Número 139 VII-VIII 2011 
18 €



Remote Houses. The house was the laboratory where modernity tested its hypotheses, from mass production to the yearn for a return to Arcadia. This paradoxical hybridization between industry and nature is the argument shared by a family of houses that cover three decades of innovation. The alpine shelter of Perriand (1937), the Packaged House of Wachsmann (1941), the Wichita House of Fuller (1944), the Maison Tropicale of Prouvé (1949), the Engstrom House of Erskine (1955) or the Moduli 225 House of Gullichsen/Pallasmaa (1969) are still today models of typological and environmental efficiency.


Industry and Nature,
Three Decades of Innovation

Perriand, Alpine Shelter
Wachsmann, Packaged House
Fuller, Wichita House
Prouvé, Maison Tropicale
Erskine, Engstrom House
Gullichsen/Pallasmaa, M House

Works / Projects

Dwelling on the Edges. Remote houses are considered so because they are located in faraway places, but also because they propose a way of living that departs from the conventional one. These are the characteristics of the twelve houses from different parts of the world gathered in this section, and which have been grouped into three families. The first family presents four houses in Japan, Australia and Chile, which have in common their use of lightweight and industrialized solutions; the second includes four from Portugal, Colombia, Costa Rica and Ecuador, which all have in common that they recourse to local construction traditions; and the third and last takes examples of new building types linked to different sites, climates and constructive solutions.


Hasegawa, House in Karauzawa
Pritchard, House in Adelaida
Supersudaka, Kiltro House
Radic, A House
Aires Mateus, House in Comporta
Plan:b, House in Río Cedro
García Saxe, House in Avellanas
Al bordE, House in Tumbaco
Pezo v. Ellrichshausen, Cien House
Li Xiaodong, House in Lijiang
Ichiku, Las Cabinas House
AFF, Hutznhaisl House

Art / Culture

Sacred Landscapes. The architectural and artistic interventions carried out in the unique Ruta del Peregrino (The Pilgrim Route), in Mexico, coincide with the recent inauguration of the Ronchamp extension, by Renzo Piano.


Miquel Adriá
Art Paths
Richard Ingersoll
Echoes of Ronchamp

Frontiers of the Eye. Two articles analyze the gaze of two of the best architectural photographers in Spain, also unique artists: the austere and poetic work of José Manuel Ballester, and the precise and carefree one of Jordi Bernadó.
Francisco J. San Martín
The Solitude of Space
Ricardo Devesa
‘Troppo vero!’
The Return of the Metabolists. An excerpt from Project Japan, the new book by Rem Koolhaas on Japanese Metabolism, heads the section, followed by reviews of works, photography, literature and books received
Focho's Cartoon
Piano vs. Le Corbusier
Various Authors
Technique / Construction

Innovation in Detail. The unique typological and energetic refurbishment of the Bois-le-Prête tower, a housing building located in Paris and designed by Lacaton & Vassal and Frédéric Druot, opens the section devoted to technological innovation, which also includes an article regarding the creative relationship between architects and industrialists in the development of a variety of frames, the fourth piece in a series of six on lightweight facades. Moreover, a text about the calculation of the carbon footprint in architecture, and a repertoire of products that presents novelties in sustainable housing, aside from urban geothermal energy, evaporative climate control and plastic materials.


Lacaton & Vassal / F. Druot
Rehabilitation in Paris
Paricio & Pardal
Innovation and Catalogue
Carbon Footprint

To close, an article on the design principles developed by the recently disappeared Steve Jobs during his career at Apple.
Sarah Williams Goldhagen
Pixels with Body


Luis Fernández-Galiano
Loves that Kill

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There are loves that kill, and our devotion to the house is one of them. Every issue dedicated to houses forces us to offer a string of excuses. Yes, we know that the scattered habitat generated by the single-family house and by the car that makes it accessible is an ecological disaster, a defacement of landscape and a social impoverishment: the squandering of material and energy resources in its construction and maintenance is an agression to the planet; the indiscriminate growth of those low-density carpets irreversibly deteriorates the territory; and the fragmentation of collective life destroys the dense web of contacts that is the main wealth of cities, the basis of their prosperity and the essence of their appeal. And yes, we also know that in the current predicament of our civilization, threatened by climate change, the scarcity of fossil fuels and the collapse of governance, only urban density, in the end incompatible with the house, can responsibly be defended.

But the house fascinates and seduces us, be it in its anthropological version of elementary shelter and essential dwelling, be it in its technological variant as showcase of private life and space for family comfort, and we end up surrendering to its spell. The excuse is thus the phenomenological dimension explored by Gaston Bachelard, with the house as shelter for the dreams of the attic and the nightmares of the basement, delving into the subsconscious along lines that go from Freud or Lacan to Zizek passing through Hitchcock; or else the celebration of modern consumption, with the Case Study houses of John Entenza with the Eames or Pierre Koenig as its most euphoric moment, and the collage of the recently disappeared Richard Hamilton – Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? – as its pop ad and apotheosis. Holding on to this bait in its ageless version or in its contemporary form, we go on building houses and talking about them.

All in all, the house is still a fabulous laboratory for research and innovation which allows exploring both the boundaries of industry and nature on its boundaries, as shown by the pioneering studies of residential manufacturing – of which we publish six examples from recent history – and by the extreme experiences in the construction of houses or shelters in remote places – documented by a dozen new works in four continents –, and this simultaneous presentation perhaps illustrates the stubborn and permanently renewed fertility of the house experiment. We will then praise the virtues of the dense city as the most adequate context for human life in a finite world, and keep criticizing the senseless suburbanization of the planet promoted by the car and the house; but we shall continue to consume the latter, in small doses, as a risky or pleasurable experience: a designer drug, a vaccine under study or a poison that we hope does not kill.