Issue 133 VII-VIII 2010
18€

 

Synopses

More for Less. Times of economic recession give the limelight to those who turn necessity into virtue and build with tight budgets without forgetting beauty. Three of the participants in the congress organized in Pamplona by the Fundación Arquitectura y Sociedad under the motto ‘More for Less’ – and whose work was also shown during the fall at New York’s MoMA – express their ideas in three interviews: the Burkina Faso architect Diébédo Francis Kéré answers the questions of Llàtzer Moix; the Chilean Alejandro Aravena those of Antón García-Abril; and the French Anne Lacaton those of Estrella de Diego.

Contents

Llàtzer Moix
Diébédo Francis Kéré,
the Local Logic
Antón García-Abril
Alejandro Aravena
the Feet on the Ground
Estrella de Diego
Anne Lacaton
the Luxury of the Void

The Other Globalization. From America, Africa and Asia, the six works presented here have in common their social transcendence, the involvement of their users and a respectful approach to their context: a kindergarten that opens up to an underprivileged community in Bogotá, Colombia; a market for travelling vendors in the old mining town and today tourist center of Real de Catorce in the Mexican Plateau; an institute for Islamic studies in the mythical University of Timbuktu, Mali; a center for the interpretation of a millennarian African culture in a National Park near Limpopo, South Africa; a residential development for an ethnic and religious minority in Karachi, Pakistan; and a small rural school built on rammed earth in collaboration with the inhabitants of the small village it provides services to in Rudrapur, Bangladesh.

Giancarlo Mazzanti
El Porvenir Garden (Colombia)
Jaeggi & Pfister
Indoor Market (Mexico)
DHK
Ahmed Baba Institute (Mali)
Peter Rich
Mapungubwe Center (S. Africa)
ARCOP
Al-Azhar Complex (Pakistan)
Anna Heringer
Rural School (Bangladesh)

Views and Reviews

Musical Mathematics. The mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot was the ‘father’ of fractals, contemporaries of deconstructivism; an exhibition and a series of concerts pay tribute to the composer and architect Iannis Xenakis.

Art / Culture

François Chaslin
Fractal Architectures
Eduardo Prieto
Composition and Construction

Cultural Continuities. The gallery owner Helga de Alvear opens her Foundation’s building in Cáceres, by Mansilla & Tuñón; and the new Llotja of Lleida, by Mecanoo, draws inspiration from Dutch expressive functionalism.
Javier Montes
Collection in a Suitcase
Luis Fernández-Galiano
The Function of Form
Modern Vernacular. Richard Ingersoll reflects upon popular tradition; Francisco Mangado delves into light skins; and Iñaki Ábalos analyzes the urban collage, aside from new releases on factories, engineering and the Islamic world.
Focho’s Cartoon
Small Scale, Big Change
Various Authors
Books
Recent Projects

Residential Diagrams. The neighborhood of Øresund, on the outskirts of Copenhagen, has two new residential buildings: the ‘Mountain House’ is a vertical garage with terraced dwellings that create an artificial sloping landscape, and the ‘8 House’ is an urban block with an eight-shaped floor plan that stacks uses and typologies, connected by an elevated promenade.

Technique / Style

BIG / JDS
Danish Checkerboard
Mountain, Copenhagen
BIG
Moebius Neighborhood
8 House, Copenhagen

To close, and on the occasion of the Aga Khan Architecture Awards ceremony in Doha, Luis Fernández-Galiano analyzes the projects completed or under way in the Emirates of Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai; the list is impressive because of the concentration of star architects and record figures. Despite its extreme social inequity, the Gulf is growing and the world crisis is nowhere to be seen.
Products
Doors and Radiators
English Summary
More for Less
Luis Fernández-Galiano
More for More
   

Luis Fernández-Galiano 
More for Less

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The classics advise not to wish for roses in winter. Our world, however, is built with desires out of season, and those undue appetites govern markets and lives. The temperature of consumption controls financial fluxes and libidinal economy, in a network of meshes that oppresses or holds the obese bodies of countries and people. We try to understand what is going on, but do not realize that what happens is that too many things happen, weighing heavily upon us. This burden of unnecessary objects and arbitrary needs gravitates over a material and social fabric that loses shape underneath its weight, creating a debt of desire that is as incandescent and toxic as the monetary debt that keeps us all expectant, fearing market shocks that can undermine the stability of our economic ecosystems. The current crisis seemed to be a perfect storm able to clean the air of so much pollution, but its wild violence is rather creating a jungle-like disorder, and perhaps we will only be able to ride this storm dropping ballast overboard. In the field of architecture, where excesses have been so notorious of late, two recent events may herald a change of attitude: an international congress held in Pamplona last June under the motto ‘more for less’ and an exhibition shown in New York since October with the title ‘Small Scale, Big Change’. Both defend an architecture that defines the needs of its users as the center of its activity, and that in the end places itself at the service of life.

All in all, these architectures of need are also architectures of desire, however much this desire is focussed on the exact dignity of the everyday rather than on the extravagant offers of the exceptional, whose cuantitative result has been a real estate bubble that has devastated our landscapes and our finances, and whose qualitative expression has been a crop of iconic works that, with an extraordinary economic cost, have promoted originality as the only attribute that gives visibility in our media culture, replacing the silent elegance of bareness and the subordination to the essential demands of society. Thirty years ago I telegraphically summarized in a newspaper article (‘Arquitectura de papel, papel de la arquitectura’) the state of architecture at the time: “In the last two decades we have seen the technical emphasis of the early sixties followed by the sociological passion of the seventies, and the latter in its turn replaced by the artistic fervor that appears as the most characteristic feature of the early eighties”. A long time has gone by, and that artistic fervor sparked a bonfire of vanities that, once the flames are put out, only leaves an aftertaste of ash. But in this wasteland of ours, covered with rubble and slag after the volcanic eruption of feigned prosperity, a new generation has appeared:one that strives to offer more for less, changing the world and changing us all with its aesthetic of the necessary and its determination not to wish for roses in winter.