Barcelona-born architect Maria Riera Riambau always planned to move to Ibiza after finishing her architectural studies at the prestigious Ramon Llull University and La Salle School of Architecture. She was so committed to realising her dream of living and working on the island that she spent many of her summers as an intern on various island projects. Her tenacity, preparation and deep love for Ibiza paid off and it wasn’t long before she landed a much-coveted position at Blakstad Architects and Design Consultants.
What or who influenced you to choose this career?
I chose this career because it combines art and design with engineering. A building cannot be realised without one of these parts. I have always liked drawing, painting and art in general. This kind of career allows me to continue to develop my artistic sensibility and apply my technical knowledge.
Had you heard of Blakstad before working here? If so, how?
I have always been fascinated by traditional Ibizan architecture. Several members of my family live in country houses and I have always liked them. I always wondered what a country house would be like with more modern techniques and style. From the second year of my degree, I worked on various architectural-related projects on the island during the summers. When I graduated, I came to Ibiza to work and expand my knowledge. Then I discovered Blakstad. I was lucky that when I was doing my final degree project, I worked in a company that was collaborating on a Blakstad project, and I got to meet some members of the company.
What do you like most about your job?
The work of an architect is very enriching because it turns the ideas that have been in someone’s mind into reality. What I like the most is the satisfaction that comes from finishing a project, since each project involves a lot of dedication and effort. Every day is different, with new challenges and new situations.
What do you like about working at Blakstad?
Each Blakstad design is unique, and I like that, but the best thing about working at Blakstad is the atmosphere among my colleagues. Despite always having a lot of work, there is always time for a smile, and for me, this is the most important thing.
What do you find most challenging?
Each project presents new challenges. I like to develop a project from scratch, implement it on the plot and overcome the difficulties that might be encountered. It’s exciting when you put the puzzle pieces together and find the construction system that best suits the design. You are constantly confronted with decisions to make.
Is there a project that you are especially proud of?
I can’t choose a specific project. I feel proud of everything that involves an effort and that manages to get the best out of me. What does make me feel good is when, after a lot of work, the client’s dreams and expectations are fulfilled and adapted to what the terrain and regulations allow.
What does architecture mean to you?
It is difficult to define what architecture is. It is an art, it is a lifestyle, it is creating quality of life. It is transforming functional spaces into art. The architect’s job is to ensure that a space fulfils the function for which it has been designed, giving maximum comfort to its users and improving people’s lives.
Is there a book, movie, or magazine that has inspired you in your work?
I am not a lover of reading, but where I do like to get inspiration from is the magazine El Croquis. My inspiration always comes from drawing, and I love seeing sketches that come before the final design of architects such as Eduardo Souto de Moura, Le Corbusier or Frank Lloyd Wright, among many others.
Name a favourite building and give a brief explanation of why you like it.
There are so many buildings that I like but Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water has always fascinated me. It’s a project that blends with nature, creating the effect of being part of it. A succession of platforms and volumes that are combined with the surrounding vegetation and the water. It transmits so much peace and tranquillity.
If you could go anywhere in the world to experience architecture and design, where would you go and why?
I would go to many places, since each country has its customs and its way of living, and the buildings adapt to the climatic and social conditions of the place where they are located. Every place in the world has its architecture, and through it, you can understand the lifestyle of the people of each area.
What do you like the most about living and working in Ibiza?
Living near the sea and being surrounded by nature is what I like the most. Ibiza has always been my destination. Here are the most beautiful corners that inspire me in my day to day. My Ibizan roots have brought me here and working in Ibiza is what I have always hoped for. Living here gives me a quality of life that I wouldn’t have anywhere else.