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Back to Italy with a scholarship in architecture

Interview with YACademy’s student Javier Orlando Mora Pedraza

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You participated in the “Architecture for Landscape” course at YACademy in 2021. What were the highlights of your career after that experience?


When I participated in the 2021 edition of the Architecture for Landscape course, we were dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, for that reason the lectures and activities were completely online. Despite this situation, we took advantage of virtuality in the best way, allowing us to work on a project to requalify a castle in France together with young architects from all over the world. During the development of the project I was studying at my university, therefore that experience helped me to enrich and grow in different aspects, not only related to architecture. Once the course was completed, all the knowledge acquired, especially about landscape, helped me to develop a thesis that received recognition not only at the university but also in the community in which it was developed. Once the situation was normalized, I had the opportunity to do a 3-month internship at the studio of the architect Edoardo Milesi in Italy, Archos, which was my first international work experience in a studio with great recognition. Thanks to that experience I was able to enrich my profile, and once I returned to Colombia I was able to participate in an important project with a public entity, called The National Professional Council of Architecture.

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Edoardo Milesi & ARCHOS studio is especially renowned for being attentive to sustainability and social commitment. Is there a part of their philosophy or approach that has deeply influenced your way of working?


The experience in the studio of Arch. Milesi has deeply influenced me, especially his work ethic, where aspects such as sustainability and social care, which today are fancy terms used to promote projects, are intrinsic values that are present in all projects, from the smallest to the largest scale. One of the aspects that has impressed me the most and that I have tried to learn is his “precision”. The architect Milesi is a man of few words, but when he speaks, he expresses his ideas clearly. This aspect is reflected in his work, where the projects are able to transmit those values without the need to resort to extravagant or unconventional stratagems. That simplicity and precision make it seem that his projects could not have been any other way.

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You have obtained a scholarship from the Italian government called “Invest your talent in Italy.” Could you tell us more about this initiative?


The “Invest your talent in Italy'' scholarship is an initiative of the Italian government that seeks to promote professional training in the fields of architecture, engineering, and design in developing countries, one of which is Colombia. The scholarship includes many advantages, such as being able to study in the most recognized universities in Italy, along with an exemption from educational costs and a monthly payment for maintenance. The selection process is very demanding and, in general, a large number of people apply, with very few being favored. I think that the course I took at Yacademy on landscape architecture helped me not only to improve my English and Italian but also allowed me to get working experience in the Archos studio, elements that were valued by the committee and that helped me to be beneficiary of the scholarship. Thanks to this, today I am attending the Master's Degree in Sustainable Architecture and Landscape Design at the Politecnico di Milano, and it also allowed me to develop my skills again in Arch. Milesi’s studio, allowing me to simultaneously develop my skills as an architect in the academic and work fields.

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You have participated in several projects during your collaboration with Edoardo Milesi & ARCHOS studio. Could you describe some of them in more detail?


I consider myself lucky for being able to collaborate with the Archos studio, an enriching and stimulating space where the practice of architecture is consolidated together with research in the field of art, carried out by one of the initiatives of Arch. Milesi, the magazine “Artapp”. Thanks to this I have had the opportunity to participate in a wide range of projects. In the architectural field, I have been able to provide support in the development of different projects in Tuscany, especially some canteens. This experience has been enriching because it has allowed me to learn about the wine culture, an aspect unknown in my country of origin. I also had the enormous fortune of being able to participate in a landscape project, applying the knowledge that I am currently studying further. At the same time, I have not only helped in the elaboration of graphic content but also worked with plastic models, which allowed an exploration of materiality at different levels. I also had the opportunity to help the architect Milesi in research on the urban development of one of the most traditional neighborhoods in Bergamo, Borgo Santa Caterina, which will be published in the future.


You have already achieved some great results in your career as an architect. What are your next goals for the future?

When I started studying for my Bachelor's degree in architecture, I was fascinated by landscaping. For that reason, I was looking forward to enriching that curiosity in different ways, for example by participating in the course in landscape proposed by Yacademy, and then returning to Italy for my Master's Degree at the Politecnico di Milano on the subject. During this period, working in Edoardo Milesi’s studio and studying at the academy at the same time was very valuable. For my growth as a landscape architect, in the future, I would like to strengthen professional activity along with research that can be carried out inside university classrooms. I am always trying to enrich my training as a landscaper, and I have found in Italy a stimulating environment in all aspects.

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