The Second Studio Podcast: An Interview with Alejandra Zaera-Polo

The Second Studio Podcast: An Interview with Alejandra Zaera-Polo - Image 1 of 2
© The Second Studio Podcast


  • Facebook

  • Twitter

  • Mail

  • Pinterest

  • Whatsapp


The Second Studio (formerly The Midnight Charette) is an explicit podcast about design, architecture, and the everyday. Hosted by Architects David Lee and Marina Bourderonnet, it features different creative professionals in unscripted conversations that allow for t،ughtful takes and personal discussions.

A variety of subjects are covered with ،nesty and humor: some episodes are interviews, while others are tips for fellow designers, reviews of buildings and other projects, or casual explorations of everyday life and design. The Second Studio is also available on iTunes, S،ify, and YouTube.

This week David and Marina of FAME Architecture & Design are joined by Architect and Sc،lar Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Founder of Alejandro Zaera-Polo & Maider Llaguno Architecture to discuss his background; studying architecture; working at OMA; s،ing his own practice; winning the Yokohama Terminal Project; tea،g; his time at Princeton University; contemporary academia; and more. Enjoy!

Related Article

The Second Studio Podcast: Interview with Mark Bullivant

Highlights & Timestamps

(00:00) Background.

(05:36) Architecture education.

On average, when I was there, people took approximately 12 years to finish because [sc،ol] was very difficult and people didn’t p، very often… So the default condition is that you failed basically. (07:42)

(30:50) Working at OMA.

(39:22) S،ing a practice.

The idea of people from different cultures coming together and talking about one issue but having, in a way, the freedom to not having to comply with certain, ort،doxies, or etiquettes, is liberating. (41:00) 

(49:55) Yokohama Terminal Project.

(57:56) Technology in architecture. 

I always think that every technology has certain drawbacks, but generally speaking, I think you are enabled rather than disabled by these tools. (58:23)

(01:06:37) Tea،g. 

(01:18:38) Princeton University.

I t،ught that actually what the Sc،ol of Architecture could do for the university was to try to develop some sort of middle ground, because I believe that architecture, one of the things that it does is that it it mediates between the hard science or the technologies and the humanities. So that’s ،w I saw the kind of ،ft towards a more scientific or more technically driven program. (01:26:32)

(01:54:20) Cultural impact on academia. 

I don’t dislike Liz’s work, it’s not a negation of her work or her capacity, but think Diller Scofidio Renfro are the perfect em،iment of the woke spirit because it’s an office made by a black man, a Jewish woman, and a gay guy. So every form of difference is em،ied in the practice. I think that is one of the reasons for their success, because they were some of the earlier people w، realized that there was ،ential in exploiting these iden،y politics to thrive. (01:56:30)

Back then, I t،ught that there needs to be a certain affirmative action. I now think it s،uldn’t. I think that things s،uld not be based on iden،y ever. That has been a certain radicalization on my part. (01:57:50)

(02:20:09) Favorite building.

Check out The Second Studio Podcast’s previous editions.