Rojkind Arquitectos,

Jaime Navarro Soto, Paul Rivera ,

Mexico City, Mexico,

Architecture and Culture,

“If you’re a musician and you hear somebody play like a motherfucker, you want to jam with him. When I quit music and started architecture, I thought it was the same kind of creative situation.”— Michel Rojkind

<strong>MICHEL ROJKIND </strong> “If you’re a musician and you hear somebody play like a motherfucker, you want to jam with him. When I quit music and started architecture, I thought it was the same kind of creative situation.”— Michel Rojkind

The statement well summarizes, in my opinion, the histrionic and also a little provocative character of Michel Rojkind, an artist who seems not to have forgotten the spirit of strong collaboration that animated the band of which he was the drummer during his famous rock beginning. That spirit of sharing, that characterized his small group, and saw everyone united and actively involved in the desire to achieve success, remains, even after he has changed profession, an important prerogative that distinguishes him in the workplace, in the relationships between his collaborators and colleagues.

It is in fact through a wide network of actors from multiple disciplines, that the projects are addressed and discussed during a preliminary phase; and it’s always precisely through the synergic creative collaboration with other architects that several of his works have seen the light. In the current reality, Rojkind warns us that the role of architect has evolved and must not be ignored an interdisciplinary approach between specialists from different fields, such as financiers, sociologists, psychologists, for strategic visions as global as possible: a building is not only a physical construction but must represent an ‘added value’ for the community. This means, as he explains, to conceive projects that give something they have not been asked to do, that help to strengthen the sense of belonging and the cohesion of a collectivity, offering possible uses beyond their specific function, such as a park or sports activities on the roof of a multi-storey garage or shopping center. Buildings that, according to his words, can be defined as self-sufficient. To achieve this ‘added value’, experts from different sectors are required to interact evaluating pros and cons and trying to achieve empathy with the client, to dissuade him from the ambition, often common to many, to build the most aesthetically beautiful construction, without concern about any beneficial contributions that it will bring to society. A modern and progressive architecture must think of a building as part of a wider urban redevelopment program: the objective is not only to achieve functional solutions but to ensure significant experiences, with a strong impact on people and the environment. 

Extrovert and offbeat, he loves to impress us with habits and behaviors decidedly unusual. In the wake of this unconventionality, regarding the catastrophic episode that occurred in 2014, on the premature inauguration of Cineteca Nacional in Mexico City, he did something that many would not have had the courage: he publicly spoke of what happened and did so by lingering on the most disastrous details, describing without reserve the merciless reactions of the press. Although it was not his fault, as a designer, but of those who had to verify that everything was in order, in this case the builder, and even if the opening had been earlier than the pre-established, he avoids hiding behind pitiful apologies. With easiness and a good dose of irony, he dwells on the event, without sparing embarrassing details. In a world where no one usually admits his responsibilities and mistakes, this behavior can surprise, certainly honors him and earns the sympathy even of those who would never have dared to behave like him. Fascinated by the chaos of his city, source of creativity and inspiration, he avoids using the car, in order to be able, as he tells us, to walk freely along the streets, enthralled by the regular occasional encounters. Being able to interface with other ideas, listening and understanding problems and aspirations of a part of population who belongs to a social class different from his, helps him, as an architect, to avoid working on standardized formulas that cannot bring any benefit and even less satisfy the needs of a society in constant evolution.

That’s how his original 'out-of-box' solutions develop, welcomed with contagious enthusiasm by the community. His desire to interact with people, conceiving innovative visions, allowed him to imagine and implement winning ideas, which have not only changed the profile of certain dormant or semi-abandoned contexts, instilling a new lymph of pulsating life, but enriched the cultural world of young people forced to live in very poor environments, without the possibility of a redemption.

As a spokesman for a condition of extreme poverty, he aims through his design, to give life to long-suffocated but much sought-after aspirations and people reciprocate him with warm gratitude for what he is able to offer to them.The Mexican people boast of a long tradition about manual skills and artistic creativity and Rojkind tries to highlight this precious heritage with a strong visibility in his works, whenever he has the opportunity, determined in his will to help this valuable treasure not to get lost. Innovative contemporary techniques are part of his works: the computer assists in the exploration and implementation phase, but, when it comes to the practical execution, in most cases he uses local artisans. Cold compositions obtained from the precision of the computer warm up thanks to the wise manual gesture. The synchronicity of the hands confers a poetic touch and releases the special music that Rojkind loves and that perhaps only perceive those who love the community they are part of.

Virginia Cucchi

Rojkind Arquitectos : https://rojkindarquitectos.com/
PR House, Tecamachalco, State of Mexico
Photos: Jaime Navarro Courtesy of Rojkind Arquitectos
Foro Boca Concert Hall, Boca del Río
Photos: Paul Rivera and Jaime Navarro Courtesy of Rojkind Arquitectos
Cinteca National, Mexico City
Photos: Paul Rivera and Jaime Navarro Courtesy of Rojkind Arquitectos