Alberto Villanueva

Profession: Architect & Academic
City: London
Country: United Kingdom

What inspired you to want a life in Architecture and the creative industries?:
From a young age, I knew I wanted to be an architect. I was always a curious kid interested in probably too many things, from archaeology to journalism, and architecture seemed to be the subject where you could explore so many different aspects. However, my passion was not in drawing and making—it was football, but that is a story for another time. It is and will always be my way of escaping from the day-to-day pressures.

Who inspired you in finding your path to Architecture/Film and the creative industries?:
My father has always been an inspiration to me as a role model. However, I didn’t have anyone in my family in any creative pathway or the construction and architectural industry. Many people inspired me during the journey; in my first year studying architecture, Alberto Campo Baeza: what an excellent architect, but also, what a wonderful human being! Afterwards, I was lucky to meet extraordinary tutors and now colleagues who supported me through the challenges and inspired me: Fuensanta Nieto, Carlos Labarta and Carlos Javier Irisarri have been some of them. Colleagues who are not top professionals but have the immense generosity of sharing their values, knowledge and passion.

How you unlock obstacles and overcome bias in your work?:
I love a challenge… I guess that after being educated by two incredibly hard-working parents, I developed since I was a kid that inner voice that wouldn’t let me stop until I would get it done. When younger, everything was about now and immediate. Later, with time, I have learnt to be more strategic in how to unlock them. Still, I am always passionate about what I do and loyal to my principles. Everything makes way more sense when you believe in what you do. 

To overcome any kind of bias in my work, I tend to be quite a reflective person and always listen to what my colleagues have to say. Listen, experience, make mistakes… but learn from them. At every stage in life I have had the opportunity to meet with someone who inspires me with their experience and way of being, I don’t hold back and ask them for a regular meeting.

What improvements do you feel are required to promote effective change in the academic and working environment?:
We must start tackling the issues that connect the academic and working environments—the transitions. Everyone seems to be focusing on the needed changes in academia, the challenges our graduates face in industry life, or the difficulties in accessing Higher Education, all like separate compartments that are not connected.

It is all about ensuring accountability, ownership and honesty in the transitions. Employers, academics, and school teachers are responsible for driving and promoting this effective change. And this also starts from our responsibilities as citizens when supporting political and social decisions. My work should not be limited to my students achieving their degrees, but to be an active agent in the context and actions before, during and after the journey with us.

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