Air Miles with Ricardo Pomphile

1 Jul 2022 by Hannah Brandler
Ricardo Pomphile

Ricardo Pomphile is co-director of Open House Buenos Aires and a practicing architect.

What is Open House?

The Open House programme is one of the largest live architecture exhibitions, which takes place in cities around the world. It’s free-of-charge to the general public. This year marks our tenth edition in Buenos Aires. It’s going to be a big celebration, and we are trying to reach 200 sites located in almost every neighbourhood of the city.

We are also working with the Buenos Aires Biennale to reach the mass public, and we are trying to focus on the problems and opportunities in Buenos Aires, especially after the pandemic.

What attracted you to architecture?

It was a familiar thing. My father is an architect, and I was surrounded by construction sites throughout my childhood. I was also always curious about everything that has to do with design, graphics etc. In my view, architecture is the mother of all designs.

What locations have you visited for work?

I get in touch with the local Open House association every time I travel. I have visited Valencia, Rome, San Diego, New York, Santiago de Chile and Rosario – the last three for their own Open House events.

What's your favourite building in Buenos Aires?

It’s a hard call. Buenos Aires is full of beautiful buildings. I would say the Banco Hipotecario, designed by Studio SEPRA and architect Clorindo Testa.

If I had to choose a historic example, it would be Edificio de renta ‘Bencich’ designed by Eduardo Le Monnier. Our Open House office is located there, and it’s great to visit it every week.

And abroad?

One that keeps my attention is the Ford Foundation building in New York, designed by Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo and Associates.

What's the most exciting building in Open House?

Barrio Parque Los Andes, designed by architect Fermin Bereterbide, because of its historic context – how it has changed throughout the years from social housing in the early days to one of most in-demand spaces to live in. 

Where did you last travel to?

I visited Italy for the first time – I have Italian ancestry – and spent six months there. I spent most of the time in little towns near Rome but I also travelled with my brother all the way from Venice to Cosenza to visit our great grandfather’s town, Longobucco. We passed by Rome, Naples, Pompeii, the Amalfi coast, and finally Longobucco and Bari.

What's been your most rewarding travel experience?

The first Open House worldwide conference in London. All the Open House organisers from around the world were in one place, sharing experiences and visions about their own cities. It was really inspiring. We also used the visit to take a month-long trip around Europe with the Buenos Aires crew – we are good friends since architecture college.

And most challenging?

A six-month trip to Charlotte North Carolina as an exchange student. I was attending to the last semester of high school there. I think it sparked the beginning of my travelling curiosity.

What's your dream destination?

Japan. I’m planning a trip there but I don’t know when yet.

What's your indispensable travel gadget?

A camera.

What's your in-flight entertainment pick?

Mostly music and movies. Also books to inspire a future trip.

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