Issue 136 I-II 2011 
18 €

 

 


Urban Stages. If the past period of economic abundance led to bureaucratized and excessive developments, a moment of scarcity should produce more contained ones, but also more open to the spontaneous interaction of their inhabitants. This is the hypothesis present in the three articles included in this section, the themes of which are the urban space as an area for encounter, the new forms of urban participation and, finally, the project to recover the banks of the Manzanares River in Madrid, a large-scale intervention which, however, has immediately become part of the everyday life of the city.

 


José Miguel Iribas
In Praise o Encounter
Public and Civic Space
Belinda Tato y J.L. Vallejo
Reconquering the City
Forms of Participation
Eduardo Mangada
Madrid rescues its River
An Intervention Mode

Works / Projects

Local Lessons . The twelve interventions featured here are exemplary in their formal refrain and their shared preference for the small and the medium scale: three public facilities, located in Tortosa, Inca and Mérida, which go beyond their immediate context to generate city; three singular footbridges in Ripoll, Pamplona and Málaga, whose aim is to solve persistent urban problems; three small squares, located in Córdoba, Lérida and Banyoles, of different size and character, completed with dissimilar languages and materials; and, finally, three projects of larger scale, carried out with territorial sensibility and landscape aptitude and located in contrasting contexts like the rough periphery of Alicante, the old industrial site of Los Hornillos and the unique seafront of Malpica, a port town of the Atlantic Coast.

 


Arquitecturia, Tortosa
Lay y Muro, Inca
Sánchez García, Mérida
RCR / J. Puigcorbé, Ripoll
Pereda, Pérez, Olite, Pamplona
OAM Málaga
Pino y De Paredes, Córdoba
EMBT, Lérida
MiAS arquitectes, Banyoles
Urzelai y De Miguel, Alicante
Temperaturas extremas,Murcia
Creus y Carrasco, Malpica

Art / Culture

Two Aces. The Pritzker Prize to Eduardo Souto de Moura coincides with the celebration of a large exhibition at the CCA devoted to James Stirling, which recovers the multifaceted and mannerist oeuvre of a great master.

 

Jorge Figueira
Poetics of Precision
Luis Fernández-Galiano
Big Jim

Dreams and Nightmares . An exhibition in Bregenz updates the idealist gaze of Yona Friedman and Eckhard Schulze-Fielitz; another, in Montreal, gathers the innovations in design developed during World War II.
Eva Birkenstock
Back to Utopia
Jean-Louis Cohen
Uniform Designing
Built Autobiography. Luis Fernández-Galiano reviews Remarks on 21 Works, by Rafael Moneo. Furthermore, London evoked by Rasmussen, texts on aesthetics and critique, recent monographs and books received.
Historietas de Focho
Souto Pritzker
Various Authors
Books
Technique / Construction

Innovation in Detail. The description of a winery in Ribera del Duero designed by Norman Foster using sustainability criteria opens this new section, which also includes a text about the use of glass in contemporary enclosures, and which is the first in a series of six articles that will reflect in subsequent issues the relationships between the industry and architects in the design of lightweight facades. Finally, a broad range of products, classified by theme, takes stock of the technological innovations that are already available in the market, such as active glazing, hygrothermal floors, natural lighting systems or self-decontaminating materials.

 

Foster+Partners
Portia Winery
Paricio y Pardal
Glass International
Productos
Enclosures
Climate Control
Technical Floors
Lighting
Materials


To close, the philosopher Manuel Delgado defends the urban space as proscenium of the free and spontaneous activity of citizens.
Manuel Delgado
Taking Place
 

 

Luis Fernández-Galiano
Urban Stages

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Cities are not made of buildings, but of people.
Their construction material is not steel or concrete, glass or brick; it is the plural lives of those who dwell in them, their needs and demands, their desires and their dreams. However, that social choreography of activities and purposes demands architectural stages that serve as context and as shelter, and the urban environment shaped by successive interventions determines the spatial expression of those collective impulses. As we have so many times repeated since Winston Churchill said it first, "we shape our buildings, and thereafter they shape us". For this reason, the best urban stages are probably those that, without giving up the possibility of transforming the sensibility and the perception
of those who use them, put themselves above all at the service of life, enabling its fertile development with architectural forms that house and interpret that collective play where a swarm of singular itineraries intertwine.
With the architectures of opulence pushed to the background by the economic crisis, today we are returning to the more inspiring ideas of the sixties and seventies, when the combination of technical rationality and signature works that marked the postwar period was replaced by a greater sociological and urban awareness. In my previous life as book editor I published in 1977 the Spanish version of a work by Ulrich Conrads which was initially released in 1972, Architecktur: Spielraum für Leben, and when rereading it now I have been surprised by its total up-to-dateness. The then director of the magazine Bauwelt laid out an eminently graphic book – probably inspired by The Medium is the Massage, the work by Marshall McLuhan that marked my generation since it was published in 1967 – which pays tribute to its title, "Architecture: Stage for Life. Intensive Course for Citizens", and I am sure that course would be useful for architects too.
In the book, after describing the city as a material expression of social life, Conrads proposes a laconic reformist manifesto, "Adult citizens set out five urgent measures", which I here note down telegraphically: we build for children and the elderly; we introduce temporary expropriation; we limit car traffic areas; we establish new housing regulations; we build 'open' and multifunctional public buildings. Almost forty years later, this modest program is still far from being fulfilled. After the Arab spring, our own Spanish spring of the'indignant' young has shown the effectiveness of urban stages to serve as resonance boxes of the civil protest, legitimate and necessary as a revulsive against a sadly sclerotic system; but beyond this stimulating and rather exceptional situation, if we really believe in architecture and the city as stages for the everyday life of people, us 'adult citizens' (and us architects) have a lot of work ahead of us.