London, United Kingdom
Maria, 31
Architect
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a bit about Maria

What are you working on?

A house renovation in Islington and another one in Durango, Spain. Both of the original buildings are from the mid-1800s, but that is the end of their similarities. In Spain, I work with another young architect, and we deal directly with builders, carpenters, plumbers, and suppliers, many of the decisions are made on site, drawing on a wall, or sketching over lunch… We are just passionate about it, and so is our client. In London, many figures other than the architect are contractually involved in the process, including an unbelievable amount of consultants. Also, every word and every single line coming from the architect has a legal value, so it’s fundamental to document and file absolutely everything. Between those two, I find a sort of balance.

What drives you mad these days?

There is an attitude nowadays that is top rated in terms of social acceptance: coolness. Not losing one’s cool is perfectly ok but it drives me crazy when people use it as an excuse to be lazy. for instance, Last week I was invited for brunch to someone’s place. When I arrived there was absolutely nothing edible there, which is not that terrible. I suggested to go to the shop round the corner. As an answer I got a vague “oh, it’s alright, it’s fine, I’m ok, are you hungry?” “-Yes, I’m starving here!” “-Oh, maybe there is something after all” (Nothing happens, casual chat makes a comeback, I become increasingly irritated and my hunger becomes angry starvation.) It’s not cool to be so damn cool!

What makes you happy?

London’s non-stop life. It tends to drive me crazy, exhaust me, and also make me happy.

When was the last time you cried?

Something made me quite emotional a couple of weeks ago, when I received a postcard from Madrid. On one side there was a Kandinsky painting; on the other, my mother’s handwriting. There was something about this small, honest gesture… but I didn’t really cry that time.

What is playing in your earphones nowadays?

Sodade by Panenka, my favourite local band. They play every now and then in places such as Hootananny, Silver Bullet and The Good Ship. I try not to miss a show and I keep discovering new venues!

What was the last movie you went to?

The Revenant, at ICA Cinema. It is a great place, people who go there know how to watch a movie. I’ve never had annoying munching behind my ear there or loud comments, hysterical laughs… It’s perfectly civilised there, and a bit too cold in winter, I have to say. The movie was very good, even if I didn’t expect it to be so raw. Everyone is now talking about the Oscar that Dicaprio deserves for his career and may finally get now for this role.

What’s your go-to café in London?

Trying new places is more my thing than establishing ‘bases’, but my go-to gastro pub is The Eagle, in Farringdon, which never has the same menu and never disappoints.

Where’s your favourite street or neighbourhood to wander in London?

I like to wander with no destination, across new parts of town and an area I love is Clerkenwell: St. John’s street with its restaurant, Exmouth market, lots of design shops, exhibition openings.

What do you LOVE to do in the city but never actually do?

Running in Hampstead Heath park on a sunny Sunday morning before breakfast. I did it once and it was amazing, but after the thrill of the first time, I just can’t persuade myself to do it again.

What would make a perfect day in the sun for you?

Anywhere in the world? Driving towards the unexplored with a good partner in crime. If in London, I’d rather cycle and my destination would be a park, of course, with live music and street food.

It’s raining for days and you’re sick of staying at home – where would you go?

I don’t stay home when it rains, why should I? The Shoreditch House is a good place for rainy days, but you have to be lucky and have a member as a friend (or be one!). The olympic swimming pool in Stratford is a good place to exercise indoors, and entries are pretty reasonable. Or Tate Modern.

What’s a place in London you feel like only you know about?

In the Northwest part of Regent’s Park, there is a section which has been left to grow wildly, and it is not crossed by paved paths like the rest of the park, but by foot trails. One of these days I will discover its grass trimmed and the area civilised, but in the meantime it has a certain mystery and attraction.

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