In a real estate development, when architectural design is understood from an aesthetic, ethical and social sense, it means being on the other side. For Alberto J. Villar Watty, general director of Villar Watty Arquitectos, both design and development have to be linked to create what he calls “contextual integration.”
“The design starts right at the moment you are standing in a place where you have to do something, because you have to understand the context, the surrounding area, how and where the sun, the people, the vehicles move, the soil … how people live,” he explains.
Understanding where one stands in order to be able, in relation to that, to propose a solution is the premise of each project developed by the firm, where the great value that design can contribute to real estate development stands out.
“I am convinced that we have to do things for a specific place and culture. Suddenly, there is a need for that sensibility in developments, as to how this can generate a life that attracts people and ends up being good business, because one is not at odds with the other.”
He pointed out that in Mexico, unlike other countries, artisanal construction and the use of traditional materials in modern designs are still successful in maintaining part of the national culture.
“Here, you still have artisans who do much more sensory experimentation, in a very friendly climate, where spaces can be very open.”
Villar Watty Arquitectos was founded eight years ago. This company was born from the vision and passion of two brothers who are now partners. Alberto was captivated by design as a child, when he discovered the magic of transforming a sheet of paper into an image through lines and strokes.
In this professional venture, Alberto has discovered that what he enjoys most is conceptualizing the project, from how it should interact, to the experience it will offer. “It is not only designing a building, but the experience that the people who live there will enjoy.”
And although for him all projects have their own unique stamp, there is always one that holds something special.
“In Atemajac de Brizuela we built a house completely of stone, because in that area there are stone quarries and artisans who know how to work it very well. Under this premise, we designed a country house that is, let’s say, a current expression made with materials from thousands of years ago.”
Brasilia 10 is another significant project for the firm, participating with the design of the building that is currently under construction in the Providencia neighborhood.
“We designed it for Grupo Idex, which is much more logical in terms of how to generate a modulation and how it reacts to the market. It has been a commercial success.”
A graduate of the architecture course at ITESO and a professor of large-scale architecture in Barcelona, Alberto and his brother started the firm building and designing various housing projects. However, over time, they decided to focus only on design and to gradually get involved in the real estate sector.
According to Alberto, among the challenges they have faced while participating in the real estate industry is making people understand that architecture and said industry can speak the same language.
“In the end, projects that see the value that design adds to real estate development end up being more successful. Design is a need that, if well interpreted, can elevate projects in a very strong way. That’s something many real estate developers skimp on.”
Among the plans of Villar Watty Arquitectos is designing for specific clients and for real estate projects that, although more pragmatic, always bear the part of expression.
“One of the advantages about us is that we understand the part about numbers and real estate development. When you talk to some developers, you realize that they have come across architects whose mentality is only artistic, as they don’t have the capacity to understand numbers and costs.”
Throughout his career, he has had the opportunity to work with important Guadalajara architects such as Enrique Toussaint, Sergio Ortiz and Emilio Orendain, among others, who taught him part of what has given him national and international recognition today.
Inspired by the love of his daughters, Alberto is a passionate, creative architect, but above all very optimistic, who sees in Guadalajara, his hometown, a world of possibilities to generate spaces that provide experiences to those who inhabit them.