Yesterday, November 11th, 2020, our CEO Patricia Garcia connected with Luis Tena for just little over an hour long interview as part of Architect-US Interview Series. They went over his work at wHY Architecture in Los Angeles, to meeting the ex-Mayor of Malibu while surfing and building his new house, to his experience building his own studio in Malibu after 8 years in Los Angeles.
In the beginning of the interview Luis begins talking about some of the cool new tech that he has been experimenting with in order to give his clients the best outcomes. For example, 3D printers and using it for design process and for final product can make your process faster and more detailed. While the interview was happening, the 3D print he was working on took 48 hours!! This love for new technology and architecture comes from his Dad, who is an architect too. At a young age, Luis loved robots and computers, and as he was starting to decide his career direction, he decided to become an architect, instead of an Engineer.
Curso Zero, an after-school program that allows High Schoolers to experiment with different careers without having to confirm their full interest. Luis was able to experiment with the role of being an architect, and his excellence in Math and Geometry made it easy for him and he enjoyed applying these new concepts into a project. His career transformation, in his opinion, is always happening and each project shapes the architect he is and will become.
When making the decision to work in the USA and apply for the J1 visa, his friend Laura gave him the information and know-how to make the correct decisions when applying to firms. For example, Laura used the J1 visa for a scholarship, which limits your ability to come back to the USA and work for over 2 years. Luis instead, only focused on using the J1 visa for work at wHY Architecture and thus he had an easier time with future visas.
Now Luis has been able to become a more vocal and important member of his local Malibu Architecture scene. When he was looking for work in the USA, he was only focused on Los Angeles cause of his love for surf, and was not so focused on the actual firm he got work with. His experience of moving up in companies was defined by the role of listening and learning how to work their way, yet also having the ability to communicate your new ideas. Determination and attitude is very important when at a firm, especially when learning so many new techniques and ideas. His experience working with Kulapat Yantrasast was fundamental in his improvement of his design skills.
Some of the difficulties that Luis encountered working in Los Angeles is how expensive it is to build due to differing infrastructure and thus planning for each neighborhood can be timely. Luis also mentioned that permits are crucial, and he wanted to gain more experience in the construction phase, which lead him to work at Studio PCH helped him with learning about construction and how to make the building work. Construction is one of the most important parts in his opinion.
Now he is currently working on a hotel at his studio, Luis Tena Design. He loves working with wood and in the US it is used often in the industry, yet now he is looking more and more into alternative materials in order to be fire resistant. Luis emphasized that your client-architect relationships are very interesting because they all provide different perspectives and he has learned so much from meeting new clients. Moving to a new country forces you to be outgoing and use your hobbies to find new opportunities. For example, Luis used his surfing passion to find a new client, and he met the ex-mayor of Malibu while surfing.
Learn more about his recommendations for those Young Professionals looking for their calling, his perspective on the future of the Architecture industry in terms of the role of Technology, and how he uses his hobbies to help him with networking!!
If you have any questions for him, please submit them below and we will respond ASAP! 👇👇👇👇