V - VI 2008
Planet Earth. The book Atlas: Global Architecture circa 2000 exhaustively explores the planetary architectural production in a period that goes from the Fall of the Berlin Wall up to our days. A brief introduction by the editor of the volume breaks down the objectives and methods used, preceding the long review that examines this choral work in-depth. The selection of twelve current projects, which withstand globalization from different areas of the planet, reveals the fertile texture of diversity
Local Tectonic. Twelve works bear witness to the currency of local construction in the midst of the homogenizing synergies of global architecture. Attention to context, the use of accessible materials and the concern for sustainability issues are some of the arguments that the projects selected here have in common: a sinuous hotel in the Chilean Easter Island; two exact warehouses for a university in Texas; an essential dwelling in the desert of Arizona; an exemplary African school; a weightless town hall in Japan; a flowery university in France; a traditional student hall in India; a respectful chapel inserted in the ruins of a 19th century industrial site in Brazil; an extroverted single-family house in Australia; an ecological civic center in Canada; a lyrical wine cellar of stone and steel in Spain; and a telluric chapel in Germany.
| Cover Story
José Cruz Ovalle, Chile
|Views and Reviews
Imagined Cities. An exhibition in Berlin analyzes truth and myth of the legendary Babylon, and one in Barcelona rescues the lost projects designed by the great masters of modern architecture for Baghdad.
|Art / Culture
Juan Antonio Ramírez
|Sculptural Centennials. The Basque artist and the Swiss designer would turn one hundred years old this fall; both figures have influenced architecture with an oeuvre focussed on the void and logical geometry.|| Javier San Martín
Jorge Oteiza, Active Void
Francisco de Gracia
Max Bill, Logical Beauty
|Expo Zaragoza. The Spanish Pavilion, the bridges of the River Ebro and the urban planning and landscaping of the fairgrounds center the bibliographical debate on the recently closed International Expo of Zaragoza.||Focho’s Cartoon
José Cruz Ovalle
Rigorous Towers. Two vertical structures of reduced height stand on the main avenues of Porto and Barcelona; while the Portuguese city is the site for a complex of offices and commercial premises drawn up as abstract prismatic volumes, in the Catalan capital a more sculptural design has been chosen for the headquarters of a booming media group.
|Technique / Style
Eduardo Souto de Moura
|To close, urbanism needs to renew its theoretical bases in order to be able to propose more imaginative urban models. The discipline is currently undergoing a critical evaluation the aim of which is to provide solutions to the fundamental issues affecting our cities today: height, density, urban boundaries, compactness, economy, sustainability and democratic participation.||Products
Awards, Windows, Slats
José Miguel Iribas
Seven Taboos about Urbanism
We pretend to be citizens of the globe, but in truth we live in a small world. AV/Arquitectura Viva set out, from their birth almost a quarter of a century ago, to cover the architecture of the planet, and the choice of Berlin as theme of the maiden issue – as the return to the German capital on our tenth anniversary – illustrates this international approach. However, anyone who has followed our work through the 250 issues published to date – to which we should add the almost 30 of the third member of the family, the young AV Proyectos, which has just celebrated its fifth anniversary becoming bilingual – shall notice that the magazines focus mostly on Western Europe, America and Japan, leaving the rest of the world in a hazy shade.
Curiosity for these halflit areas of the planet was the main reason to launch Atlas, a project supported from the beginning by the Fundación BBVA and its director, Rafael Pardo; a project now completed that will be continued with a four-volume series (Europe; Asia and Pacific; America; Africa and Middle East) that, within the same institutional frame, hopes to provide a detailed portrait of global architecture, trying to reconcile in the same narrative the regions currently in the spotlight of spectacle with those emerging areas that perhaps contain the seeds of the future, and also those zones that neither yesterday nor today have enjoyed other attention than that which comes with military, geopolitical, climate or health tragedies.
Global architecture is perceived as the planetary proliferation of projects by multinational offices, and as the tendency of famous architects to build abroad. At the same time, counteracting the homogeneization created by brands, the spread of information nurtures resistant architectures that, asserting their origins, have an influence that goes beyond their boundaries. Perhaps for this reason, the global and the local are today tangled up in a tight web. In the past century, the thinker Ortega y Gasset defended a cosmopolitan attitude as the only one compatible with modernity, while his colleague Unamuno argued back that the universal can only be reached from the particular, and it may well be that both philosophers were right.