to say there are a lot I’m never going to share with them.
In the case of Nepal, organize things is almost imposible. This makes the processes of reconstruction a continuous challenge, and even more since India blocks the supply of materials.
4_Refering the main topic of the editorial, future, what do you think is the future for architects? Could be working abroad a good option for graduates?
From my point of view, world is reaching a turning point. Both architectural and economical. Social and political too. We’re lucky, because we can decide what could be these new way forward.
In my case, this way begins leaving aside architecture which appears in magazines and waste of money, returning to more logical and traditional concepts of our profession. Turning architecture into an art for the use and enjoyment of all.It should respond to people real needs and not depend on the economical interests.
So, working abroad is a good option. Not because of job interests but for educational ones. Architects are people who should have a broad perspective of the reality in order to respond every problem.
5_About Alcalá, how would you describe the training you received there? Do you think we have any skill than characterizes us?
I feel very lucky of having studied in Alcalá. It’s like a big family, there’s a great fellowship among all, design is very important in the training, and there are a lot of efforts on analysis and criticism. This made me able to have this critic attitude towards the actual situation of architecture.
6_And what about coming back home…?
This is the question I could have heard the most lately…and one of the few I can’t answer. I live the present, future it’s not still here, and once you start traveling there are always new projects to join. I don’t rule out that some of them could be in Spain again…but I don’t know yet.
Author: Rotating Editor Alcala