INTERVIEW: Iñaki Ábalos

Leire Asensio Villoria interviewed Iñaki Ábalos in May 2016. The interview was conducted in Spanish, translated into English, and edited for clarity.

In 2006, Iñaki Ábalos founded Ábalos+Sentkiewicz, with Renata Sentkiewicz. Before that, he cofounded Madrid-based Abalos & Herreros with Juan Herreros (became individual rms in 2008). Ábalos’s rms have both been widely published, had many individual exhibitions, and awarded in many international competitions. He has been a professor in residence and chair of the Department of Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design since 2013.


Here, we present some relevant quotes from the interview. The full transcript and images will be included in the project’s publication to be completed in 2017.


About the role of architects in the design of industrial facilities:

“I do not want to overlook the responsibility architects surely have, but I do not believe that there is a problem with either the architect and the real estate market. Rather, there came a moment in which building solutions were semi-technical, semi-industrialized, especially in the Anglo-Saxon and American models, in which container construction was absolutely systematized, and for a client it was not necessary to engage an architect.”


About the architectural strategies for the Northeast Coastal Park in Barcelona, Spain:

“Northeast Coastal Park Waste and Recycling Plant was the product of a very fast competition for the ugliest site in Barcelona. They called it “Chernobyl.” It was an abandoned area where prostitutes and drug addicts gathered. It seemed to us that the site held interest precisely because it offered an important urban perspective of Barcelona, an open letter to the city… So our proposal was that we understand that it is not a small park, but it is the whole assembly of parts that are still going to be here with new parts of public space. Then we assembled a recycling plant that extended the park with an artificial beach that nobody had foreseen.”