There's nothing wrong with people making money, but the urban landscape must have some quality ...
Our business model is not to make the most money out of some building that we're erecting, but to become a stakeholder in a neighborhood....There is a difference between saying this is a good neighborhood, and then exploit it by putting up a building that may not help the neighborhood but may be economically profitable ... I want to make something that will make the whole neighborhood worth more.
In a Craig Robins building, a lot of art can happen, like Miralda's shoe
Let's move on to Aqua, which is an interesting example of compromise between judicious urban planning and provocative design.
With Aqua, I want to show that low-rise in a neighborhood is better than high-rise. You can take a tall, unremarkable building and spread it. From the urban point of view it works better, that's a big local issue. On a national and international level, there's a rift between new urbanism and modern- or contemporary-style architecture ... the perception is that they are incompatible. I disagree. You can have a beautifully designed neighborhood with modern/contemporary architecture; with Aqua we're the first to do that. We're breaking ground. This is a unique project and I hope it can inspire a different approach to other developers.
You and your wife Ivelin have a nice art collection. Do you collect local artists?
We do, of course, but I don't necessarily see it as local. We collect it because they're good artists producing good art.
What are your plans for the collection?
We both believe that art is an important part in the development of our society. We look at a lot of art and are constantly trying to integrate our collection into our neighborhood, the places we live and work. We collaborate with other collectors in bringing interesting projects -- I am thinking now of Carlos and Rosa de la Cruz, for instance. We'll keep collecting and making it available. You can see everything we have in this space. We keep rotating stuff. I like to live with it and make it accessible. That's all I can say right now.