We had the good fortune of connecting with Ivett Flores and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ivett, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
A couple of years ago, I was convinced that the secret to success was finding the balance between personal life and work. I tried to follow that philosophy while still working for a someone else’s architecture firm, where while I was giving my best, I was very clear about the limits in order to enjoy the rest of my life and spend time on activities that fill my creative spirit, such as doing a 2nd master’s degree, training to run marathons, and teaching architecture at university. However, from the moment I set out to establish my own architecture studio, the much coveted concept of balance between personal life and work, was beginning to fade. I had to spend twice the time creating the Studio and at the same time developing the projects we were beginning to achieve. Over time, I’ve adopted a new philosophy regarding balance or probably (im)balance, which is that simply when you’re passionate about your profession, the projects you’re developing and the personal activities that fuel creativity, and all those variables converge around your own projects, just the idea of balance, disappears. You think, you speak, you draw, and you live and dream your own ideas that gradually begin to materialize. In retrospect, I can say that all my creative and receptive energy accompanies me 24/7. Rest is very important and I assume it as such, however, I adapt it according to the times of the projects.
What should our readers know about your business?
The architecture office I am forming has as its fundamental axis the sustainability and energy efficiency as triggers of the formal aspect. I firmly believe that, through the combination of academic research and professional practice, a posture and a scope of thoughts that directs the design proposals we develop is being shaped. Master’s studies in the field of energy and architecture have greatly influenced the approach I want to print in our proposals. It has not been easy to position Ensamble Arquitectura as a studio with this philosophy and scopes, since, in Mexico, it does not yet have the strength that in other countries and it is complex for clients to integrate energy analysis as part of the preliminary studies, however, we are looking for new lines of dissemination of this topic, through workshops and classes in universities and within other firms themselves. We definitely have a long way to go to consolidate service with our personal approach. I think the important thing is the analysis of how the market and demand works, not only in Mexico, but also in Latin America, with a long-term vision. A key aspect to achieve this is collaborations among other architects for common purposes, with the aim of generating proposals with multidisciplinary approaches. In conclusion, I would just like to emphasize that the philosophy of Assembly Architecture is based on energy research and architecture as a fundamental variable of form in design.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Mexico City has many attractions and places to visit, some of the sites I could definitely recommend are: The Palace of Fine Arts is considered one of the most important cultural venues not only of the city, but in Mexico. Walking on the streets of the historic center is an experience, because you can come across many attractions, churches, restaurants, canteens, and much more; on the esplanade, you can observe the majestic Cathedral. Coyoacan is one of the most picturesque points of the metropolis where there are emblematic buildings and gardens. There are the Centennial Gardens, the Parish of St. John the Baptist, the Frida Kahlo Museum, the Coyoacán Market, as well as its cafes, restaurants with traditional Mexican food. The trajineras of Xochimilco cannot miss, navigating the canals of this beautiful place is extremely rewarding. Garibaldi, one of the best atmosphere squares of the CDMX, where you can enjoy the mariachis. The Chapultepec Forest, where you can do various things outdoors such as walking on the lake, visiting the castle, touring the zoo, among other activities. And the Archaeological Zones: Pyramids and ancient buildings in the middle of the city, such as Tlatelolco, El Templo Mayor, Cuicuilco and Mixcoac.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Throughout my life there have been people and books that have marked me, both in my personal and professional life (whose limits have faded to gradually merge). While working at KMD, an important architecture firm, I admired an architect named Maca Zeballos, who was Manager and later director of the firm. She stood out for the leadership she led not only to her team, but also to the different consultants she worked with. It is also worth mentioning that she was one of the few women that I considered talented (within that architects firm), for combining the creativity and mastery of technical knowledge demanded by architecture. Without pretensions, but always confident and determined, she did not hesitate for a second to share all her knowledge and experience with the new generations. From her, I learned that, in the field of architecture, being a woman is no impediment to scaling in architecture, however, we must show twice as much creativity and intelligence for our message to be heard and generate change. His influence on me lasts to this day and I will thank her forever. When I started an independent activity in architecture, the biography of a Catalan architect shocked me to such an extent that I consider her an inspiration, she is Carmé Pinos, who in her initial stage worked next to Miralles, in her independent stage, she demonstrated a great creative capacity and clarity of thought, tools with which she develops projects of high architectural quality. With regard to the book, it would be unfair to give credit to only one, however, I am currently reading Eric Reinholdt’s “Architect Entrepreneur”, which is giving me a lot of clarity in the field of managing an architecture firm, a fundamental subject and a little oblivious to my training, however, part of evolution is also to see architecture as a business.
Images 1, 2, 3 , Renders (made by Ivett Flores) Pictures 4, 5, Photographer Bernardo Ramírez Pictures 6, 7, 8, Photographer Gabriel Rahael