Sebastian is a man of scale. An architect by vocation, his day to day work involves huge ideas like aesthetics and integrity. It also involves the minutiae of function and building codes. These seemingly polar opposites do not cause any strife for Sebastian. He revels in conversations about the purpose of art as much as he does in building the tiniest models one has ever seen.
Sebastian was born in Bogotá, Colombia, in a time when soccer clubs were financed by drug lords and people throughout the country found themselves affected by a war they had nothing to do with. His mother, a lawyer, moved to the U.S. and took Sebastian with her, opting ultimately to live in Colorado. When asked about his parents, Sebastian says that his father taught him how to love other people and his mother taught him how to love himself.
Deeply loyal, Sebastian remained in Colorado after college and worked for the same architecture firm for the better part of a decade. It was there that he honed his craft and took every available opportunity to learn. He developed his own aesthetic (clean and modern) and learned what being an architect feels like in reality.
He also met his wife, Lauren, who worked for the same firm in Colorado. Sebastian speaks of meeting her in such romantic terms that it can be hard to follow. “She seemed like the kind of person that I wanted to become better; just to be able to earn the right to know her.” He has the same romantic tendency when speaking of his own identity: “I am Sebastian, a Caribbean warrior with fire in my heart. I am my work, and my work is good.”
Shortly before marrying Lauren, Sebastian hiked nearly 500 miles through the Colorado mountains, leaving on his own but meeting fellow hikers along the way. This type of simplicity and spontaneity are integral parts of his character. He says that he has learned to make lists and organize his space at work, but he is naturally scattered. Simplifying life is an antidote of sorts. Focusing on small things (and very few of them) like the sound of a stream while crossing a log bridge, the satisfaction of achy shoulders after taking a backpack off, and the smell of instant coffee on a surprisingly cool summer morning, brings respite from the complexity inherent in his work.
Sebastian has been living and working in Portland, Oregon for less than a year. He and Lauren, who is pursuing a Master’s of Public Health, organize the details of their life precisely. She takes the car to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays while he takes the train. The other days, when Lauren wakes up at 3:50 am to go to work, Sebastian drives. She makes pancakes for breakfast; he walks the dog and brings the pancakes to work for breakfast. Throughout these routines, however, Sebastian still thinks about which color to use on an exterior wall, not because it is a necessary detail, but because it will preserve the integrity of the building. The precision of the minute scale is essential for the beauty of the grand scale. And those diverse opposites are where Sebastian thrives.