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Francisco Gonzalez-Pulido is an internationally recognized architect who hails from Mexico.

For the past 15 years, Francisco has worked for JAHN Architects, where he shares design leadership of the firm’s work. His approach to building design focuses on minimalism and the essentials.

Francisco holds degrees from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He has lectured at universities, museums and architectural forums around the world and taught an integrated design studio at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

This story originally ran in the Fall/Winter 2013 CAF Member Magazine.

If you could collaborate with any historic Chicago architect, who it would be and why?

Burnham, but not because of his Beaux Arts infatuations, but rather for his big personality and all the little innovations that shaped the future of the skyscraper.

What is Chicago’s biggest built environment challenge?

When I came to Chicago, it was the boldness of its past that attracted me. And with few exceptions; it troubles me to see what is getting built these days and how little it contributes to enrich not only the image, but most important, the life and experience of the city. Buildings are designed to fit lifestyles, which unfortunately keeps reinforcing the idea of a disposable culture, and this is not the way one builds a great place. The good things about Chicago or any other place in fact, whether material or immaterial, are not ephemeral, but are timeless. So the challenge is the creation of meaning again.

What is the one project type you have not worked on yet but would like to design?

A space station.

If you were not an architect, what would you be?

Composer or film director. In opposition to architecture, I love the fact that what they do has little to none physical matter and lives in our minds forever.

How do you believe CAF inspires people to discover why design matters?

When I get visitors from abroad, it impresses me how much they talk about the tours, especially kids, they get so specific and passionate that one realizes how transformative the experience has been. They go back to their own cities and compare, the impact of this experience goes beyond what we can imagine, they become the “voices” of what it takes to have a city like Chicago.