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Heading his one-man practice in Cartagena since 1991, Martin Lejarraga always works alone, with the exception of especially large-scale commissions and competitions. A graduate of Madrid's School of Architecture, he keeps an ongoing record of what impresses him and of his architectural finds, as well as his own work to date. This includes housing, medical, civic and educational buildings, as well as art and exhibition designs. The award-winning practice has also been working on a unique project, called "Fachades", a selection of images, produced in collaboration with photographer JM Diaz Burgos and several writers.
Memory House-Pool represents Lejarraga's entry to this year's Directory. The architect playfully experiments with the large amount of empty and unused pools that surround us - a both unsightly and ecologically unsustainable phenomenon – and transforms them into standard residential structures. Seeing the opportunities that lie in a dry pool's technological equipment, from thermal insulation to watertight treatments and great sun orientation, Lejarraga takes full advantage of existing conditions, to create a series of conversions and pool-spaces redesigned as extensions, studios, or even brand new standalone houses.
Even though Lejarraga has been very interested in technology and the advances of science as well as their impact on society and architecture in particular, he increasingly values the human presence throughout the design process. "People are a true measure of architecture", he explains, "from conception, through to realisation". Interested in the process itself, rather than simply celebrating the end product, Lejarraga retains his vision that architecture, can eventually, change the world. "Architecture is something epic", he adds proudly.