Charles Gubbins interviews the architect Antonio Benjumea Tesouro
Charles Gubbins reviews with the architect Antonio Benjumea some of the most popular singularities and aspects in the design and style of properties and homes in Sotogrande.
1) What inspired you to become an architect? Where did you study?
To begin with I studied architect more out of family tradition than my own conviction. However, in the third year I really started to like the degree, which became a lot more interesting than at the start, and I liked it so much that I am now delighted with my profession and I wouldn´t work in any other. I studied a little far from my native Algeciras, I went to Pamplona, to the University of Navarre.
2) When did you begin to work in Sotogrande? And since when have you worked in your own studio?
Just when I finished my degree, in July 2005, in the middle of the San Fermines festival, my father rang me to say that Antonio Casado needed an architect, so without hesitating, I returned to Sotogrande and began my professional career in the heart of the Predio group. It was a lovely period when we created fabulous villas which was crucial to making me the architect that I am today.
During the crisis I was linked to Javier Rodríguez in Estepona in a period when we focused on urban planning, although we continued to create some villas. Finally, in February 2014 I decided that it was time to fly solo and focus on architecture more than on planning, so I definitively returned to Sotogrande and set up my own studio based on the family tradition.
3) What has the evolution of architecture been like in Sotogrande since the 60’s?
Sotogrande is based on a very American resort concept with wide avenues, golf courses, polo pitches, sports areas and beach clubs, which mixes the traditional Andalusian architecture of many villas and the original farmhouses of the properties with the other rationalist and relaxed architecture, reminiscent of the Arabic tradition of Luis Gutiérrez Soto and Javier Carvajal.
Sotogrande has been enriched by the development of these styles, which have been renewed, as well as the emergence of contemporary architecture which is so sought-after at present. I have a very special relationship with the works of the master Javier Carvajal that we have in Sotogrande and which form part of the History of Architecture.
4) Is your personal style recognizable when you look at a home you designed?
Whether my style is recognizable or not, I think you can decide that better than me, so I have offered some examples of the early years and some of the present where you can see the development.
5) Which projects represent your best or favourite project?
The work that best represents my work and that is my current favourite is the villa SRC 71 in San Roque Club, as it represents the development of the rationalist contemporary architecture with which I began in my early years towards a more contemporary architecture that is reminiscent of traditional Andalusian architecture.
6) Many people who build new homes have the intention of building with a positive impact on the environment. How do you reduce the environmental impact of your work?
Respect for the environment is one of the crucial pillars of our architecture, as you can see on our website we publish the Energy Rating that our projects obtain, as we are very proud that most obtain the letter A, the best current rating. We study the siting of the building in order to obtain the best orientation for good sunlight in the property, while also protecting porches and windows from sunlight in order to reduce the burden of air conditioning in summer and heating in winter. However, we don´t forget to make the most of the views of the plot has and provide protection from the prevailing winds to offer greater comfort.
All of this work not only helps to have a positive impact on the environment, it also helps to reduce costs as the energy consumption of the properties is much lower with these measures. From the initial drawings on, criteria are established in order to obtain the best possible Energy Efficiency Rating certificate, at the request of the developer we also carry out sustainability certifications such as BREEAM and PASSIVHAUS.
7) What are you currently working on? What is your latest project?
We are currently working on several villas in Sotogrande, San Roque Club and Marbella, we are also working on a residential building in La Línea. Our latest project is a new-build villa in Paseo del Parque 123 in Sotogrande.
Before finishing, we want to thank the architect Antonio Benjumea Tesouro for his collaboration in this interesting interview about his career and the highlights of the architectural style of unique and exclusive urbanization such as Sotogrande.
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🌴🌴🌴 Charles Gubbins