At the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, The Architect’s Studio – Tatiana Bilbao Estudio is the third installment in a series of monographic architecture exhibitions that explore globalization, sustainability, and social challenges. With drawings, collages, models, and materials, the exhibition reveals the philosophies and processes of the Mexico City-based architecture team.
Tatiana Bilbao was born in Mexico City and studied architecture at Universidad Iberoamericana before working in federal departments of housing and urban development in Mexico City. She founded her eponymous studio in 2004, bringing together a multidisciplinary staff of architects, academics, and model makers whose projects are human-focused and site-sensitive rather than defined by a trademark architectural style.
The studio’s projects have included private residences and social housing projects, museums and educational buildings, public parks and urban master plans, and a 117-kilometer pilgrimage route. Collaborations as wide-ranging as the group’s portfolio support their commitment to multidisciplinary perspectives. For the Jardín Botánico in Culiacán, Mexico, the studio engaged 35 artists for site-specific works and small pavilions, and the Taller de Operaciones Ambientales (TOA) for environmental and landscape projects.
While digital tools are standard in architecture practices, Tatiana Bilbao Estudio designs and presents projects by hand, with drawings, collages, and material models. Bilbao describes that these techniques represent personal commitment, the physical world, and the human ability to communicate without machinery. Materials from previous and current projects comprise the exhibition at Louisiana.
The exhibition follows three themes of LANDSCAPES, CURIOSITIES, and PLACES, giving insight into Bilbao’s process through the materials that precede final architectural works. In LANDSCAPES, Bilbao has selected works from Louisiana’s collection and from the Museo Nacional de Arte in Mexico City to explicate what she calls the “registration” of the site, considering the environmental conditions and cultures of the places where she works.
Sustainability is increasingly a mandate in architecture, but the word is not one that the studio uses to label its work. Bilbao describes that “sustainability” may qualify a type of architecture, but that for her, it should be embedded in every project. She has said, “When you come from a country where many people have very few economic resources, you are used to not wasting them.” Bilbao also says that everyone has a right to beauty, and the studio uses proceeds from some of its high-end commissions to fund projects such as public housing.
The Architect’s Studio – Tatiana Bilbao Estudio is on view at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art through April 5, 2020.