IX - X 2006
Present Past. If looking towards the future is always a sign of optimism and allows cities to dream with having innovative buildings that may reflect their
Our Heritage. Scattered over the Spanish geography we find examples of the conversion of historical works within contemporary contexts, such as the City Wall Museum in Murcia, the Espacio Joven in Ávila, the Documentation Center of Nature of Cabo Peñas, the Nasrid Wall of Granada, the Barrié de la Maza Foundation of Vigo or the Sculpture Museum of Valladolid.
Amann, Cánovas, Maruri, Murcia
|Renewed Europe. The Museum of Childhood in London, the Central Station of Dresden, the Hôtel Fouquet of Paris, Le Manège Theater of Mons, the City Museum of Ljubljana or the Ruhr Museum and Vistors Center in Essen are projects that show how the old continent updates itself with works that respect heritage while maintaining their ability to surprise.||Caruso St John, London
Norman Foster, Dresden
Edouard François, Paris
Hebbelinck & de Wit, Mons
OMA & Böll, Essen
|Views and Reviews
Current Classics. Tadao Ando redesigns the Venetian Palazzo Grassi to welcome the collection of François Pinault, whereas in Los Angeles Machado & Silvetti offer a new version of the Roman Getty Villa.
|Art / Culture
|A Global Art. The branches of the Pompidou, the Louvre or the Guggenheim, along with the cultural projects underway in Abu Dhabi and events like the Canary Islands Biennial evidence a consumer-oriented concept of art.|| Luis Fernández-Galiano
The Sacred Art
News from the Islands
|The Private Space. Two books devoted to the house and its interior spaces and another two on the Viennese Bernard Rudofsky examine the historical evolution of domestic architecture from different points of view.||Focho’s Cartoon
Japanese Lightness. An elementary prism, the sinuous curves and a pattern of lozenges are the geometries that define the last buildings completed by the three most representative and prolific Japanese studios, exponents of an architecture that is characterized as much by its subtlety and formal sensibility as by the weightless material quality of its structures.
|Technique / Style
SANAA (Sejima & Nishizawa)
|To close, François Chaslin remembers the figure of Jean Baudrillard, recently deceased in Paris. Maximum representative of postmodernity, controversial and provocative, the philosopher, sociologist and critic who discussed architecture and philosophy with Jean Nouvel in The Singular Objects of Architecture has been often misunderstood and, sometimes, also misinterpreted.||Products
Solar Energy, Furnishings
Architecture is a history of violence. It builds against the past to project itself into the future, and between these two poles the present runs as a river of rubble. Blown by what Walter Benjamin called the wind of history, and dragged in the direction marked by the thermodynamic ‘arrow of time’, we build inflicting pain on the natural environment, the existing city and life itself: we disturb the territory with the scars of quarries and the clearing of woods, not to speak of the impact of large public works or the effect on the planet of the compulsive consumption of water, energy and materials; we disturb inherited urbanity with the technical means that each generation or each period has in advantage over the previous, imposing the new traces on the old ones in a kind of rough palimpsest; and we disturb the rhythmic, leisurely pace of individual and social experience with the state of exception of the work in progress, which disrupts daily routines with the confused disorder of its processes.
In order to build we have to demolish: wound the land, fracture the remains, shun memories. This extreme effort causes a distress that we attempt to alleviate with compensatory sustainability, analgesic restoration or narcotic historicisms. But architecture needs destruction, just as the carpenter needs the woodcutter and the cook the slaughterman, and in this violent condition lies its guilty greatness. After all, the built organism requires mutation to adapt to change in the same way the invertebrate sheds the exoskeleton when it starts to impede growth, and its empty shells have no other fate than decomposition and recycling, torn as ruins worn out by time and at the same time docilely given to the unbroken chain of information and matter flows that we call life. And perhaps just as the human mind has to forget so as to survive in the present, architecture needs amnesia to avoid perishing under the weighty load of meticulous memory.
All in all, the practice of invention is unable to neutralize the stubborn time which Alberti described as an upsetter of buildings, nor the tenacious inertia of matter that guides construction along the path of persistence. The anxiety that moves us to freeze the course of things in order to halt the flow of life is in the end as helpless as the taumaturgic impulse that sets out to rule that current, deviating it from its natural ways: neither history reassuringly converted into a theme park of itself nor the tabula rasa of demiurgic ambition can give a full account of that conflict between construction and destruction in which the dialogue between memory and oblivion is choreographed. The past lives in the present as the present is a cast of the future, and this continuity in the passage of time brings together the traumatic violence of change with the lazy resistance to novelty. “I am a was, and a will be, and a tired is”: the line of the poet Francisco de Quevedo suits well both the architecture project and its author.