Collaboration as a recipe for success: office portrait of CCA

The architects Bernardo Quinzaños Oria and Ignacio Urquiza Seoane were only 35 and 36 years old when they published a monograph - only eleven years after founding their architectural office CCA in Mexico City. Between the founding of the office in 2008 and the publication of the book, they developed around 250 architectural projects. This large number, says Quinzaños in an interview, is due to the chosen working method, which is also reflected in the name of the architectural office; the young architects called their office the "Centro de Colaboración Arquitectónica", i.e. the center of architectural collaboration. Collaboration, part of the profession of the architect, is deeply rooted in Mexican culture. What makes it special is that CCA has chosen it as its approach.

1. Bernardo Quinzaños Oria 2. Club de Niños y Niñas 3. EBC Aguascalientes 4. Casa Moulat 5. Rancho MNG 6. Casa Moreno Club © CCA

One of the first projects of Quinzaños and Urquiza, the luxury villas «Casa Macaria», had a decisive influence on the later cooperation: For the direct commission on the Pacific coast, they developed a adequate project for this location together with local craftsmen: environment, climate, local building techniques and materials as well as regional craftsmanship were incorporated into the design. The result is a villa that is as openly designed as possible, protected by large palm roofs that are characteristic of the region. The well thought-out positioning of the individual volumes results in a natural cross-ventilation, which is welcome in this climate, and the surrounding area practically flows through the buildings. The knowledge of the local population was decisive for this project, which the young architects soon realized. Through the exchange with the local people, they achieved their goal: an architecture that seems deeply rooted in a contemporary way.

Quinzaños talks a lot about strategy and about the fact that the work of an architect in Mexico goes far beyond designing and drawing. Ultimately, he says, it is about finding ways to actually realize a high-quality project. In Mexico, architects are constantly fearing the withdrawal from the architectural project of their clients. CCA counters this risk by first building trust with the clients and then developing efficient projects, especially in terms of cost.

Efficiency characterizes the buildings of CCA. The architects often use raw materials. Also the precise and systematic arrangement in the floor plan, the modularity of the elements and the frequently found rhythm help to achieve greater efficiency. The methodical reaction to the most diverse circumstances and possibilities as well as the consciously sought-after collaboration with craftsmen, artists, architects, engineers and the customer became CCA's recipe for success.

The monograph, called "Essays", marks the conclusion of the collaboration between Urquiza and Quinzaños. After ten years of collaboration, Ignacio Urquiza decided to open his own small architectural office. CCA is still run by Bernardo Quinzaños Oria.


Laure Nashed («Learning from Mexico») interviewed Bernardo Quinzaños Oria at the CCA office. In the interview Quinzaños shows the challenges and opportunities of a young architectural office in Mexico City. In the last part of the interview the architect answers the question what we can learn from Mexico with the importance of understanding the local and the global.

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This text was published on werk, bauen + wohnen.

© LEARNING FROM MEXICO 2019 by Laure Nashed

 Die Beiträge von «learningfrommexico» entstehen in Zusammenarbeit mit der Schweizer Architekturzeitschrift werk, bauen + wohnen.