TUDelft application

Below you can find the portfolio and motivation letter I prepared to apply.


Martín Fernández de Córdova - Portfolio

Motivation Letter

Motivation for Architecture as my master’s programme

In the course of my bachelor degree, I’ve always wanted to continue studying architecture and never change the direction of my studies. Once finished with university I would like to practice as an architect.

I decided to study architecture because of various different reasons. One of the things I enjoy very much of architecture is the relationship between scientific and humanistic themes. I very much wish that in the future I will be able to design buildings that will be harmonious between scientific and humanistic characteristics and at the same time relate respectfully to the context. I’ve heard from various friendships that have studied in TU Delft that the university is well balanced in this sense and that the needs of the built environment are tackled in a realistic and objective way. I feel that doing my masters in TU Delft will help to prepare me to be able to understand and provide answers to the most urgent social and technological needs of the built environment.

My father is an architect and I’ve seen him work as I grew up. I’ve always admired him for the amount of things he needs to do and the knowledge this requires. Not only does he often needs to go to construction sites to see the progress of buildings but he also leads an office and deal with engineers, clients, building regulations, etc. From having been able to understand how my father works, I concluded that I enjoy very much the way an architect needs to work. It’s not only the purely architectural design part which fascinates me but also all the other knowledge that an architect needs to acquire in order to perform as one.

Why I wish to pursue this program abroad

The time I’ve spent in Switzerland has been very beneficial as I’ve learned countless interesting things about architecture, art, and science but I feel that confronting a new university and people will help me develop the knowledge I have of architecture even more.

Before studying in Switzerland I’ve lived all my life in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Despite the fact of having grown up in Bolivia, I always felt quite attached to Europe as my mother is from Slovenia. Each time we went to Slovenia for vacations I was amazed by all the huge airports we passed by and the way life itself was completely different from South America.

Europe seemed (in fact, it is) so much more organised and clean. In the last year of secondary school I was eager to leave Bolivia because I couldn’t stand all the chaos that occurs in politics, education, and the city itself. When I finally entered university in Switzerland, I was blown away by the quality of education and the country. In Bolivia, you can’t even think of having a library like the one in my school or the splendid library in TU Delft.

Living in Bolivia is completely different from living in Europe. Being in Switzerland has helped me to regain confidence and assurance of Bolivia. In Switzerland I’ve realised that Bolivia might not have a great economy but people are very eager to collaborate positively for a brighter future. The economical situation is very bad but there are still many ways of applying design to achieve practical needs. I now see returning to Bolivia as a great opportunity to apply the knowledge I’ve acquired here. I believe going to Delft would be an excellent way of gaining more experience.

The year before doing my third year of the bachelor architecture course in Mendrisio I worked in London at the headquarters of Arup. After living in such a dynamic and prosperous city and working for such a huge company coming back to Mendrisio was a bit of a shock. The university in Mendrisio has about 700 students in total and the town where it is located is very small. I would like to experience the incredibly rich student atmosphere that a university like TU Delft has. I want to be able to exchange knowledge with a numerous amount of students studying architecture and feel the vibe of a university like this. Another factor that encourages me to go to Delft is the reopening of the Berlage institute in Delft, this creates even a better study atmosphere as there will be much more lectures to attend and learn from.

The people from the Netherlands also greatly influence my decision on going to Delft. In a way I think I would feel much closer to Dutch people than I do with Swiss due to the fact that the Netherlands is a country much more multicultural than Switzerland. I believe that in the Netherlands and especially in the university of Delft I will find a larger amount of people that are in the same situation as me. By this I mean that it’s more probable I will encounter more people coming from foreign countries.

I feel that leaving Mendrisio would once again recreate the feeling I had when I left Bolivia and arrived to Switzerland. Going to Delft would help me develop as a person with multicultural values. As mentioned before, I would like to expand my knowledge in the way that architecture is thought and developed in order to make my own conclusions and in the future apply them wherever I might be working on a project. I really hope I get the opportunity to move out of Switzerland and do my masters in Delft.

My Hypothetical thesis project

For my hypothetical thesis project I want to do an architecture project that explores the various different levels which one needs to confront in the professional world. By this I mean a project in which I will first need to look at the urban consequences of doing a project in a specific area and then start to define ideas to later on in the design process pass into more detailed drawings and concepts.

I like to think in general terms but I also enjoy looking at details and solve the way things will work. I would like to work on a project that responds to social, economic, and environmental needs of a place and research the possible technologies that could be applied in order to provide a solution to these needs. The technological implementation can take place in many ways, this could be a study which looks at the structure of a building specifically or developing a system of facades and ventilation which would make the building very efficient energetically.

If I were to do a project in Bolivia, I would need to respond to completely different needs in the project as many of the social and economical problems differ a lot to the ones in the Netherlands. In fact, I would need to adopt a very different method of construction in order to raise a building which is useful under those circumstances.

A concrete thesis project which I would be very interested in doing would be a project which would explore the alternative energy supplies of a building focusing largely on the ways to apply them in a South American context.

The architecture programme as a specialization

I choose the architecture programme as a specialisation of the Master of Science in Architecture, Urbanism and Building Sciences because I’m most interested in the design of buildings. Architecture consists very much on team work in which different specialisations have responsibilities over different fields. I’m very interested in urbanism, real estate, building technology, and landscape architecture. Choosing the architecture specialisation does not necessarily mean that I won’t be aware of all the other fields but that I will focus mainly on design itself. The specialisation I choose looks in a more detailed way into the relationship between form and function. I’m interested on how a building is designed and how one can use materials and technology to construct something functional and aesthetically coherent and correct. I believe that an aesthetic building must combine, form, function, materials, structures, and energetic needs, in a harmonious and efficient way.

I am eager to go to Delft as I’m sure that the education I will receive in the Netherlands will be one that will prepare me to address themes in Bolivia, Latin America, or any other continent. With the architecture specialization course I will be capable to generate answers for the future built-environment and be able to thoroughly understand the problems that an architect needs to deal with today. Specializing in architecture will give me the tools to provide the correct solutions for specific places and programs.

Thesis work of architectural program

The last project I will be working on for my bachelor architecture course will deal with the implementation of infrastructure in the greek theatre in Syracuse, Sicily. The project will be guided by the architect Ruggero Tropeano who has been responsible of numerous restorations and constructions. Important projects he has worked on would be the reconstruction and restoration of the Bauhaus building in Dessau and the Villa Tugendhat by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

I chose Tropeano’s atelier because the theme he proposed for the last semester of the bachelor interested me very much. I firmly believe that an architect needs to be prepared to confront projects in circumstances in which the context is the main focus.

Every year between May and June, the Greek theatre recovers it’s antique theatrical function and houses classical shows. The project needs to provide a solution to minimal infrastructures that respond to the needs of visitors. These needs include a ticket office, bathrooms, souvenir shop, dining areas, dressing rooms for the personnel and other essential elements that tend to ruin the historical context but are needed for the realisation of a theatrical show. My thesis project will study the solution to construct structures that work appropriately with the requirements of the theatrical shows but always fully committed to the context.

The thesis work of the bachelor program has a workload of 15 ECTS.