Meet the professor: Juan Lago-Novás

Written on June 30, 2010 by Roberto Arribas in Architecture, General

Juan Lago-Novás (IE School of Architecture)

     Can you explain us in detail your professional and academic career?

I completed my Bachelor in Architecture in 2003 at UEM, where I had the opportunity to meet wonderful professors and professionals such as Peter Cook, Manuel Gausa, Efrén García Grinda and Cristina Díaz Moreno. From the very beginning, I was able to work for different offices in order to better start my professional career such as Matos-Castillo and collaborate in some projects for Herzog & de Meuron. In 2006 I completed an MBA at UPM that would influence both my future professional and academic career. In 2007 I started my Ph.D. at UEM working on a thesis titled “La percepción de la arquitectura a través de los sentidos”, a social and architectural project that studies how architecture is perceived by people who lack one of the senses, and how that very same architecture can be projected in order to reinforce those senses. In 2010 I went to Harvard Business School where I completed a program on management, an unique experience that began my own “American Dream”. Professionally, I have my own office with 22 people collaborating and we develop most of our work out of Spain, mostly in South America where we work in research projects on eco-efficient housing projects. I also participated as a jury at AA School of Architecture.

     How and when do you get into IE University? What do you do at the university?

I came to IE University as a professor in 2008. In 2009 I start working in the internship program at IE School of Architecture, I coordinate the “Design Thinking” workshop for the IMBA program at IE Business School in collaboration with the AA School of Architecture and I also coordinate the AA/IE Madrid Summer School. I also work hand in hand with Javier Quintana, Dean of IE School of Architecture, in the Master in Architectural Management and Design, the first master program by the IE School of Architecture and that will start on February 2011.

     What courses do you teach? Why is your course important for a future architect?

I have been teaching for a couple years a course for students in their fifth year titled “Project Management”. I think that this subject is essential between the academic and the real world for students in their last year. We work on all the different phases of a project, from the architectural competition until the execution project, learning at the same time how to form multidisciplinary and multicultural teams, how to take decisions, how to lead, etc. One of the tools that we use are “role games” and the “case method” as the main source of the learning process.

     Can you tell us what books, movies, etc. would you recommend to a soon-to-be architect?

Books: 1) The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry because of its tireless optimism and smiling attitude towards reality. 2) The Eyes of the Skin by Juhani Pallasmaa for its haptic perception of architecture and 3) The Splendors and Miseries of Courtesans by Honoré de Balzac, for the value of the word in architecture.

Movies: 1) Lagos Wide & Close by Rem Koolhaas on how “to narrate a city”, 2) Metropolis by Fritz Lang, full of new ideas and architectural references and also 3) True Blue by Ferdinand Fairfax because of its interpretation of the reality a team form by architects opposite to the almighty architect. Even though it has nothing to do with architecture, I also love Captain Tsubasa.

In the end, all the effort and illusion really pays off. Indolence is the worst enemy of architecture and oneself.


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