HomeWhat's HotArchitect Paz Martin: ``Those who retire today will protest. The big problems...

Architect Paz Martin: “Those who retire today will protest. The big problems for politicians begin now.”

“Do you know why I do this? Because I decided that I do not want to have the same old age as my father. I want to change that reality, because 40% of Spain’s population is over 65 years old. Because in 2050, I will be an elderly person.” Paz Martín (Ourense, 52 years old) is an architect and, together with César García, founder of the Fündc studio and director of the Senior Program of the Architectural Society Foundation. is responsible for In 2015, he won the Leonardo Scholarship for researchers and cultural creators from the BBVA Foundation and turned it into a traveling exhibition on architectural challenges for older people (named EnvejezANDO). So he wants to have his photo taken in a recreational area for seniors. After two failed attempts in El Retiro and Oeste Park, they chose an area also in Madrid’s Arganzuela district. “Look, how soulless. No one here can stand it in the summer, and the same in the winter,” he protests, posing.

listen. Let’s start from the beginning. You were heading to a designed home…

answer. Yes, but during the few years I lived in the Netherlands, where I went there to get my master’s degree and ended up staying for 10 years, I decided to do things differently even when building a house. You have to talk to people, get to know their reality, leave inbreeding in the studio and go out into the street to observe. For example, if the park we went to was well designed, it would be more comfortable.

Q. Spain is a country of old men and dogs, so it wasn’t difficult to find a dog…

R. This makes it clear that you are not thinking about your users and are not asking them what they need. What we want to see is how beautiful it is. How children swing, how they play, how they learn to walk, because yes, childhood is precious. On the other hand, do we want to teach older people with mobility impairments or illnesses? Not so much, so we hide it. And I don’t understand why we have to be quarantined in public. Children, the elderly, dogs, and women all live together in the same building, right? This separation is done because we have to hide the less cool parts of our lives, such as old age, illness, or plastic surgery. The poor, the ugly, and the old are not integrated. That’s stupid.

Q. Well, it is believed that they will increase pensions in the elections…

R. Older people today are less accustomed to complaining and, having lived through dictatorial regimes where politics were of no use to them, are more or less content with what they have. But other generations are also entering their senior years, and this is where the problems begin for politicians, including those retiring today. Many are studying, have other ambitions, have a better quality of life, and have a much longer life expectancy. These people have other kinds of interests and want to do other things instead of going to a nursing home to kill themselves.

Q. Does the political class recognize the change and realize that different decisions need to be made?

R. They have to do it, but things take time and the politician wants you to vote for him today, he’s a short-termist. How are you going to care that in five years there will be many more elderly people? I’ve given a lot of lectures, talked to political parties, attended parliamentary meetings…but I feel like I’m preaching in the desert. I always hear the same response. “What you say is interesting…but it’s very difficult!”

Architect Paz Martin stands at the entrance to the Arganzuela Donation Center.

Q. So does he tell you something that he finds very interesting?

R. There’s one thing I can’t stand. Every time I say I’m dedicated to architecture and longevity, people respond like this: “Oh, of course you’re one of those people who installs ramps on sidewalks!” It’s certainly necessary for more than just adults, but it’s not just about adults. By the way, I’m also not one to turn a bathtub into a shower. But we need to think differently about space and the way we live. Our family model has changed, we have few children and our homes are too small. You’ve allocated a space away from the bathroom for your bedroom, but what if you get older and need someone to accompany you to shower or shave? There may not be enough room to fit in, or there may not be enough light to see yourself in the mirror. So the question is, if your parents don’t fit in, how are you going to take care of them at home? Who will take care of you? What about people who are too old to buy a home now? What happens? For example, you can’t sell it to pay for housing. Has anyone thought about them?

Q. You are also very critical of urban design…

R. There are very few public toilets in cities and towns. Older people go to the service more often and have to go to the bar to order something. Additionally, bathrooms are usually located in the basement. Many benches were removed from the street because of beggars, but we installed terraces in their place. Why should I take something to rest?

Q. He has long said that Spain’s housing model is an anomaly in Europe.

R. I believed that everything that appeared during the pandemic would be of some use in the face of disaster. We realized that whoever designed this building in the ’80s, with its huge common room that seats up to 600 people, probably did so with the best of intentions. However, it is outdated today and is responsible for the spread of all kinds of viruses. Dwellings should be small and have separate rooms and bathrooms, as space and privacy are a priority. Once you move into your residence, your lifestyle, habits, and schedule should be very similar to what you had at home.

Q. A new consensus has been forged between governments and communities about what housing should look like.

R. Yes, but it will affect newly built ones, as older ones will have until 2029 to adapt.

Q. Please tell me something is already being done…

R. Much is also being done in Euskadi, Navarra, Catalonia, Madrid, some municipalities in Extremadura, and there is also a global network of age-friendly cities. The best part about this World Health Organization program is that it puts older people at the center of the effort, asking them what they need and what they want to happen where they live. Alicante also has some great intergenerational housing projects. They not only coexist, but also help each other. This is the social rent you can access if you give back services to your community and don’t quarantine. of course, cohousing, or the new Corara as I call it, is not for everyone as there are many varieties of the old one. For me, the best project would be to divide Barcelona into 10,000-population towns called “Spellas”, which may or may not be beautiful, but services designed for population, not design. It increases efficiency and gives your neighbors time to go to work or run errands. It’s about having a will.


Source: Elpais



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments