Profile of ACXT, headquartered in Spain. Eight projects submitted by ACXT have been published on Architecture News Plus (ANP).
ACXT is a group of professionals that was created with the idea of offering convincing answers to the usual questions: what is the reason for and the basis of architecture? Where does the quality principle lie? In what terms is authorship recognized and established? How do we deal with the impact of a global, specialized and multicultural society? How does all this fit in with the quest for beauty? Its members share the need to deal with these questions from a professional model different from that currently on offer: the small scale single man studio or the classic by-products created under the protection of the star system. The shifting of the social, economic and cultural context suggests the need for the reconsideration of the traditional organizational schemes. ACXT stimulates — convinced of its potential — a new model based on the synthesis of a double work pattern during the creative process. On the one hand, the individual’s unique suggestions and on the other, the complex and heterodox sum of interdisciplinary team work, an overlapping mixture of creative decisions always open to unforeseen and unexpected contributions of collective work.
ACXT emerged linked to IDOM group, as an extension in the world of architecture of the principles that inspired its foundation and has continued functioning for over forty years. In an attempt to exceed the existing offer on the market, its work covers from the architect’s studio model to that of the services company.
ACXT was conceived from the enthusiasm of those who desire to be architects in the thriving field of a multidisciplinary team. It has the intention of boosting and respecting the capabilities and skills of all team members, acknowledging the professional contributions of each individual. It is a complex balance of shared interests in an attempt to push boundaries, trying to include and recognize the contributions of all.
From this point of view, the work carried out by ACXT can be understood as the result of a professional coexistence that respects the personality and singularity of its members and shares some policies. The existence of these policies does not prevent projects from being conceived by authors and teams with genuine personality and character, a recognizable style.
ACXT promotes a systemic and transversal approach; work conceived from the broadest and most holistic conception possible; a revision of the solipsistic idea of architecture understood as a process where only what is transitive predominates: the product, the result of an enthusiastic artist’s work. ACXT felt the need to overcome that approximation that reduced culture to product-related terms, a great stockroom of objectified creative material.
We took interest in a process that also considered the intransitive reality of the creative process. The incorporation into the creation activity of the human praxis itself, the construction of one’s self while putting products together and transforming the world.
ACXT wasn’t conceived from the imperative and obsessive necessity of inventing. It is also free from the pressure of having to surprise, in the sense of putting on a show or display. All it tries to do is to offer a solution to an interior need of carrying out a responsible practice of our profession.
ACXT was set up as an association of professionals. More than four hundred people work at ACXT today, more than half of them being architects. Engineers are also involved: civil, mechanical, electrical, agricultural…, biologists, experts in acoustics, illumination, telecommunications, costs, building site organization, graphic designers or IT technicians. Due to the problems caused by specialization and the development of technology, we seek solutions that integrate them right from the beginning, in the project conception stage.
Knowledge is shared and participation and collaboration is encouraged. Communication and open debate during a common professional project, sometimes virtual, others physical. A project where cooperation is a must, favouring a better personal development, avoiding exaggerated personal ambition and, above all, based on generosity, a key factor for the balance of overall interests. What is daily routine like in a heterogeneous group of professionals such as this? How are the different and sometimes contrary interests balanced out?
ACXT is structured, at a first physical level, around a series of offices located all over the world: Barcelona, Bilbao, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Mexico, Pamplona, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Seville, Valencia, Vitoria, Zaragoza… Its concept of a network of associated professionals allows it to grow and expand without the reservations caused by size and geographical dispersion. Each office has a team that overlaps its management duties with its technical task. These people carry out their jobs with the idea of making the whole thing work and encouraging the development of people.
Another organizational dimension recognizes technical specialization, knowledge. Horizontally organized work teams grouped by specialization are in charge of professional and technical development of team members. These groups make the most of previous experience, develop tools and guarantee technical quality from horizontal dynamics.
The final key to the excellence of ACXT and its work lies in the sense of responsibility of all its members.
Its property structure is regulated by an associative agreement between professionals. The ownership of the group is in the hands of professionals who work for the firm. All individuals who carry out their work in ACXT, regardless of their role, have a right to become associates after a certain period of time and can therefore take part in the ownership and the benefits.
ACXT operates following this policy under the legal form of a public limited company since 1994. It serves over 500 clients from many different sectors. These figures imply that it is the biggest architecture group in Spain, and one of the few worldwide with such a radical multidisciplinary approach. The London magazine Building Design, in its 2010 annual ranking BD World Architecture top 100, placed ACXT in position 37 of the most important firms worldwide by number of architects.