Architecture student and artist Silvia Garcia blends sketch and collage work to create mixed-media architectural drawings. Her Balenciaga-inspired mixed-media sketch. 

Barcelona architecture student, Silvia Garcia's, mixed-media architectural sketches have recently gained attention a continent away from her home in Spain. Meow Magazine, the Mexico-based fashion magazine, published Garcia's work in promotion of the exhibition of iconic Spanish fashion designer Cristobal Balenciaga's work at the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City. The Mexico City exhibit marks first time Balenciaga's work has been showcased in Latin America.

I sat down at Kindness and Mischief Coffee here in Highland Park to interview Garcia over a cup of joe-- or, well l was at K&M, Garcia was at her favorite cafe in Barcelona, Foxy Bar. I asked Garcia, who studies at Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura de Barcelona, about Balenciaga, discovering her love of architecture, and what's hot in Barcelona's architecture scene right now.

What do you love about Foxy bar and their coffee?

Its relaxed and easygoing atmosphere. I don’t like coffee but I’m a teaholic!

Foxy Bar, Barcelona. image via @wearefoxy

Do you have a favorite place in Barcelona where you like to sketch?

I sketch when I see something I like whether it is on the street, in a cafe, at a friend’s home…

What inspired you to become an architect?

I remember as a kid going to design and architecture showrooms with my mum and really liking it. When I grew up I realized  architecture fulfilled many of the things I was interested in. I’m passionate for it.

A lot of Balenciaga’s work, his dresses particularly, are very structural and linear - as an architect, how do you relate to his work?

I relate to his work in terms of simplicity and accuracy.

Balenciaga coat. image via Museo Arte Moderno

Balenciaga was an expert in tailoring and construction, not just design. Similarly, is it important for architects to know about all aspects of a building?

Yes, definitely it is. It all works together. You can’t create a good design if you’re focused only on how it’s going to look, because it will fall apart if it doesn’t have a good structure behind it. And vice versa, if you only think about the structural aspects you might end up with say, an ugly facade and, let’s be honest, beautiful things matter. It’s a long and difficult process where you have to speak a lot of languages at the same time: design, construction, installations, materials… but it the end when you see the results all the pain is worth it.

Obviously Barcelona is known for its Gaudi architecture but what are some of your favorite pieces of modern architecture?

The ones I like the most are the works of the catalán offices H arquitectes, Bonell+Dòriga and Arquitectura-G all of them for their high sense of construction, details, and the use of “common materials.” They turn day-to-day materials into amazing living spaces.

House 1101, H Arquitectes. image via archidaily

Additional works by Silvia Garcia


Architecture influenced by Case Study House architects like Pierre Koenig and Richard Neutra. Furniture and interior design influenced by 1950s Nordic design.

Influenced by Brazilian buildings, like the "Edificio Louveira" from Vilanova Artigas, and "Casa Baeta" from the same architect, and its colorful designs.

Influenced Brazilian and catalan architecture, with windows from a Sao Paulo art gallery, chairs and background from the catalan office of Arquitectura-G.