III - IV 2007
Stone at the Edges. The radical changes that architecture has experienced over the course of the last twenty years have prompted the reinvention and revaluation of this millenarian material, deferred during decades for its classical reminiscences or for its lack of constructive honesty in its most contemporary version, cladding. The reflection upon its natural qualities and upon the long process that manages to transform it into a building material has permitted its use for the development of new languages.
Petreous Structures. Six works located at the edges of the European continent show the possibilities of a recovered and renewed material. On the island of Madeira, a massive black basalt wall forms a waterfront and accommodates a series of municipal facilities; and on the coast of Galicia, granite and concrete create an interplay of textures that defines the image of the university’s new rector’s building. In the Norwegian fjords, a skin of slate scales covers the facades of a Cistercian monastery, setting up a dialogue with the landscape; in the same way, on the island of Lanzarote, volcanic stone blends the new workshop of the César Manrique Foundation into its environment. Close to Naples, the porous local rock dresses a refurbished house; and along the Turkish coast of the Aegean Sea, a stone wall generates the volume of a vacation residence.
| Cover Story
|Views and Reviews
Grand Tour. The parallel celebration of the art exhibitions of Venice, Kassel, Basel and Münster transformed Europe during the past summer into the shop window of international contemporary art.
|Art / Culture
Javier San Martín
|Two Disappearances. The Colombian Rogelio Salmona was one of the pioneers of modernity in Latin America; the Japanese Kisho Kurokawa, the driving force behind the Metabolist Movement in his country.|| José Ramón Moreno
The Craftsman’s Place
Francisco de Gracia
Biomachinism and Abstraction
|The Modern Pupil. The camera of Julius Shulman was able to reflect like no other the way of life and the modern architecture of North America; a three-volume monograph collects the works of the nonagenarian photographer.||Focho’s Cartoon
Campus Novartis. In Basel, the first buildings that form the new business center designed by Lampugnani for the multinational pharmaceutical company are beginning to show. The master plan, conceived as an experiment that combines architectural, graphic and landscape design elements, incorporates into a rigid grid more than a dozen projects commissioned to renown architects. Steinmann, Strathaus and Betsky analyze the first three completed works, carried out by Diener & Diener, Märkli and SANAA.
|Technique / Style
Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani
|To close, the almost simultaneous deaths of Bergman and Antonioni inspire a reflection on the differences and similarities between the architectural perspectives of these two giants of European cinema.||English Summary
Stone at the Edges
Artifice and Nature in Cinema
Stone represents construction at the limit: at the limit of time, because its tenacious inertia speaks at once of its remote origin and its desire to last, inasmuch as its firm resistance is a symbol of timeless solidity; at the limit of technique, because its extreme variety of joints and bonds runs parallel to its tensional Achilles tendon, because its incapacity to absorb traction is the mechanic reason of its use in volume; and at the limit of touch, because the perception of its textures evokes the contact of the surface with the skin, even when the gaze stops to dwell on the light appeal of shine or color. Time, technique and touch come together in the workshop, which extracts from the stone stubborn persistence, adequate use and common beauty.
Barely natural already in its early, primitive form, contemporary stone is in every sense an artifice, the product of an industry as sophisticated in its mechanisms of extraction and handling as it is complex in its processes of marketing and financial management: marble, granite and slate cover the globe entangled in a web of transport systems and cash flows that take the material from the quarry to the site ignoring the stubborn rules of proximity that in a not so distant past gave constructive, functional and visual homogeneity to the landscapes modelled by human action. And yet, even though entirely artificial in its present condition, stone preserves the singular seduction of its ultimate origin in the womb of nature.