Established by the architect David Chipperfield in 2017, Fundación RIA is an independent non-profit agency and thinktank working towards long-term sustainability of both the built and natural environment in the region of Galicia in north-west Spain.

Fundación RIA focuses on inter-disciplinary studies, pilot projects and strategic territorial planning, connecting global challenges to a specific context. It is rooted in close collaboration Galicia’s communities, government, industry and academic institutions, and draws together international and local expertise.

Its ambition is to develop a deeper understanding of the factors that contribute towards quality of life beyond conventional economic assessments such as GDP. Establishing links between public and private agents is central to repairing the relationship between the built and natural environments. In this regard, Galicia can set a European benchmark for sustainable development.

Taking the quality of the built environment as the focal point, the foundation seeks to consider the wider context of forces which impact the shape of the built environment as well as those impacted by the built environment.

Galicia serves as an ideal laboratory for understanding how the physical environment, nature, productive landscape and the built environment can, through careful planning governance, be both protected and developed in alignment with economic, social and cultural priorities.

In Galicia, the explicit presence of nature and its economic and cultural importance give us a vivid demonstration of the impact that poor planning decisions can play in the erosion of environmental quality. The conditions of living environments, villages and towns, and their relationship with the natural environment, have undergone a century of profound transformations and uncontrolled growth that led to a progressive degradation of its quality, a change of production model, and a loss of heritage and social infrastructure which are the basis of local identity and quality of life.

Many of the challenges faced by this corner of Spain are shared by communities and regions across Europe and beyond. In a globalised world facing a climate crisis, we must learn to look beyond the convention divides of rural or urban, natural or human. We can no longer work in isolation. To build a sustainable future, centered on quality of life and a circular economy, we must see that is all connected.

RIA links together strategic planning, administration and governance with the concerns of the community and the environment through inter-disciplinary studies, pilot projects and strategic territorial planning.

Over the last seven years, Fundación RIA has sought to connect the details of localised issues with territorial planning and national commitments. The work has assisted the flow of information between scales of governance to ensure that the impacts of strategies and policies are considered and understood.

RIA focuses its activity on three key areas:

Sustainable land management
Collaborative action research programmes based on the historic forms of territorial structure, community governance and management of the Galician productive landscape.

Territorial planning and local identity
Pilot projects that seek to improve the quality of living environments in order to preserve the identity and cultural and environmental values of the place.

Planning, architecture and design culture
Exemplary planning and contracting processes, based on participation and analysis, that promote a “baukunst” based on criteria of sustainability, proximity and efficiency.

View our work


The governance of Fundación RIA relies on its Board of Trustees, which is supported by an Honorary Board and an Advisory Board that contribute to decision making, the establishment of partnerships and the public projection of the foundation’s mission and activities.

Board of Trustees

David Chipperfield studied architecture at the Kingston School of Art and the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. He worked for Douglas Stephen, Richard Rogers and Norman Foster before founding his own practice in 1985 and establishing a design methodology that is now used across five offices in London, Berlin, Milan, Shanghai and Santiago de Compostela.

David Chipperfield is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and an honorary fellow of both the American Institute of Architects and the Bund Deutscher Architekten. Among the accolades he has received are the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, awarded in 2009, and a knighthood for services to architecture in the UK and Germany, awarded in 2010. He has received the RIBA Royal Gold Medal for Architecture (2011) and the Praemium Imperiale from the Japan Art Association (2013), both given in recognition of a lifetime’s work. David Chipperfield was appointed a member of the Order of the UK’s Companions of Honour in 2021, Commander of Spain’s Orden de Isabel la Católica and member of Germany’s Orden Pour le Mérite für Wissenschaften und Künste in 2022 for his services to architecture internationally. In 2023 he was selected Laureate for the Pritzker Architecture Prize.
In addition to design work, David Chipperfield has taught and lectured at schools of architecture worldwide. In 2012 he curated the 13th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale under the title ‘Common Ground. He served as the mentor for architecture from 2016–17 for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. In 2017 he founded Fundación RIA, a private, non-profit entity that works towards meaningful economic, environmental and cultural development in Galicia, Spain.

