Clearly a Rebel
Inspired by the natural beauty of the Cortez Sea, Mexican architect Javier Sánchez has added to his groundbreaking portfolio of work with The Cape, a new Thompson Hotel in the picturesque, laid-back haven of Los Cabos, Mexico. A founding partner and director of the Mexico City architecture firm, JSa, Sánchez works with what he calls “an urban acupuncture strategy,” using the natural world and public spaces to disrupt and regenerate the city’s fabric. He has designed more than ninety projects, including the new Juan Soriano Museum, the expansion of the Spanish Cultural Center, and the award-winning El 22 Beach Housing outside of Lima, Peru.
Sánchez’s inspiration always begins with the location. We sat down to talk to him about design, art, the future of architecture and how the stunning vistas of Los Cabos inspired The Cape.
When did your interest in buildings, space and how they relate to people, begin?
I come from a family of architects, my father and grandfather are architects, so it has been part of our family culture since I remember. It was always a topic of discussion in my family, we were always talking about it.
What are the founding principles ground your design style?
We want the architecture to create emotions, we can’t it to connect to its time and place and we want it to be honest as to how it is built, with materials that are true to their nature.
How does your contemporary style speak to nature?
It is respectful of nature and it also sets a dialogue with it. We connect to nature once we make a building touch the ground.
Which architect has influenced your work most?
I am fascinated by the modern architects who were part of the counterculture. People like LeCorbusier began a revolution that still has influence today. Also, the modern ‘humanists’ like Alvar Aalto, he had an important connection to the human condition, and Louis Khan who has been influential on creating his own language through systematic thinking and structure and the nature of materials.
How do you hope your building will shape a guest’s experience at The Cape?
I hope they are amazed and emotional about the building and the site.
Which natural formation shaped your design most at the Cape?
The building sits on a beautiful rock formation that creates a transition from the end of the desert-scape to the beginning of the water.
How is your work inspired by other arts, like music, literature or art?
I am very much influenced by art, specially artists like Donald Judd, not only by their work but by their life philosophy as well.
How does architecture incorporate the psychology of people?
Architecture creates the frame for human activity, in some cases architecture can influence them by making them emotional, in other cases It relaxes them, or soothes them. I think both states are important to achieve in a hotel.
What do you hope for the future of architecture?
I hope that It helps us live a better life and that It goes beyond the élite clientele which today makes it possible.
Name a young architect we should be keeping our eyes on.
I would keep and eye to Manuel Cervantes, a young Mexican architect who is doing amazing work.
What’s your favorite spot at The Cape, the place that you feel is the most surprising to guests?
The arrival experience is breathtaking, a complete surprise and a gift at the same time. The most surprising space is The Black Labyrinth at The Spa, it is totally unexpected and plays deeply on the emotions of the visitor.
Describe The Cape in three words.
Clearly a Rebel.