Much has happened since Agustín finished his degree in Architecture: he has been working in Copenhagen, developed projects in China and he is currently living in Tanzania. In this interview, he tells us how he managed to arrive there and how his experience as student at University CEU Cardenal Herrera has helped him achieve his professional goals!
A new destination to study abroad! University CEU Cardenal Herrera. The International University of Spain.
Alumnus Architecture (University CEU Cardenal Herrera)
Agustín, where are you working now?
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Which are your professional aims at work?
Project architect for Design, Detail Design and Construction detailing assistance in project time planning and Design team coordinator for AGA KHAN University, Dar es Salaam.
Which is your last project?
Mikkelsen Arkitekts: Bispebjerg´s Laboratory and Logistic Building, 14.000 m2, Copenhagen, Denmark.
And the most important one?
Bjarke Ingels Group: Part of Rose Rock International Finance Center (categorized as a supertall building, 588 m high), Tianjin, China project group. With focus on designing the core.
Henning Larsen Architects: Design department on two key projects for Riyadh studio in Saudi Arabia:
– 50,364 sqm Al Khorayef mix used development
– 5,819 sqm Mawten office building
Schmidt Hammer Lassen: China Mobile Development Department, 250.000 m2. Huai’an, Jiangsu,China: Luoyang, Henan, China.
Do you think your academic training at University CEU Cardenal Herrera has helped you in your daily work?
Definitely, I consider my experience as a student of Architecture the base of my every-day work.It has been very important for me the discipline learned at the university and of course to maintain an open mind to new opportunities in the way that the process has to be enjoyable to keep you motivated.
Tell us briefly how is an usual day at your work.
In my current Job in Tanzania, we start at 7:30h, when we usually prepare the day, mails, meetings…I like to arrive a bite earlier so I can prepare what everybody in my team has to do before they arrive. My task right now is to design the detail phase of 14 buildings for the University of Aga Khan. The SD (Schematic Design) was made by the English studio HOK and it is our responsibility to go through new functions, materials, landscape until the end of the project. The client meets us every 2 weeks to clarify possible changes and give us the feedback of our weekly deadline.
The engineering in this process also has a great importance and will make our drawings to jump from a schematic phase and become real. It is a bite complicated to deal with both parts because each side tend to push the other.
We stop for lunch at 13:00h ( 30 min. max.) and we are back to work until 16-16:30h. The timetable is quite fixed, people have responsabilities and it is very important to be efficient in working hours so we can have the evening for ourselves.
In general, what is your impression of the studies you did at University CEU Cardenal Herrera?
I think in my case it was important the personal relationship between the subjects and the student.
There are always subjects that you like more than others, professors that you feel attached to others but, in general, comparing to other universities ( I studied Technician Architect in UPV) where the number of students was very high, I liked University CEU Cardenal Herrera because we were like a big team and it is what I have experienced being abroad. It is very important develop your skills to work in group, learn to be flexible and find out what is what you are doing and what you can learn about it.
My first intership with a scholarship in Copenhagen was in ADEPT Architects and my point of view changed 180 degrees. I had to be prepare to communicate properly in another language, use new programs without losing my goals…of course at the beginning nothing is easy.
Would you recommend University CEU Cardenal Herrera to people with academic interests like your own?
Yes, I enjoyed studying in University CEU Cardenal Herrera. I appreciate what the university offered me and definitely helped me to start my professional career. I still have a lot of friends from my years in Moncada and I would like to recommend to the new students to do your best during your stay at the university because it will define you the following years.
What are your future professional objectives?
I would like to develop my career in many ways. After working in different cultures I learned to be more open to different possibilities. Every project is different from the others and there are always new things to discover.
I would like to learn more about leadership and managing different phases of a project and to increase not only the number of projects, but also the quality of them.
How were your professors like? Did they motivate you to excel in your field of expertise, to reach for more than what might be considered the norm?
In my opinion there were good and not so good professors, better or worse subjects. I remember having a really good ones that helped me a lot to keep motivated and develop my learning process. It was essential the subjects “Proyectos I-II-III” and “Urbanism II-III” to me because it was there where I found more similarities with the real life and the way to communicate with other people, in my case the client.
Do you think University CEU Cardenal Herrera did enough to assist you in developing your talents and skills? Could we have done more in this respect? If so, what more could we have done?
If there is something that I would like to have developed more it could be to learn to sell a project properly. I have experienced that in other countries owners spend a lot of time creating basic schemes, diagrams, visualizations that explain the idea of your project and I think during my years in CEU UCH we were more focused in details, structure, construction, more like a engineer way ( what it is good and appreciated ) but we missed parts of the concept development.
Do you miss Spain? Do you plan on returning?
I think Spain has a lot of qualities and possibilities to make everyone to stay there but I like to have the option to come back being abroad. You never know.
Is there anything else you would like to tell?
I would like to thank University CEU Cardenal Herrera for teaching me so many things and also to not teaching me everything and so I can have the possibility to discover them myself.