There's Still a Place for AutoCAD: Interview with Featured Tutor Francisco Castellanos

Licensed architect, Francisco Castellanos, is our latest Featured Tutor and gives his take on Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, AutoCAD and ways to keep growing as an architect and designer. Francisco Castellanos_Headshot Digital-Tutors: Could you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself and some of the work you are currently working on? Francisco Castellanos: Well I’m an architect currently working at an architecture firm in Paris. Right know I’m working on project for an office building in Stratsbourg, France. Digital-Tutors: How did you get started in the industry? As a child, I had the opportunity to watch the whole construction process of my parent’s house, and so from that moment I knew I wanted to grow and became an architect. 1 Digital-Tutors: You also tutored while at University in Monterrey. What was your favorite piece of advice you gave to your students then that you could give to Digital-Tutors members now? I always like to say that you don’t have to be scared to make a mistake by trying something new (tools, options, techniques, etc) because at the end that is what Ctrl+Z was made for. You should also always make the software work for you, I mean you have to feel free to set it up and customize it as you want, because if you find yourself comfortable working with it you will make a better job. Digital-Tutors: You have participated in quite a few competitions. Which was the most rewarding and why? I would say the competition of a footbridge for a small city in France. It was very satisfying to know that we won the competition, and, as a matter of fact, its construction will begin next year. It will be really great to be able to see the whole process, from its design conception all the way to its physical construction. It totally rounds it up. 4 Digital-Tutors: How do you continue to grow as an architect? Well, the job of an architect, by its own nature, keeps you growing. Every new project is a new challenge, and you never stop learning new things. Also I like to be aware of what’s happening around the world. For that, I try to go to conferences, expositions, surf through different architecture blogs, reading books and magazines. I think it is easy for me, because besides architecture being my profession, it is also my hobby. Digital-Tutors: What are some trends that you see happening in the industry? Is there any specific technology or trend that you are excited about that will change the way you design? Since some years ago, BIM software is becoming the new trend. Their efficiency and multiple options are what are catching the attention from architects to engineers. The great thing about them is they can save you a lot of work time and as in all industries time is money. 5 Digital-Tutors: Many firms are seeing an increased demand for Autodesk Revit from clients. Is there still a place for AutoCAD and what does that look like? I think there is still a lot of room for AutoCAD, and you can work with both it and Revit without any problem. The key element about AutoCAD is that it is the most well-known and most used CAD software of all. As an architect, you work with different enterprises and almost all of them work with AutoCAD. Digital-Tutors: You include a quote by Louis Kahn in your portfolio, “Architecture is so many things at once, and yet is somehow more than all of them”. How has Kahn affected your approach to architecture? It’s a little bit difficult to give a short answer to this question, but mainly what I have learned from Kahn is that architecture is the sum of a lot of things put together for one purpose. So, every single part of a project should work in order to achieve that purpose. And at the end if this purpose, this intention, is clear and good then all the parts of it will find their place by themselves. 6 Digital-Tutors: If you weren’t an architect, what would you be doing? I have never seen myself doing some else other than architecture, but it would for sure be something related to arts, something involving a kind of artistic expression. I’m a big fan of photography and cinema, so perhaps something around those areas. Digital-Tutors: What’s next for you? For the immediate future, I see myself where I am. I’m very happy and excited with the work I’m doing. Later, a few years from now, I would really like to move to another place, get to learn different cultures and most of all different approaches to architecture. 7 Digital-Tutors: Anything else you would like to share before we leave? Well, I would just like to encourage all members of Digital Tutors to try different tutorials from time to time. I think watching stuff that is not totally related to what you do can give you that spark of inspiration you were looking for. Digital-Tutors: Thank you for your time, Francisco! See more from Francisco now by visiting his portfolio and watching his AutoCAD tutorial on Getting Started in AutoCAD.