Gabriela Carrillo Valadez, an architect who has left her mark in the world of modern architecture. Her design speaks volumes with straightforward forms. The architectural style developed by Gabriela Carrillo is a contextual relationship with the site and its surroundings. Direct forms and design is not all about aesthetics and focuses on functionality.
She is well known for her projects like Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Ciudadela, Criminal Courts for Oral Trials in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, and San Pablo Academic and cultural center. TALLER | Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo was established in 2012 after Mauricio Rocha associated with Gabriela Carrillo, taking over the TALLER DE ARQUITECTURA which was established in 1991 by Mauricio. Gabriela has won several awards for her works like the Architect of the Year by Architectural Review and the Architects’ Journal‘s Women in Architecture Awards.
She graduated from the Faculty of Architecture at UNAM which is a high-ranked university in Mexico known for research and innovation. It is also the largest institution in Latin America with one of the biggest campuses in the world. From 2001, she has been a part of the TALLER DE ARQUITECTURA firm as a Project Director and collaborated with Mauricio Rocha. After working as, the Project Director at the Architecture Workshop with Mauricio Rocha, in 2012 she became a partner of the firm changing the name to TALLER | Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo.
In 2013, she was a part of the Federico E. Mariscal Extraordinary Chair in National Autonomous University of Mexico and also the Enrique Manero Peón Extraordinary Chair of the Marist University of Mérida. She has also been an active academician by conducting several workshops and seminars for undergraduate and graduate courses. In 2015, the Autonomous University of Yucatán conducted an Architecture Symposium in which Gabriela was a part.
Gabriela Carrillo’s design focuses on the context and the built environment. The importance of space and function is seen in all the projects. The consistency of the workability of the space is given importance. At the same time, the use of elements like the views, visual connections, materiality, and hierarchy of space is seen in her work.
The TALLER | Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo have taken up several restorations works as well as new projects where they have tried to blend both the modern and traditional architecture to bring out the best. She believes that the design tends to reach out to its context, like tendrils, and slowly change the shape and context like a living being. She talks about how the design of buildings has the ability to unfold into different paths in the future and create better usability.
She has taken part in several exhibitions throughout the years and has showcased her work like Architecture in Mexico, 1900-2010. In 2015, The Construction of Modernity was exhibited at the Amparo Museum in Puebla, Mexico. in 2014, Oris House of Architecture, Zagreb, Croatia, and Ibero-American City and Architecture at the Zulia Museum of Contemporary Art in Venezuela, the IX Ibero-American Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism in Rosario in Argentina, 2014. She has also been featured in Architectural magazines for her exemplary design and contribution to contemporary architecture. Some of the magazines that have featured the architect’s work are Code, Summa, Domus, ArquiTK, and Architectural Digest.
Some of her famous works include School of Plastic Arts and the San Pablo Academic and Cultural Center in Oaxaca built-in 2008, Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Ciudadela built-in 2013, Criminal Courts for Oral Trials in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán built-in 2015, Deans Building School of Commercial Banking built-in 2015, Cuatro Caminos Photo Museum in Mexico City built in 2015 and Iturbide Studio built-in 2016.
Library of José Vasconcelos (Biblioteca de México José Vasconcelos)
The library for the blind built-in 1989 in Mexico was being replaced as a part of the government programme Ciudad de Los Libros (City of Books). The old place was expanded to cater to the large crowd. The light was given importance as it is the most essential component in a library. The visitors are mostly partially impaired and determine the places using the contrast of shadow and light.
The consideration for sighted people who come along with the visually challenged was also given importance. Braille text was used to show different quotes from books on the railings and along the walls. This creates an interesting and interactive experience for the children visiting the library. The design keeps the user group in mind to create spaces that are both functional and interactive.
Courts of Pátzcuaro in Michoacán
The design was very direct with basic geometric forms to separate and channelize the functions. The oval wall surrounding the entire structure. The space division was based purely on the usage and user group. The oral trials were the most important and the unpredictable function that occurred in the courthouses so, the design concepts were based on the same. The exterior part was for the public, the interior for the judges and lawyers, and the core was meant for the inmates or claimed criminals.
The architecture uses the context of the nearby lake as a visual connection and the linear planes are arranged in a manner that gives the view of that lake from a distance. The use of light as an element to create shadows, reflections and views was the key element used as the communication between the interior and the exterior through design in the project.
Public Market in Matamoros
The market was a design that was listed for the design competition held for the Mexican Ministry of Agrarian, Land and Urban Development (SEDATU) by the Faculty of Architecture of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) for public infrastructure. The market was inspired by the old market of Mexico City, El Parián. It has about 40 stalls lined up in the perimeter and gardens within the complex. The structure was built of prefabricated materials mostly for fast construction and reversibility.
The roof remains iconic due to its inverted structure which is used to collect rainwater. The area that receives maximum light is where gardens are located and the place that receives less sunlight is used for storage and services.
Gabriela is the winner of the 2017 International Women in Architecture Award, which is the highest international recognition for women in architecture, for the Complex11 project that houses the courtrooms in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán. It has also received the Silver Medal at the XIII Biennial of Mexican Architecture in 2014, with the First Place of the CEMEX Award in the Social Impact category in 2013. She has won the Works award, in the Interior Design category, by the Library de Débiles Visuales in Mexico City in 2013 and the Silver Medal at the Mexico City Biennial.
After the earthquakes in Mexico in 2017, Gabriela has also worked on several reconstruction projects and studied the earthquake-resistant materials and mechanisms in fragile earthquake-prone territories. She believes that architecture should be propositional although silent. Her work is the proof for her above statement where she used simple forms to show greater design interventions that not only impact the users but also the site context.