Portrait of…An architect

As a child Mariano loved the structure and design of the big old town houses in Buenos Aires. The thickness of the walls, the creak of cedar boards and the musty smell of European oak and dust. Even the staircases, often lined in carved wood paneling had a drama and deeply nostalgic feel to them. This fascination turned into an enduring interest and led him naturally towards a career in architecture, where he has continued to have an affinity for the natural materials around him.

After graduating from university, where he met Rocio Lereah, Mariano did a spell at a design company producing layouts and interiors for small high street banks before moving to DP&A Real Estate Consulting. This was a much bigger operation that designed for large commercial and residential buildings between 8,000m2 and 60,000m2. During those years Mariano developed a great wealth of knowledge as a project manager and problem solver working tightly with the site teams and other designers. Then finally in 2016 he knew it was time for a change.

I have always been drawn to England. I love the culture, the cozy pubs on dark winter evenings and icy paths in the morning, which we rarely see in Argentina. Of course the great variety of buildings is mind blowing for an architect!’

It is the buzz that comes with any new project that Mariano loves the most, as well as the fact that as an architect you are not just working behind a desk but on the various sites and face to face with clients.

He claims there is no aspect of the job that he doesn’t like although he does admit there have been a few challenges. Finding new ways to express architectural ideas is a particularly difficult task since the nuance and subtleties of a different language can dramatically change a design concept and how it is presented to a client. He has also found that London life has brought an unexpected vitality and change to his design. Unlike the limited styles and designs back home, London’s residential skyline is literally brimming with inspiration and choice.

While Goodbody & Co. projects are quite different to those at DP&A in Argentina, Mariano has found that the most interesting contrasts actually lie in the materials and techniques employed. The current UK trend of exposing plumbing and cables for example is very strange to him. In Buenos Aires this would be anathema to most clients who expect all services and pipework to be concealed behind pristine walls.

Similarly, while most building sites in the UK primarily use ‘dry’ materials including steel and plasterboard, Argentine builders prefer to use ‘wet’ materials, such as bricks and sand. This is often a question of cost, dry materials are much more expensive for Argentina to import but also customers don’t ‘trust’ walls and ceilings that seem flimsy or have a pre-fabricated feel. They want to believe that they are building something that will last for many lifetimes.

Funnily enough, this approach to building is much more in line with the philosophy and construction style of the Victorians and may now mean that he is in the perfect place to utilise innovative South American techniques in West London. His next goal is to truly understand the English way of life, starting with Christmas!