Interview with Francisco Leiva

1) Briefly introduce yourself and tell us a bit more about your practice. What do you work on? What are the issues you aim to address in your profession?


Aranea is a group of architects, artists and engineers that began to gather in 1998.

Little by little the agronomist Marta GarcΓ­a Chico and the architect Francisco Leiva Ivorra have been building the foundations of a collective work that rehearses transformative dynamics of public space.


We have been working for more than 20 years to blur the boundaries between landscape, architecture and art.

Our strong environmental, social and artistic convictions have made Aranea’s work difficult to classify.


Established in Alicante, our projects intend to anchor deeply to the emplacement and landscape, thus continuing the tradition of Mediterranean landscapes. Aranea’s work is characterized by the creation of places that invite people to meet, a continuous commitment to the revitalization of public space.


Working with time

When tackling any project, work with time is a constant. It could not be otherwise as we understand places as a succession of past interventions. These interventions do not stop dialoguing with the primitive place.

At times they are almost invisible interventions, forgotten in the memory of the elderly, other times interventions that seem to erase any vestige of past times.

The critical rereading of any of these interventions is a firm starting point for our projects.


When addressing any intervention on our anthropized landscapes, there is no other option but to build on what is built, to aspire to flourish on what is built, … flourish over the flourished.

2) What are your thoughts over the issues raised by the Amsterdam Cycling Bridge competition? What aspects are central when we talk about designing such a connection over the Ij?


I am not familiar enough with the location and emplacement of this competition to make any assessment.

3) Are there any reference projects you could suggest to inspire our community for this design challenge? Why did you choose this specific example?


The place! … Always the place!

Researching the place is always a good reference. Its geography, its traditions … immerse yourself in its history … The references of the project should be in the city of Amsterdam itself.

4) In your experience, what does it take to win an architecture competition?


Of course this answer should be contextualized. There is a great variety of competitions, the strategies and commitments are also very diverse.

In any case, in this particular contest, I would encourage participants to make proposals that are as bold as they are accurate. The accuracy is in choosing well which is the parameter to be measured this time.


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