Today we travel to Lleida (Catalonia, Spain) to chat with Maite Sainz de la Maza, architect and Macari de Torres, geologist engineer, founders of Fetdeterra | Innovative Earth Projects and Products. They are
“Technical specialists in land architecture and accredited consultants in eco-innovation, product design and technological development.”
They have worked with users, technicians and manufacturers since the first phases of the project to find the solution that best suits their needs and thus obtain the best results.
“From Fetdeterra, we want to promote the use of local material resources for sustainable, ecological and environmentally friendly construction. 100% recyclable materials, with low economic and energy costs, which allow the construction of healthy and efficient habitats.”
They work in various areas of research and search for new products and construction systems with land. They also study the properties of the materials and the optimal composition to obtain maximum benefits, while trying to open the way for their normalization and adaptation to current legislation as they are members of the Technical Committee UNE-CTN 41 / SC 10
All this important work has been recognized with different awards and distinctions in biennials and prestigious awards.
Without further ado, we leave you the talk we had a few weeks ago.
How would Maite Sainz de la Maza and Macari de Torres be defined?
We are passionate technicians for the world of construction with land, with a constant need to research and innovate in the field of sustainable land architecture.
We believe that you can not innovate, if you do not know and understand the material and the construction system, that is why we have studied, and continue to study it from the base, through standardized laboratory tests, in order to obtain the objective data that we will use. to compare and improve the project and / or product.
We must give a technical response to current needs, adapting the material for construction, and take advantage, at the same time, technologies developed in recent years in the world of construction and industrialization.
How, when and why Fetdeterra | Projects and Innovative Earth Products arises?
In 2017 we created the company Fetdeterra SL, due to the growth of our own business. Years before we specialize in land construction for several reasons.
On the one hand we combine our knowledge, Macari had a lot of experience in the work, and as a geological engineer, he knew the material very well, and Maite provided the most functional and aesthetic part, as an architect.
On the other hand, the environmental benefits and properties of the land such as the regulation of humidity, temperature, breathability, thermal inertia … fit with our vision of sustainable architecture for the near future.
Did you encounter many difficulties? Which were the most problematic?
The beginnings are always hard, especially the fact of having to justify everything we knew that already worked with the land, because we have as a reference, all the built heritage with land that supports us.
In recent years, thanks to the awards and mentions obtained, we have gained more visibility and recognition of our work, this facilitates the way and opens new doors for us to continue researching, developing new projects more ambitious and more complex.
How did you detect the need for this service?
We perceive a growing increase in the demand for a more natural and sustainable architecture, at the same time that, the need to rehabilitate our existing heritage of land, in parallel with these needs, there are the problems of ignorance of the land as construction material, and the uncompetitive execution of the traditional construction system, these problems generate a series of basic doubts such as the dosage of the land, the quality control, the technical prescriptions, the justification of the Technical Code, among others …
Thus, we saw the need to specialize in this field, in order to help technicians and builders to develop their projects.
Later on as accredited advisors in Eco-innovation, we created the I+D+I department, from which we have obtained products such as the prefabricated block of raw earth, Tapialblock, with which we solve the problem of ignorance of the material, the justification of regulations and the expensive execution of the traditional system of land construction.
“Tapialblock is an eco-innovative product from its formulation until its manufacture and reuse. Composed of 100% recyclable natural materials and manufactured with the minimum energy cost. Thinking about health and benefit for the user, and sustainability for the environment.”
How is the day to day in Fetdeterra | Projects and Innovative Earth Products?
TWe work in a coordinated manner, and jointly decide the actions and general objectives of the company, although each one carries out different tasks, Macari supervises the subject of laboratory, materials and work execution, and Maite is in charge of the writing of the projects, design and image.
How is the design, development and commercialization process in Fetdeterra | Projects and Innovative Earth Products?
Basically we focus on the study of the useful life of the product / project to minimize the environmental impact, while at the same time, we try to create a positive social and economic impact on the territory. We follow the circular economy criteria of the existing materials and means to develop the projects / products.
Have you delegated functions and have you focused on specific parts within Fetdeterra | Projects and Innovative Earth Products?
Yes, we have formed an external team of expert collaborators each in a specific field. We filter all the work and decide how the different projects will be developed according to your needs.
What was (or will be) the critical moment once started Fetdeterra | Projects and Innovative Earth Products?
For us, the critical moments are those in which there is a before and after, always from the positive point of view. Currently we are developing the DAU to normalize the use of prefabricated blocks of land, it is a long way, since there is no Spanish regulation that takes into account this type of material and product, and this implies a certain complexity in the project , that is why we believe that when we obtain the certificate, it will again be a positive change point for us.
What are your references??
We have different references that are not exclusive to the world of architecture, but perhaps we would highlight the work started by Miguel Fisac, in the field of research and product development, that study and endless search within the limits of the material itself.
We have two lines of work within the company, on the one hand we develop architecture projects, advice and development of I+D+I projects, and on the other hand we manage the standardization and commercialization of Tapialblock ground products.
Our clients are technicians and companies linked to architecture and construction, with interest and sensitivity towards innovation and sustainability.
How and for what do you use “new technologies”? Has the “network”facilitated your work?
New technologies are fundamental in our work, thanks to social networks we can reach many people that were previously unimaginable.
It also facilitates our work, with the systematization of processes and the possibility of creating an external team of collaborators, with which we can work together remotely.
Do you combine or complement this activity with other tasks or in other fields?
We have exclusive dedication to Fetdeterra, everything we do is linked to the world of land architecture.
How do you see the future of architecture? And the one of the profession?
We appreciate a change in the architecture and in the vision of the architects themselves, we see a tendency to simplify and standardize the use of materials for construction, as well as the increase in the valuation of those simpler and more natural materials, without coatings.
What improvements do you think are fundamental and should be implemented immediately?
In the world of architecture, it would be necessary to take into account the useful life of the materials that have been used and are being used today, not only the energy cost of their manufacture, but also thinking about their end, and the consequences For the enviroment,
How will this diversity of industrialized materials be managed, so that it does not cause a negative impact on the environment?
As “entrepreneurs”, what do you think of the architects who “open and / or recover” new fields and / or approaches to the profession?
We believe that the specialization is the future, it is the way to know in depth a field / topic to be able to differentiate yourself and be a reference.
Are you happy with the trajectory made so far? What future projects await you?
We are happy We see that we have a future and a long way to explore.
We hope to continue researching and developing new, more ambitious projects with an even greater degree of complexity. This is what motivates us the most, it is the feeling of being evolving at the same time as we continue to innovate in the search for a more natural and sustainable architecture.
To finish, what would you advise current students and future architecture professionals?
A good outlet for students and future architects, is to specialize in the world of architecture. Specialize in what they have the knowledge and are passionate about.
Maite Sainz de la Maza Benet – Macari de Torres Mestres · Fetdeterra | Innovative Earth Projects and Products
Interview by Ana Barreiro Blanco and Alberto Alonso Oro. Thank Maite and Macari for their time and predisposition with this small space.