Friday Five with Francisco Gonzalez Pulido

Francisco Gonzalez Pulido, Founder and Principal of FGP Atelier, lists architect, urban designer, educator, and author among his titles. Science guides his work in a unique way by unifying research and development, architecture and design, engineering, and advanced technology. Gonzalez Pulido approaches each project by analyzing the problem and searching for its essence before arriving at a solution, sketching out the form it will take as well as how it will integrate lightness, sustainability, transparency, dialogue, and support of culture and community. Since founding FGP Atelier in 2017, Gonzalez Pulido has led the design of new projects ranging in scale from a bespoke celebrity hair salon in Los Angeles to an arena for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians in Traverse City, Michigan, a culinary institute in Puebla, Mexico, the transformation of a 17th century home in Oaxaca, Mexico into an art gallery, and mixed-use towers in Guadalajara, Mexico and Pittsburgh, USA. But the crown jewel may very well be his latest project – Estadio Diablos is Mexico City’s largest and most valuable baseball stadium. In this week’s Friday Five, Gonzalez Pulido shares a few of his favorites with us.

1. Guitars
I have a very intimate relationship with each one of these 22, I have never felt that I own them and I like that feeling. They are free. Sometimes I just go to my guitar studio to be in their company. It is like being with a really talented bunch of characters. Each one has its own ‘voice’ and ‘personality’. What we can do together is based on the chemistry of a particular moment, as each one speaks to me differently. I love their forms and how different they feel in my shoulders and my hands. With eyes closed I can recognize them by their weight, temperature, and sound. Some of them are as old as 60 years, as they age their sound gets better and it is fascinating to sense how time reveals their essence.

2. The Sun
The Sun’s silent influence in our lives is a wonderful gift, the Aztecs certainly knew. Hopping in the back of my father’s pickup truck on road trips was a big thing for me when I was a kid. The memory is still untouched, and it was all about the feeling of the sun in my face while staring at the vastness of those landscapes. Running in Wicker Park and drawing on my roof terrace at home is an essential part of my life for the same reason. It’s all about the connection with those childhood memories which makes me feel positive and creative.

3. To wander
Wandering sounds easier than it is in reality. There is something powerful in embarking on a journey without a plan. In our effort to connect our cities and explain everything along the way, we have erased a fundamental experience from our lives. Wandering is about losing North, it is a form of stopping time and finding purpose again.

4. Industrial Blocks
Both my office and my guitar studio are located on the west side of Chicago (3 blocks away from each other). I always wanted to be there, surrounded by ‘tough’ buildings. There is so much beauty and meaning in their functionalist nature. An early Sunday morning motorcycle ride or an afternoon walk through their alleys spent hunting their nuances, asymmetries, rooftop equipment and water tanks has always been an essential part of why I love Chicago. It calms a visual thirst that I can’t explain otherwise. Like my guitars, ‘tough’ buildings also have a voice that is expressed through their gates, processes, machines in motion, and physical needs for energy, water, and ventilation. They are buildings with a reason and it is that honesty that makes them stunning.

5. Dinner at Home
My office is in Chicago, but at the moment my work is overseas. Spending time with Gergana (my wife) and Fabricio (my son) during dinner grounds me to fundamental things, it makes life real again. In Mexico we love, die, fight, dream, build, and un-build the world around the table. The importance of those moments in our lives is everlasting. Through food we open emotions, it is a ceremony and a mystery.

All photos courtesy of Francisco Gonzalez Pulido