Luis Callejas

Today we interview 2013 Young Architect Award winner and recent Pamphlet 33 author Luis Callejas, a Colombian architect currently teaching landscape and architecture studios at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Don’t let his soft spoken nature fool you— Luis’ energy is palpable, and he is incredibly prolific. Luis has taught in many of the worlds corners including the Oslo School of Architecture, RMIT in Melbourne, and the University of Toronto. Though constantly on the move, he’s cool, collected, and a joy to speak with. Team Section Cut recognizes Luis is an important figure for emerging designers and educators to watch – by exemplifying a new model of practice that shatters disciplinary boundaries.

Luis welcomes us into his shared office late in the afternoon, daylight streaming through his windows. Models and sketches adorn his desk, complete with a macbook air. We jump in head first, asking Luis his backstory, what it’s like maneuvering between disciplines, and how his education played a role in shaping his design mentality. How did he become an architect that teaches and operates within landscape mediums?

"I was educated in Universidad Nacional in Medellin – Colombia, a school that compared to most North American models would be considered almost like an engineer school. Probably my generation was the first one to embrace digital tools and techniques there, yet we went through a quite analogous – old fashioned, modern oriented education where material production was the focus. It was a polytechnic model. One of the key series of books that helped me expand my interests and scopes to other disciplines, specifically to productive alliances between art and science, was the old series of books entitled “Vision + Value” edited by Gyorgy Kepes in the 60’s. When I was studying architecture in Colombia it was still possible to feel relative isolation in terms of access to information, we had a good library, but somehow even between 2001 and 2006 this old collection of books that my father brought with him from Chicago in the late 60’s was still groundbreaking and insightful for me. It basically showed me how to develop and organize ideas that have visual origins.

Starting in 1965 publisher George Braziller published a series named Vision + Value.
The aim of the series, “…to stimulate the circulation of ideas, to find channels of communication that interconnect various disciplines and offer us a sense of structure in our 20th century world…,” Each volume centres on a broad basic theme with the series itself speaking to the fundamental role of vision for human insight and expression.

The series is edited by renowned artist, designer and M.I.T. professor, Gyorgy Kepes and includes essays by such eminent contributors as: Rudolf Arnheim, Saul Bass, Max Bill, Marcel Breuer, John Cage, R. Buckminster Fuller, Karl Gerstner, Johannes Itten, Marshall McLuhan, Paul Rand, and many others." - Luis Callejas



Luis embodies a mode of practice that we at Section Cut all aspire to in one way or another, operating in the business of creating ideas hinged on sidestepping traditionally understood interpretations of the built environment. Thank you for the time Luis, we look forward to seeing what’s next for you.

Thanks again so much to our second GIANT, Luis Callejas for the truly enlightening interview.

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