David Chipperfield has published numerous books and articles, including ‘On Planning – A Thought Experiment’ (2018), a publication that explores and theorises the urban qualities of contemporary urban developments. He was the 2020 guest editor of Italian design magazine Domus.

Architect and urban planner graduated from the University of Santiago in 1987, he completed postgraduate studies at Columbia University in New York in 1991 and at ESAD in Porto in 1994. Since 1996 he has been a professor at the School of Architecture of the University of Coruña and since 2010 director of the international program Compostela organized by the CA institute. He joins the board of trustees of the Fundación RIA in 2019.

He has worked with international architects such as Viñoly Architects and Eisenman Architects in New York and with Álvaro Siza in Porto. He has received several architecture awards, highlighting the Lledó 2018 Iberian peninsula award in the category Public Space, the FAD 2016 award for the Iberian peninsula in the category City and Landscape, as well as the Juana de Vega award in Architecture in 2010 and several architecture awards from the College of Architects of Galicia in the years 2017, 2015 and 2005.

He has been awarded in the V contest Painting Concello de Cambre 1988 and in the photography contest IV Caminos de Hierro 1989. He has published the books: Souto de Moura, Metro Porto in 2018, Siza by Siza in 2015, Museo Iberê Camargo in 2013, Compostelas Contemporáneas in 2012 and FCI, Facultad de Periodismo in 2003. He has also collaborated with several specialized magazines such as Casabella and Pasajes. His work has been exhibited in Venice at the Biennale Architettura 2016, at the International Biennial of Argentina BIAR 2016 in Buenos Aires and at the Aedes Gallery, Berlin 1992.

Honorary Board

Inés Carvajal
Charo Froján
Cristina Codesido

Tona Martínez
Roberto Tojeiro
Miriam Pérez

Advisory Board

Josep Bohigas
Ricky Burdett
Katharina Lehmann

Regula Luscher
Laura Sprechmann
Ulrich Wilhelm


Working within the community over the last seven years, the Fundación RIA team has developed a strong understanding of their concerns and ambitions. Alongside this, the team has established connections with local industries, administrations and planning bodies, as well as experts and academic institutions, in order to ensure a rigorous understanding of the issues impacting quality of life across Galicia.


Manuel Rodríguez López studied architecture at the ETSAB of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and carried out exchange studies at the LTH – University of Lund, in Sweden. In 2016, he joined David Chipperfield Architects London to launch and coordinate the Estudio Arousa initiative, which would later become the Fundación RIA in 2017. As director of the foundation, Manuel develops representation, administration and coordination of activities and initiatives promoted by the entity.


Adrián Capelo Cruz studied architecture in A Coruña in 2017 and is currently doing a master’s in territorial planning and management at the University of Santiago de Compostela. He joined the team in 2017 as a member of Estudio Arousa, later Fundación RIA. In the foundation, Adrián performs tasks of coordination of studies, photography, editing and administration.


Alfonso Bertran Gil studied architecture at the ETSAB of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and did exchange studies at the AHO (Arkitektur- og designhøgskolen i Oslo), in Norway. He then completed a master’s degree in territorial planning and management at the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela. Alfonso is responsible for establishing the framework and coordinating the design and editing of documentation for land use planning and public space projects.


Lucía Escrigas Rodríguez studied architecture at the A Coruña School of Architecture and did exchange studies in Coimbra and Madrid. In 2020 she began her specialization with a master’s degree in territorial planning and management at the Univeristy of Santiago de Compostela.


Alicia Casanova Adán studied architecture at the ETSAC of the Universidade da Coruña and did exchange studies at the PUT (Poznan University of Technology) in Poland. In addition, she participated in different projects and international agreements in countries such as Sweden, Armenia and China.


Inés Piñeiro Ozores studied architecture at the ETSAB of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and complemented her training in graphic editing and publishing at the Escola Massana in Barcelona. She later completed a master’s degree in editorial design at Elisava. At the foundation, Inés works in communication and graphic design.


There are no vacant positions at the moment. Please forward your spontaneous application at info@fundacionria.org