A few months ago we take part in the day, The periphery of the architecture, of inside cycle “The reality of the architect”, event that was assembling a series of architects who develop his activity in the limits of the profession, as we know her in his “traditional” form. Of all the peripheral ones there assembled, which more approaches the traditional exercise of the architecture was that of Marta Parra, of Parra-Müller, which us exposed his “Maternities Architecture”.
Marta and Angela depart from a very simple rule but simultaneously fully of intentions and responsibility,
“The spaces to realize the human activities are designed depending on the activity to realize, of the user who enjoys it, of the aesthetic aspects and of the spatial, economic and normative possibilities that affect them.”
Taking this rule (perhaps is not it the last end of the architecture this one?) and analyzing with crudeness the current reality of these spaces, they put the challenge of re-designing and thinking these “mothers’ mechanical workshops spoilt on the verge of giving birth.”
“The architecture like tool to provide the as suitable as possible environment, “disguising”, “tuneando” the hospitable spaces so that they could evoke his intimate and natural habitat of the woman giving birth. It exposed his “Maternities Architecture.”
Ado we leave you with her more than interesting interview that we had the opportunity to fulfil them.
Which has been your formation and professional path before “Maternities Architecture”?
Angela: The two we have studied Architecture, in different countries and universities. Martha specialized itself in colleges during his beginning of professional path, and I was always between hotels and hospitals, three topics that continue contributing us very much for the field of the maternities now. In addition I did a Máster in Architecture, Organization and Management of Hospitable Infrastructures.
Our labor like activists to improve the attention to the childbirth and birth in Spain and to European level, so much in associations women’s as involved in committees and workgroups in the Ministry of Health, where we continue collaborating with representatives of all kinds of organisms, professionals’ sanitary organizations, etc. Also it has enriched our formation and work.
What did lead you to starting “Maternities Architecture”? Why?
Marta: We have been formed for years in the topic of the attention to the childbirth of the side of the usuarias and attending to his demands. We have taken part in the guides’ production of clinical practice (GPC) and divulgative material, and try to support meetings with all the agents participants in the update of the attention to the childbirth and birth. It was a natural process that was uniting our passion with our profession. We evaluate the panorama the hospitable maternities in Spain and after a push on the part of the Ministry of Health, begin to be employed at it.
Angela had the opportunity to take part in a project of design of a mother hospital – infantile in Austria. For my part, across the activismo, I reached a great knowledge as for what there demand the pregnant women and mothers and the professionals who plead for this change of paradigm. Little by little also Angela was getting in this world.
Did you meet many difficulties? Which were the most problematic?
Angela: Our projects are something more than architecture: they work as an engine of change, suppose a different approach in the welfare area. In many occasions we run up with reticences before the model change, which they impede in the first moment the spatial change. This change of mentality supposes the major disadvantage, very over determining economic or of more pragmatic nature.
Are you satisfied with the reached aims?
Marta: As they would say in the cole:
“We Go little by little”,
but with sure step. All the projects and works are only, facts with a lot of implication and caress. In cause also we take charge of the diffusion and later communication, which is an added value for the project. In addition already we could have stated the positive impact of our interventions.
What expectations and projects of future have you for “Maternities Architecture”?
Marta: Our next aim is to do a project or reform, which it includes from the general location of the areas related to the Maternity, up to the smallest detail of every stay, always thinking about the needs of about the woman and about the baby. We dream that the UCIs neonatales have the space and environmental sufficient quality in order that the parents and relatives could be to taste during all his stay, protecting from the space such a vulnerable moment. We dream in addition of all the women and his babies giving birth and being born in spaces that provide to them the environment of peace that they need. From the architecture we try to generate the environmental conditions that facilitate it.
And in addition, our work and projects are exportable to other countries, where already these social demands have arisen.
Are this type of initiatives profitable? Do you feel good remunerated by the labor that you realize?
Marta: The added value of an integral project opposite to a well-meaning not professional action is enormous. To humanize the spaces is something more than to paint blue turquoise a room and to put a chair of childbirth. It implies knowing the physiological needs and the architectural resources to generate a space that the women make his during the childbirth, and where they find everything what they need.
With the easy thing that proves to explain, and the difficult thing that is sometimes to deal … and to value. Unfortunately, I think that it is a common enough obstacle in our profession.
Do you arrange or complement this activity with other labors or in other fields?
Angela: Marta is employed also at the study Virai Arquitectos, arranging both projects. Certainly, we continue collaborating in our individual
“activism of the good childbirths”.
And both we have three children, so we do not get bored … lately we try to reconcile more, even we remove the children to some trip, or to chats that we give.
How do you see the future in this field?
Marta: To humanize the spaces of childbirth to normalize the way of being born is one more part of the recovery of the heart that we have left ourselves in many areas, when the technology appears in the 20th century.
And now, the humanization of the Health, of the Education, of all the areas of the life is a way undertaken, and we think that already there is no reverse. The healthy architecture is a challenge whom the company is starting valuing.
Do you think that to study Architecture has been a fundamental passport to have come to your current work?
Angela: Undoubtedly, our base continues being the traditional work of architecture, everything what we learned of one or another way in the career on the spatial language, the materials, the way of developing a project … though the later formation continues being fundamental, especially in this so forgotten area.
Would you encourage other architects to follow your steps? What steps do you consider that they should give? How to complete his studies? What other advices would you give them?
Marta: To complete the studies, always. To continue learning every day something, with all the senses. We want to invite all the students and architects / aces to whom they listen to the passion that each one takes inside and dare to follow it.
It moves every person a field, an idea, a need, a topic. Agarrémonos to her strongly to extract forward that one that only we can do. This passion is the one that will do that we overcome the obstacles, and it will renew our desires of starting over again every day. There is a vital project inside each one, and the architecture can help to develop it.
Do you think that the architects in Spain we should continue opening new routes of work to go out of the “most “traditional” cabin of projecting given the current situation of the construction in our country?
Marta: Yes, undoubtedly. The architects / aces we have a very polyvalent formation and are qualified to recover many more functions of those who till now have been the most habitual.
What do you think of those that they have been going to work abroad?
Angela: The worse thing that we can do before an adverse situation is to remain paralyzed. If we have to emigrate to advance in our profession or to assure a future our children, forward. A change of house is always a resignation for what you stop, but he supposes new challenges and opportunities. I left my country me to come to Spain for love, and it is true that sometimes I throw very much of less to my family, my environment, even so trivial as the food or the snow, but here I have formed my family, have known big friends and develop my labor life which I enjoy very much.
The architecture, it has opened many fronts of battle (LSP, Bologna, unemployment, labor precariousness, Spades, ETSAs, emigration, communication, etc), will not they be too much for the existing polarization inside the same one?
If we are prepared for something, it is to bear the pressure. To integrate different elements or factors in the same set. And to do it in a harmonious way.
How do you see the future of the profession?
We think that there are so much ways to develop like arquitectas/os, since persons we are and capacities we have. To classify ourselves in two or three roles exclusively only can serve in order that many people remain in the way.
To open our minds, to meet reflected in other fields and professionals, to leave the victimismo, to learn of whom they are obtaining now what we want, etc. It is the way in order that the flexibility that we have learned in the schools is divorced forever of the ego, and make us free to chase of our ideas, projects and passions.
Angela Müller – Marta Parra Casado | Maternities Architecture
Interview realized by Ana Barreiro Blanco and Alberto Alonso Oro. We are grateful for Angela and Martha his time and predisposition with this space.