Alejandro Nogueira Takes On “Education City”

November 5, 2007 1:19 am

Inspired by his favorite uncle, as well as the Camino Real Hotel in Mexico City, Alejandro Nogueira, has become part of a revolutionary project. What started out as a simple hobby, rooting from basic hand drawings and the use of Adobe Photoshop, has turned into a lifelong passion that has evolved today to include the use of high end software such as AutoCAD and CINEMA 4D. Within this love, Nogueira feels, “that there is always room for improvement;” leaving his clients with only the best work. The most recent projects represented by Nogueira’s firm (DECC) are 4 blueprints designed by Legorreta + Legorreta for the incredible “Education City,” located in the Arab emirate of Qatar. Education City is a “multiversity;” a global institution in a sense, launched by the Qatar Foundation for Education. The campus is government sponsored in hopes of emphasizing the importance of education while maintaining cultural values and paving the way for a better nation. Tolerance of other cultures and ideas is the central theme, allowing for progress socially, politically, and educationally.


The mosaic art wall of Qatar’s Business School as seen in the final rendering


So far, five American universities have contributed to academic excellence by building schools, aspiring to continue Education City’s advancements, including Carnegie Mellon University, Texas A & M, and Cornell University. Plans for the future include the Sidra Medical and Research Center, which will open in 2010. Buildings are being opened in phases, allowing for immediate use.


Education City’s Georgetown University Campus includes beautiful ceiling designs and a library.


Plans for 2007, include the utilization of Qatar Science and Technology Park, as well as the openings of a central library, a student center, a club for staff and faculty, and a ceremonial entrance. Mexican architects Legorreta + Legorreta, favorites and idols of Nogueira, designed many of the buildings. When asked about the project, Nogueira fills up with excitement. Never straying from his philosophy that if “one can visualize their accomplishments, they can achieve them,” he comments on the unusual size of the project. The 2,500 acre institution took about four months to plan. With 60 renderings and 20 floor plans in just one month, multiple views of each building, as well as the plotting of the environment, Nogueira was captivated with the project. To create this masterpiece, Nogueira used version 10 of CINEMA 4D, paired along with Adobe Photoshop and AutoCAD. Nogueira’s firm belief in the power of imagination was put to good use in his method to create images. After achieving a mental picture and receiving details from the client, Nogueira uses the tools of photos, textures, location, and background information in order to create the building itself. The surrounding environment is also virtually generated to gain a more lifelike view of the project.


A gorgeous view in a typical apartment of the Veramonte in Mexico City.


The image is then rendered and finishing touches are added using Adobe Photoshop. Because of high pressure jobs such as Education City, Nogueira has adapted to work well in these situations, stating that “pressure forces you to improve your work method and work flow resulting in something very positive at the end of the day.”

With his strong faith in the power of imagination, Nogueira, with his company, which was founded 14 years ago, is part of a truly legendary process. Nogueria began creating architectural views using Adobe Photoshop in 1992, which during this time, was very uncommon. Nogueira, who attended Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, jokes that he was somewhat “rebellious” when he began to experiment in the designing world, for the use of computers was considered cheating. Sketches were to be hand drawn but, as he soon learned, more detail could be achieved on Photoshop. Nogueira’s humble beginnings trace back to the black and white Macintosh Classic machine he first used, as he describes the software upgrades throughout his career. Nogueira began designing with only the first version of Photoshop, which developed into the use of Infini-D in 1993, and eventually progressed to Strada Studio Pro, which he used for almost 8 years. In 2000, Nogueira stumbled upon a magazine ad for CINEMA 4D and with great interest, proceeded to visit the website because he was so impressed with the features of the program. CINEMA 4D remained in his thoughts when he attended a Macintosh Workshop, at which he hoped to purchase CINEMA 4D. He immediately began using it in his daily work, given the great quality of rendering, the precision of the rendered images, and the realistic features of the program. CINEMA 4D quickly became the main program used by his firm, DECC.

Nogueira praises CINEMA 4D for it’s quality, user friendliness, and stability, among many other qualities. According to Nogueira, “version 10 is great; I wouldn’t add anything unless I had to!” In conjunction with CINEMA 4D, Nogueira also uses AutoCAD, for its compatibility with customers, as well as Adobe Photoshop for its ability to create flawless final images. The production process includes constant communication with the client as well as approval of the whole process. The ultimate outcome is of course, guaranteed satisfaction and happiness. It is this method that results in the seriousness, quality, and reliability of Nogueira’s firm.


One of Nogueira’s many housing projects included the Grand Polanco, an apartment complex in Mexico City.


In the future, Nogueira wants to try a little bit of everything. He remains open minded about collaborations and would like to work on more airports, skyscrapers or acclaimed projects like Education City. If Nogueira weren’t doing architecture, he says he would like to be an illustrator or painter, inspired by Boris Vallejo’s scientific fantasy drawings, which are done by hand. Nogueira stresses the potential of the mind and advises young architects by reiterating that software is only the means to accomplish something; the talent of the person is truly what should be exercised. It is easy to see why Nogueira has been so successful; his fervor, willingness to learn and grow, and modesty have allowed him to contribute to innovative tasks like the “multiversity,” and have in return, allowed us to see the true capabilities of the mind’s eye.

Read this article in Spanish at Cinema!

Tania Gennell is a freelance bilingual writer residing in Southern California and can be reached via e-mail at

November 5, 2007

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Article Comments

LilyHawk ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 06 November 2007

Wow! It's amazing to see the manifestation of an idea into form using digital art software as a communication medium. I think this is very exciting. Excellent article. Thanks Tania!

Khushrenada ( posted at 12:00AM Sat, 24 November 2007

this is excellent,also it is good to show us a different view of mexico,on the news we always see the squalor and the poor living conditions,the bario' is good to see that mexico is investing in its future,starting on the ground floor so to speak,with a first quality education facility. extremely high quality renders that show the artists vision for a better tomorrow,all the best:)

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