Esteban is one of those creative individuals who captivates our propensity for deep thought and deep revelry. As an architect, he and his firm BNKR Arquitectura develop large civic projects throughout Mexico, like an Olympic velodrome in Culiacan, Sinaloa, and 200-unit student housing complex in Cholula, Puebla. To date our two favorite BNKR projects are the Sunset Chapel in Acapulco and the Galleries of the Polyforum Cultural Siqueiros in Mexico City. In the band, Chikita Violenta, Esteban plays guitar. We like that in the same month, we can dance to Chikita music til the AM at the Mercury Lounge in the L.E.S and take thoughtful DF walking tours with our architect friend.
Place of Birth: Mexico City
Parents Place of Birth: Mexico City
Occupation/ Aspiration: Architect and Musician
Describe a typical day:
Get up at 6am, exercise for one hour, bath, breakfast, ride my bike to my office, meetings with clients, project revisions, lunch, back to afternoon meetings, late afternoon rehearsals with my band, ride my bike home, a Jack Daniels on the rocks, spend some time with my wife and daughter, dinner watching a TV series, sleep…
Which neighborhood do you live in and why?
I live in Condesa. It is one of the only neighborhoods you can appreciate as a pedestrian and bike rider. It has two of the nicest parks and is filled with restaurants, libraries, bars, galleries and cafes. Whatever you want, it is in walking distance (something not very common in one of the biggest cities in the world).
How do you help make Mexico City a better place to live?
First, by not using a car. It´s been now four years since I´ve taken my bike everywhere in an attempt to prove that you really don´t need a car in such a big city. I easily travel 15 km to a meeting, a distance most people think too far to use a bicycle. Second, I have a special branch in my office dedicated to research. One of the projects we are currently developing is the exploitation of underused space in Mexico City in order to transform it into living spaces. Mexico City is in desperate demand for new habitable spaces and the obvious solution is to continue to expand the urban sprawl. This project tries to revert this as it focuses on identifying residual spaces in the city to transform them into potential living spaces.
Share the best piece of advice you have been given.
Don´t be afraid to go out on a limb. It´s where all the fruit is.” -Shirley MacLaine.
Where did you go to school? What did you study?
I studied Architecture at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City.
What was your first source of inspiration in your professional career?
The first architect that lit a flame inside of me was Luis Barragan. Through his vision I learned what space, geometry, light, and color really meant in architecture. I also acquired from him his love for nature and gardens. The word serenity took a profound meaning in me after visiting his buildings.
Who is your favorite thinker? Paul Valery.
Name a Mexican you admire. Mario Pani.
Share a secret nook in DF and NY where you like to hide or escape to?
In DF, El Espacio Ecultórico in the UNAM. A volcanic rock garden contained by an architectural element. It was not conceived by a single mind, but rather by a group of artists/architects including Mathias Goeritz and Luis Barragan. In NY, The High Line, one of the best examples of the transformation of residual spaces in the city into public space/linear park by Diller+Scofidio+Renfro.