With its Proust-like Q&A, AA questions architects about their profession, their projects, their vision of the future. Today, we meet Belén Moneo and Jeff Brock from the Moneo Brock office, founded in 1993 by the two of them and based in New York and Madrid.
Since its founding in 1993 by Belén Moneo and Jeff Brock, the office is working not only in Latin America (Mexico, Dominican Republic) but also in the United States. Moneo Brock has been honored on numerous occasions with awards as the Engineering News Record New York, Best Project Award in Higher Education / Research for the Columbia University Northwest Corner Building in 2011, or in 2017 with the Luis Moreno Mansilla Award of the Colegio Official of Arquitectos de Madrid for the Parish Church in Pueblo Serena.
Being an architect means…
Moneo Brock: Being an architect means thinking three dimensionally, loving arts, history and working with one’s own hands, willing to put one’s skills to the good use.
Your best architectural memory
MB: Hearing people’s enthousiasme and appreciation for one of our newly built projects during ribbon cutting celebrations.
The project you would have loved to sign
MB: The German School of Madrid. We were in the running and it would have been an ideal project for us at the time.
The project you are the most proud of
MB: The new laboratory building for the Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá; it’s the major project at the office at the moment.
Your job in 20 years
MB: In 20 years we hope to have some commissions in Spain and in the U.S.A. (we are mostly working in Latin America these days).
Architects’ main challenges nowadays
MB: The challenge today is to ensure that all our projects are as ecologically sustainable as possible, in the use of materials and energies during construction, but also regarding the affect they’ll have on the long term, on the environment and on the populations for which they have been built.
The advice you’d give to a young architect
MB: Look at History, travel to old and new cities and find out what works, where the quality of life is high, and ask yourself why.
The architect everyone should follow
MB: It depends on one’s specific interest, but for someone interested as I [Jeff Brock] am in a broad range of scale of intervention I’d say Louis Kahn, who demonstrates the interest of our work in the public domain, no matter the scale.
An inspiring place
MB: Old European cities where the streets are well cared for and walking and bike-riding are the greatest of pleasures.
An object or a work of art you particularly love
MB: Sailboats of all kinds, for their technical demonstration and for the application they make of our understanding of the world. All sailboats share ancient origins and are manifestations of the great potential of human intelligence, capable of creating things that are as beautiful as they are useful, as much as buildings can be when their authors are not too distracted!
Discover Moneo Brock’s projects on their website.