Dynamic and prolific, Mexican architect Gabriela Carrillo is passionate about her business. ‘I am in love with my work,’ she says. ‘I have a six-year-old boy, and he and the city and country where I live are my guidelines in my work. I am a determined feminist, completely against traditional practices that prevail in our patriarchal system. I believe my work can do something against that, but not in a negative sense – in a constructive way. I grew up in a country which is always in crisis, so I love to translate this into opportunities. [I am] always thinking of the future, that I might not see, but my kid will.’

After working at Mauricio Rocha’s studio in Mexico City since 2001, Carrillo made partner in 2011. Six years later, she set up her own studio, Taller Gabriela Carrillo, and in 2019 she also co-founded the collective C733, a platform to focus specifically on public projects. Museums, hotels, residential and community work are part of her ever-expanding portfolio. Her rich and layered career has not gone unnoticed, winning her several awards in her field, including Woman Architect of the Year 2017 from the Academy of Architecture of France. 

Habita Hotel Cuatro Cuatros, Ensenada
Habita Hotel Cuatro Cuatros, Ensenada, by Taller | Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo. Photographer: Onnis Luque

Gabriela Carrillo and ‘meaningful’ architecture

Carrillo feels especially strongly about projects that are ‘meaningful’. She mentions as an example working on a library for blind and visually impaired people. ‘It forced me to be aware of the strength of the senses,’ she says. These, and elements such as the light, the void, nature are all key in her designs.

Matamoros Market, a public space in the namesake Mexican city on the country’s northern borders, plays with notions of freedom and spatial flexibility, and works with the region’s climatic conditions. ‘The most powerful tools of architecture are priceless,’ she says. As for architecture’s biggest challenge at the moment? ‘To reinvent its meanings,’ she concludes. §

Deans Building School of Commercial Banking
Deans Building School of Commercial Banking by Taller | Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo. Photographer: Rafael Gamo
Interactive Observatory of Cracking and Subsidence, San Sebastián Tecolotitla

Interactive Observatory of Cracking and Subsidence, San Sebastián Tecolotitla by Estudio RX. Photographer: Rafael Gamo