Mansion Global, The Insiders - Rafael Contreras Interview
Before moving to Sydney, Australia, to start his own architectural firm, Peru-born Rafael Contreras was part of "Zaha’s cluster," as he calls it, a group of 15 or 20 people who designed closely with the late Zaha Hadid at Zaha Hadid Architects in London. There, he worked on Tokyo National Stadium and a Beijing airport that's currently under construction.
In Sydney, he co-founded Contreras Earl Architecture together with his partner, Monica Earl, in 2016. She had been working at Foster+Partners previously. The firm has designed many residential projects, including 272 Hedges Avenue, a luxury tower on Australia’s Gold Coast, in addition to three more luxury projects in the area that haven’t yet kicked off.
We caught up with Mr. Contreras to discuss his adopted country, why London real estate is hard to beat, and much more.
Hedges Pedestal Design By Contreras Earl Architecture featured in 272 Hedges Avenue CGi animation - Sunland Group
2018 - 05 - 30
Domain Prestige, Australian Financial Review
There’s something familiar about the organic, curvilinear form of 272 Hedges Avenue, a new waterfront apartment tower coming to Mermaid Beach on the Gold Coast. While there’s a cookie-cutter predictability to the sharp lines and straight edges of southern Broadbeach, 272 Hedges Avenue’s fluid appearance recalls the work of one of architecture’s greats.
Zaha Hadid was known as “the Queen of curve” for her revolutionary approach to architectural geometry. The trailblazing Iraqi-British architect, who died in 2016 at age 65, once said of her style: “The idea is not to have any 90-degree angles”. It is a lesson Rafael Contreras has not forgotten. The Peruvian architect was part of a small team working with the Pritzker Prize winner and Zaha Hadid Architects principal Patrik Schumacher in the firm’s London office.
“She had an extraordinary eye for design and always encouraged us to innovate and to create something new in every single project,” Contreras says.
Two years ago, Contreras started his own architecture and design practice, Contreras Earl Architecture, with Australian architect Monica Earl. The fledgling firm was appointed to design the two-storey pedestal base and communal areas for 272 Hedges Avenue.