Five minutes with Diego Vargas at Habitar

We spent five minutes with Diego Vargas, founder and director of Habitar Architects – a small, Oxford-based architect’s practice that prides itself on use of technology in design.

Even though Habitar is a small company, they punch above their weight on the tech front. At the moment they are using BIM or Building Information Modelling and 3D printing to create their designs but they want to move to using virtual reality. “That’s why it’s great being based at OCFI,” says Diego, “being part of the innovative science and tech community here means that we are neighbours with companies like Oxford VR.” Habitar are continuously investing in new technologies to enhance their design process, recently introducing in-picture measurement for 3D. This year the company is looking at incorporating ‘reality-capture’ to deliver on-the-go 3D image scanning. This will provide 360-degree feedback for their clients, directly from the site. How amazing is that?

Diego trained as an architect in Colombia in 1996 but moved to the UK to develop his career and get additional qualifications. He did a degree in architecture at Oxford Brookes and never left. Initially he worked for other local architect practices but set up Habitar – Spanish for ‘habitat’ by the way – as he wanted to run his own business. Eleven years later, the company has a strong client base and he has a long list of public and private buildings under his belt that he has designed, renovated or refurbished. Diego has just finished a children’s nursery in High Wycombe and is now turning his talents to designing a high-spec residential dwelling in Henley with amazing views of the river. To start the year, he also has a fit out of a swanky restaurant in Lancaster on his books.

As well as exploring new technologies, Diego says he enjoys pushing the boundaries with his design ideas to apply innovative techniques in building construction – such as prefabrication and the use of engineered timber.

But Diego says, “I’m most proud of an arts centre – officially called the Centro Cultural Hector Polania Sanchez – I built in my home town of Pitalito in Colombia which was finished in 2015. It was a labour of love.” The Mayor awarded Diego with the “Orden Cuidad de Pitalito” for his work on the centre, which was especially poignant as he comes from a family of artists, most of whom still live and work locally.

If you want to find out more about Habitar, see: https://www.habitararchitects.co.uk/our-projects/

If you want to find out more about our innovation centres, see: https://theoxfordtrust.co.uk/our-work/our-innovation-centres/