Sebastian Mariscal found his professors not in the halls of academe, but in the offices of practicing architects. Starting when he was 14, he spent afternoons and evenings after school working for his father, Raul Octavio Mariscal, a public-housing architect in Mexico City. "It was a very intense education," Mariscal says, "and it influenced my perspective that architecture has a social responsibility." Eschewing a formal architectural education, four years into his apprenticeship with his father, he opened his own design firm. He remodeled some interiors, then designed buildings in Mexico ranging from houses to a television studio.
He closed his Mexico City firm in 1995 to work for architect Tonet Sunyer in Barcelona, then moved to San Diego to join Jonathan Segal, FAIA, and learn about Segal's business combining architecture and real estate development. In 2000, Mariscal went out on his own again with State+Date, a two-family residence he built with an investor partner. By designing and managing the project efficiently—confining all plumbing to one wall, for example, and ordering all precut parts—he minimized on-site labor. And by deftly organizing his construction crew, he finished the building in four months. Today, his firm handles architectural commissions and his own development projects; another arm of the business does general contracting.