Tatiana Bilbao is a Mexican-born architect. She has worked on large scale master plans and private residences alike. In 2004 Bilbao founded her own architectural practice, Tatiana Bilbao SC, which operates from Mexico City.
Bilbao studied at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Architecture and Urbanism, graduating in 1996 and won best thesis of the year in 1998. Following graduation Bilbao worked as an adviser to the Federal District on urban planning and housing developments. In 1999 Bilbao set up a studio called LCM (Laboratorio de la Ciudad de Mexico) with Fernando Romero who had previously worked at OMA. Together they designed predominantly high-end, one-off houses however in 2004 Bilbao set up Tatiana Bilbao SC, as an urban think-tank, taking a selection of clients from LCM with her.
Born in Mexico City in 1972, Tatiana Bilbao has gained international acclaim for her socially conscious approach to architecture. The studio's philosophy is based on social and political awareness, opening up niches for localised cultural and economic development. By placing the ethics of 'the other' in the centre of every project, Bilbao has been widely recognised for her engagement in social housing and collective meeting places serving urgent urban needs. Bilbao has been the recipient of various awards and honours, among others 'Emerging Voice' by the Architecture League of New York in 2009, Kunstpreis Berlin in 2012, the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture Prize in 2014 and the patronage of UNESCO. Her work is part of the collection of the Centre d'Art George Pompidou in Paris, France, the Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Key Projects and Collaborations
An integral connection that Bilbao made in 2003 was with Mexican artist, Gabriel Orozco. Orozco never forgot his initial meeting with Bilbao and five years later approached her to design his house which was to be the keystone project for Bilbao, the Observatory House. Although the concept of Observatory House came largely from Orozco, the artist left an impact on the way Bilbao continued to work in the future, that being the insistence to use only local contractors and craftsmen.
Another key collaborator who Bilbao has worked with is the Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei. Weiwei commissioned Bilbao, along with 15 other architects, to design a project for the Jinhua Architecture Park in China, she designed the Exhibition Pavilion (Jinhua Architecture Park Exhibition Pavilion).
Later when Bilbao was appointed to masterplan the religious pilgrimage, Ruta del Peregrino, the two once again collaborated.
Tatiana Bilbao began her eponymous studio in 2004 with the aim of integrating social values, collaboration and sensitive design approaches to architectural work. Prior to founding her firm, Bilbao was an Advisor in the Ministry of Development and Housing of the Government of the Federal District of Mexico City, during this period she was part of the General Development Directorate of the Advisory Council for Urban Development in the City. The work of the office intersects with research allowing to design for diverse circumstances and in reconstruction or crisis scenarios.
Teaching and Awards
Bilbao holds a recurring teaching position at Yale University School of Architecture and has taught at Harvard University GSD, AA Association in London, Columbia University GSAPP, Rice University, University of Andres Bello in Chile, and Peter Behrens School of Arts at HS Dusseldorf in Germany. Bilbao has been recognized with the Kunstpreis Berlin in 2012, was named in 2010 as an Emerging Voice by the Architecture League of New York, the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture Prize by the LOCUS Foundation in 2014, as well as the Impact Award 2017 Honorees for ArchitzierA + Awards, Tau Sigma Delta Gold Medal of 2020 and the Marcus Prize Award 2019.
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