Good Architecture Has to Assume Risk

architect Francisco Mangado
interviewed by Vera Grimmer, Maroje Mrduljaš


Interviewed in Pamplona, 11 February 2011


A full-blooded architect with a strong expression, an engaged teacher, a welcoming hedonist and an eternal optimist – these are the best words to describe Francisco Mangado, or Patxi, as his friends call him. Starting from the small town of Navarra beneath the Pyrenees, he made it all the way to Madrid, Harvard University and Lausanne. No matter how individual and expressive his architectural expression, it is always linked with its natural or urban environment and cultural background. The words of great Norwegian Sverre Fehn, ‘a dialogue with the past is possible only if you manifest the present’, seem fitting as a description of Managado’s important works in the historical setting of Spanish towns.


ORIS: Since you’re already sketching on transparent paper, maybe we could start the discussion with your design method.


Mangado: I always work with this kind of paper. In fact, this paper comes from the United States. Three rolls cost 250 US dollars, and the cost for mailing it is 250 euros. It is quite stupid, but I like to work with it. Years ago, it was possible to find this paper here, so it was possible to superpose different drawings, now everybody works with a computer. What I like to do is to superpose – the section, the plans, different drawings. With this material you’re working in two dimensions, but when you superpose, you have this idea of the three dimensions, of the complete work.