Rubén Valdez (b. 1986) holds a masters degree in architecture from the Academy of Architecture of Mendrisio and a masters degree in fine arts from the École Cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL). He is based between Switzerland and Mexico. His practice spans architecture, contemporary art, teaching and publishing.
As an architect, Rubén has designed and realised projects of diverse types and scales. Each commission – whether a home, gallery, restaurant or hotel – is both a one-off and part of a constantly evolving body of work and thought. He collaborates regularly on projects with artists, including scenography and sculptural installations.
Rather than being rooted in one particular style, Rubén’s practice is varied in form and materiality. Projects are united by a prevailing interest in how spaces are activated or deactivated, their affordances, their relationship with plan and material and how they shape and are shaped by the people using them.
Rubén’s work is also defined by an active engagement with education and publishing. These strands both inform and are informed by his architectural projects, producing a space of reflection and dialogue between critical discourse, pedagogy and the realities of practice.
In 2016 he joined the Atelier de la Conception de l’Espace (ALICE) at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) as first year studio director. Since 2017 he has been Head of Design Research within the department. In his role he leads the conception and implementation of experimental projects that explore the spatial possibilities of the built environment through works ranging in scale from the object to the urban.
Rubén sits on the editorial board of CARTHA magazine, a non-profit publishing platform founded in 2015 that maps the contemporary architectural landscape through discussions around architecture and its role in society. CARTHA has also published several books and participated in numerous exhibitions and conferences including the Lisbon Triennial and the Venice Biennale.
Recent awards include first prize in the idea competition for a new contemporary art hall and public space in the Plateforme 10 museum cluster in Lausanne, Switzerland and a nomination in the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize 2022 for the Paradero Todos Santos Hotel, Mexico.
2021 Plateforme 10 Art Hall, Lausanne, CH [Competition, 1st prize]
2021 Private Residence, Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, MX [with Yashar Yektajo]
2021 Paradero Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, MX [with Yashar Yektajo]
2021 Forde Gallery, Geneva, CH [with curatorial team Forde 2021-2022]
2020 Xokol restaurant, Guadalajara, MX [Under construction, with ODAmx and Yashar Yektajo]
2018 Agarradiablo, St Gallen, CH [Art piece with Gina Proenza]
2016 Pabellón El Eco, Mexico City, MX [Competition, finalist]
2013 Gonzalez House, Zacatecas, MX
2012 Juarez House, Guadalajara, MX
2012 Cima House, Guadalajara, MX
Selected lectures & conferences
2022 Spatial Relations, EPFL, Lausanne, CH
2021 L’architecte constructor de l’espace , Tunis, TN
2020 Notions of Spatial Configuration, ECAL, Lausanne, CH
2020 Design and independent publishing, ZHDK, Zurich, CH [With Cartha]
2019 Cartha an independent editorial platform, CIVA, Brussels, BE [With Cartha]
2018 An alternative future, Gulbenkian foundation, Lisbon, PT [With Cartha]
2017 Independent publishing and critical thinking, Arkdes, Stockholm, SE [With Cartha]
2016 Joseph Beuys & La Petatera parallel cosmographies, EPFL, Lausanne, CH
Selected exhibitions and Jurys
2021 Guest Jury ENSAV, Versailles, FR
2020 Hit Journal, Espace Hit, Geneva, CH [With Cartha]
2020 Typology of intimacy, Visarte, Basel, CH
2019 Espacio de arquitectura Liga: Maquinas imaginantes, Mexico City, MX
2019 Protect me from what I want, Kunsthalle St. Gallen, CH [With Gina Proenza]
2017 Books-Now, Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York, USA [With Cartha]
2016 Pabellón El Eco 2016, Museo El Eco, Mexico City, MX
2016 Swiss Art Awards, Basel, CH [With Cartha]
2016 Making heimat, German Pavilion of the 15th Venice Biennale, IT [With Cartha]
2016 Lisboa Paralela, Lisbon Architecture triennale, Lisbon, PT. [With Cartha]
2015 Life is a bed of roses, Fondation Ricard, Paris, FR
2022 Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize: Nominee to be awarded in 2023
2021 Idea competition for Plateforme 10, an art hall and public space in Lausanne : 1st prize
2021 Unesco Versailles Prize North America, Prize for exterior spaces, Paradero Todos Santos
2021 Dezeen’s top 10 hotels of 2021
2021 Architectural Digest’s 2021 Hotel Awards: 2nd best new opening of 2021
2021 Hospitality Design Awards 2021: Best public spaces
2016 Swiss Art Awards: Finalist [With Cartha Magazine]
2015 Walter & Eve Kent prize for contemporary art
Selected press and publications
Typology of Intimacy. An Emotional Catalog of Booths, Francisco M. Veiga, Mbooks, Apr. 2022
Domus web, A lush hortus conclusus amidst the desert sands, Mar. 2022
Arquine, Paradero Todos Santos, Feb. 2022
Architectural Digest Mexico no.253, Oda al Paisaje, Jul 2021
AMC. no.297, Alcôves Paysagères, Jun 2021
Vogue Paris no.1016, Treasures à la carte, May 2021
Travel & Leisure: It List 2021, Our Editors’ Picks of the Best New Hotels in the World, Apr. 2021
Dezeen: Concrete structures form Paradero Hotel on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. Mar. 2021
Condé Nast Traveler : Paradero Todos Santos, First In , Feb. 2021
The New York Times, The T List: Five Things We Recommend This Week, Nov. 2020