Working at Foster and Partners

José García Alamar (izquierda), en Foster and Partners
José García Alamar (izquierda), en Foster and Partners

Name: José García Alamar
Graduation Year: 2010-2011
Company: Foster and Partners (UK)
City: London (UK)

Where are you working now?

I am working at Foster and Partners office in London. I have been working here for the past five years, ever since I finished my university degree at CEU-UCH in June 2010.

Which are your professional aims at work?
I work on a daily basis on large international projects, and I am part of a large team of multidisciplinar professionals that come from all cultures and backgrounds. It takes a lot of time and effort to understand the complexities of this kind of projects, and although I am still on the learning process, my ambition is to lead my own projects.

Which is your last project? And the most important?
Currently I am working in what could be the tallest residential tower in UK. This is part of a project called South Quay Plaza, or the toothpick as it has been nicknamed in the press. SQP is a complex of three residential towers a small pavillion and a large park that improves the Public Realm of the Isle of Dogs in London.

South Quay Plaza
South Quay Plaza

I have had the chance to work in so many great buildings that is hard to choose one as the most important. Let me show you very briefly my preferred ones.

Already opened in the peninsula of Crimea and inaugurated by Vladimir Putin himself, lays the Myria Rixos Resort, where I worked in the site coordination and design of the roof.

Myria Rixos Resort
Myria Rixos Resort

One international competition where F+P won against Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers was a high end residential scheme to renovate the existing building of Whiteleys retail centre in London, UK.

Torres residenciales en Worli
Torres residenciales en Worli

Do you think your academic training at University has helped you in your daily work?
The training that we receive at CEU-UCH, is a great mix of very technical background and artist understanding of the project itself.

Compared with other countries, the Spanish architects have a deeper understanding of structures, construction and building codes. I feel that the skillset and the base for understanding architecture was enough for me to jump with conficence to the professional world.

Haciendo maquetas en la Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera
Haciendo maquetas en la Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera

Tell us briefly how is an usual day at your work.
Most of the days, I work from the office dealing with any uprising issue with the project I am working on.

Coordinating with the consultants, and producing drawings and reports. We have weekly DTM (Design Team Meetings) to work with our clients and consultants on solutions to these problems. Sometimes, we need to visit the site, or visit other projects that may be relevant to the area of the project that we are working on.

José García Alamar, en Foster and Partners
José García Alamar, en Foster and Partners

I love desiging and I feel a lot of passion for the work that we produce here, but sometimes that means that we don’t just work from 9 to 6, in fact late nights and weekends happen more often than what I would like to admit.

In general, what is your impression of the studies you did at University CEU Cardenal Herrera?

At Uni I feel that I learnt a new language, and a set of tools that enabled me to access the art of architecture. The way all these courses were taught, in that close face to face relationship with our tutors, helped me to mature not only as a professional but also as a person.

I personaly enjoyed a lot all of the activities surrounding the university together with the optional courses like sports, workshops. A couple of examples of these would be the rugby team, the universal literature course, the International Workshop of International Architecture IWAU and the Solar Decathlon Europe.

En el Solar Decathlon Europe, con la CEU-UCH
En el Solar Decathlon Europe, con la CEU-UCH

The SDE2010 was a rocket launcher for my career, that projected me out of my mental boundaries and made me realize what I was capable of. Specially when working with a great competitive team. It is amazing the extraordinary results that can be achieved when a balanced team works towards the same goal. Working in an international and very competitive event, with such a global reach was a line in the sand for me. The great performance of the CEU-UCH Team enhanced me to set a higher standard and to pursue bigger ambitions for my career. I realized that if you push hard and work harder you can be on the top league.

Would you recommend University CEU Cardenal Herrera to people with academic interests like your own?

Absolutely yes, I know that the architect that I am today is up to a certain point thanks to the CEU-UCH and the way they taught me to love and value design, the university did not only teach me but also inspired me.

If I could I would love to come back to day one in university and to live my experience at CEU-UCH again. That would be great, wouldn’t it?

What are your future professional objectives?

On my near future I would love to work in a project in Spain, I have never worked on a real project here and would love to be involved in one of the few that are currently happening within our practice.

In the longer run I have always had an appeal for teaching and a call for enterpreneurship, so I would say keeping close to the university world and starting something of my own are my biggest professional objectives.

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?

I want to highlight the ESET itself, the environment that was generated in that building with access to the modelshop, large format printers, computers, software, 3D Printers and laser cutters, sculpture and live drawing, meeting areas and the canteen was great to encourage the best learning experience and enhaced creativity.

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?

I was very lucky to find two tutors or masters more than professors, that exceeded all my expectations and woke a passion on me that has stayed until today. Guillermo Mocholí and José Ángel Hidalgo I can only thank you for inspiring me your passion and your love for architecture.

Do you miss Spain? Do you plan on returning?
Everyday I think about Spain and miss my family friends, the weather and the food. But I don’t see myself as coming back on a near future, as there is a lot of world to explore, but who knows…


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