Barcelona-based architect Xavier Vilalta works in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He adopts and updates traditional design principles to construct modern buildings that truly suit their environment.

Why you should listen

Named young architect of the year at the Leaf Awards in 2008, Xavier Vilalta is the founder of XVA, a Barcelona-based design team operating in the fields of architecture, urbanism and research.

The TED Fellow and his team have worked on more than 60 projects, including homes, schools, cultural institutions and commercial buildings everywhere from Africa to the Middle East. Declaring that "we love nature and we care about people," the team's design philosophy is to connect the old and the new, co-opting and updating the best thinking of past traditions to create modern buildings that are both deeply respectful of the past and searingly contemporary.

Recent projects include the Lideta Mercato shopping mall in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and a concept for a series of urban gardens in Qatar.

What others say

“Xavier Vilalta expresses concerns about the current structures of Addis Ababa, saying buildings made of glass “do not belong here."” — Berhanu Fekade, The Reporter, Ethiopia

Xavier Vilalta’s TED talk

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