ARCHITECTS

Panama 2017 | CONSTRUCTION & REAL ESTATE | B2B

Architectural firms have an opportunity today to touch thousands of lives with their projects in Panama City.

Eduardo Quintero
EDUARDO QUINTERO
Principal
Forza Creativa
Gustavo Arango
GUSTAVO ARANGO
General Manager
Arango Arquitectos

What are the opportunities currently available for architectural firms in Panama?

Eduardo Quintero There is absolutely a great deal of opportunity for architects here. Panama is a young country and, therefore, new ideas are continuously required to expand the economy. So definitely, an architect who is altruistic can meaningfully touch many people in Panama.

Gustavo Arango For a country that has been growing rapidly for the past eight years, Panama has a large inventory of different types of projects; therefore, this is the moment when only the smartest strategies are rewarded. We are busy because our focus has always been on having innovative projects and being focused on niche markets. We found many clients seeking that approach because if companies do not differentiate their products, they will not do well.

How does your firm contribute to developing innovative architectural projects in the local market?

EQ We are a unique office and not representative of all architecture firms; in our office, we are committed to our goal to only do architecture that will make us and our society proud. We always pay attention to urbanism and sustainability and only take on projects where architecture is a key ingredient to success. Typically, architecture here in Panama is just seen as an obstacle to development; however, we only take on projects where architecture is the main ingredient of success. In general, we try to do architecture that pursues an artistic and a social component. We are successful in being able to marry both; sometimes it is difficult to have an outcome that can both improve lives and also improve the quality of the discourse of urbanism, architecture, and art. Where we can accomplish those things, then these are the projects we take on.

GA We like to believe we help improve people's lives. Relevant design should be about improving people's lives in the same way that we as consumers value things. We do not only purchase things based solely on aesthetics and looks, important as this is. We purchase based on performance and fulfillment of brand promises. Architecture is the same: if a beautiful and innovative buildings leaks every time it rains, then you have failed in the most basic requirements. Architecture should be about improving people's lives and not just appealing to the aesthetic. From day one, we have always been about service; we are client-focused, which is not usually the case with most architecture firms, we are interested in buildings that exceed our clients' expectations. As it is, the market requires that people be attuned to details: 90% of all the projects we do come from repeat clients. We have been investing for 16 years in tailor-made services and solutions for our clients.

What are some of the key projects your firm has been involved in?

EQ The Calle Uruguay project is a seed project and it is important that it is successful to demonstrate its importance to those who resist the idea of widening the sidewalks at the expense of cars. This is particularly important given the introduction of the metro system in our city. The cost of the metro project is close to USD6 billion, which is more money than was budgeted in the expansion of the canal. Therefore, our project is essential to support the people emerging out of the metro stations to walk in the city. Calle Uruguay is centrally located in the vicinity of the metro system. We are excited about not only meeting this transportation necessity, but also the promise of creating spaces for social interaction that will humanize society. This will be a catalyst for the private sector, the public sector, and for people to change their behavior and lifestyles.

GA We designed most of Buenaventura, a premium Panamanian beach resort, and are still working on similar such projects. In Buenaventura, we are currently developing an oceanfront property with 19 units that will each go for USD1.5 million and all units but three have been sold. It is the only beachfront property in what has been so far built of Buenaventura suitable for an apartment building because all the others are independent houses. The time where every project found a buyer is over; for projects to be successful they require the utmost care and developers need to have the best of reputations.