Helpern Architects


Marian Paredes Suarez, who joined Helpern Architects in 2013, is more than a gifted architectural designer who has a knack for hotel design. She is also the subject of a lengthy article in the oldest daily paper in Spain, the Faro de Vigo [1853]. Vigo is a major city in Galicia, in the part of Spain that is just north of Portugal. The Faro de Vigo – the name means “Lighthouse in Vigo” – has a circulation of 304,000.

Besides Vigo, Marian has also worked in Ireland and Italy. Her most glamorous project when she worked in Italy was an office in the Burj Kalifa, the world’s tallest building.

In the article, entitled “The World Needs More Architects, Because We Improve Peoples’ Lives,” she explains that she is in New York because she loves the city but also because it’s so hard to find architecture assignments in Europe. “I love living and working in the United States. I would like to continue my career here. The city is always changing, and projects get built. That’s not happening right now in either Spain or Europe,” she told the Faro in a phone interview.

“Marian is an uncommonly good architect and an accomplished architectural photographer,” comments David Paul Helpern, Helpern Architects’ founder. “We are fortunate to have found her, She is more than welcome to stay with us as long as possible.”

Here is the translation of the article from the Faro:

“The World Needs More Architects, Because We Improve Peoples’ Lives”

This Vigo architect works in an office in New York City, after previous experience in Ireland and Italy

The recession has been hard for architects, but in her case, it became an incentive to challenge herself to work overseas. “I have always been interested in working in other countries. This crisis has been one of the reasons why I decided to move, and it has been the opportunity to grow up, personally and professionally,” says Marian Paredes (b. Vigo 1981), talking from New York City, where she arrived in February 2013 after previous experience working in Ireland, Italy, and Vigo (the city where she was born).

She got her degree in Architecture at Coruña University. Marian links each phase of her professional career with the names of the architects with whom she has worked. In Vigo, she received a Masters degree in Urbanism and Environmental Design, and she worked with Maria Estevez (Summa 7) and Juan Zaballa (ZC Architects).

Her job in the Office of Urbanism and Town Planning of the Vigo City Council gave her the chance to collaborate with Antonio Alonso on a master plan for the city. “I love Vigo, and if I come back some day, I would like to work in Urbanism, because I believe it improves the image of the city and its citizens´ way of life. The economic situation stalled the city plan, but even the fact of its existence will contribute to big changes in the city, and also protect the coastline and green areas.”

Marian started her international career in Cork. After that, she spent six months working in one of the best architecture firms in the north of Italy, where she was involved, among other projects, in the design of an office in the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world. Afterwards, she went back to Spain and worked for a period with Eva Penado.

Finally, Marian decided to move to the Big Apple. “It is important for an architect to know how people from other countries live and work. The more you see, the more solutions you can draw on. Living in different places is a very enriching experience.”

Marian started to work last summer at Helpern Architects, a prestigious architectural office that has such clients as Yale, Columbia, and hotel developers. She first worked in the marketing department of the firm, and now she is involved in the design of a new hotel in Midtown. “I am so excited,” she says.

“I first came to New York when I finished my degree, and I was impressed by this city. Nowadays, I love living and working in the United States. I would like to continue my career here. The city is always changing, and projects get built. That’s not happening right now in either Spain or Europe.”

New York is always a work in progress. “It is a city that was designed completely new from a grid. The history of its development is different from European cities, including its zoning regulations and building codes. In New York it is possible to find a tall skyscraper beside a small church building. People are very conscious of the importance of preserving the built environment, and they are studying how to develop more accessible houses.”

Marian finds that people in United States have a very good opinion of her country. “Spanish materials are considered good quality, and everybody admires our architecture styles. This makes me feel proud.”

Once a month, she meets some friends for lunch at Casa Galicia or Circulo Español, in Queens. “We are a new generation of successful professionals that has decided to move for work. A long time ago, people left their countries with their suitcase; nowadays they do it with their laptops.”