The designation of Zaragoza as venue for the Expo 2008, with a program
that centers around water and sustainable development, has placed the
Aragonese region on the news front line. A chronological itinerary from
the beginnings of the past century until today shows the evolution of
its architecture, which is divided here into two consecutive periods:
the first 75 years, characterized by eclecticism and lack of identity,
with a few noteworthy exceptions, have given way in the last three decades
to a collection of austere buildings designed by architects who are not
inclined towards media display.
José Laborda Yneva
|Views and Reviews
||Art / Culture
|Farewell Photography. As a posthumous tribute, two articles remember Ezra Stoller, the architectural photographer par excellence, and three great masters of the genre: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Richard Avedon and Helmut Newton.||Duccio Malagamba
Eyes of the 20th Century
|Masterpieces. Rafael Moneo publishes his
Harvard lessons; Peter Eisenman, 25 years of theoretical essays; Rem Koolhaas,
the Spanish version of Delirious New York; and Venturi/Scott Brown,
their final intellectual biography.
Ben van Berkel
||Technique / Style
|To close, Luis Fernández-Galiano expresses his unease at the media interest spurred on by the public presentation of the Hotel Puerta América in Madrid, designed by 18 international teams —including Foster, Nouvel, Chipperfield, Hadid, Isozaki, Pawson, Mariscal or Victorio &Lucchino —, which constitutes a milestone in the use of architectural stars as marketing props.||Products
Furniture, Profiles, Software
What is bothering me?
The motto coined for Teruel holds
for the region. With the resignation of landlocked countries, Aragón
has become used to neglect, and seldom claims the attention it deserves.
However, neither the stratified density of its history nor its strategic
peninsular location allow disdain. Between Huesca’s Pyrenees and
Teruel’s mountain ranges, the valley watered by the Ebro river offers
more than Romanesque chapels and Mudejar towers, Gothic palaces and Baroque
churches: it contains a large city and an empty territory halfway between
Madrid and Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia. With 20 million in a range
of 300 kilometers, Zaragoza is the meeting point of these two axes, the
one that connects the two largest Spanish cities and the one joining the
Bay of Biscay with the Mediterranean; but as important as this capital
are the uninhabited voids that the growing suburbanization of the European
landscape prompt to consider a valuable resource.
Zaragoza, with the long awaited arrival of the high speed train and its
selection as venue for the 2008 Expo, is the city of the moment: both
the AVE linking it with Madrid – and soon with Barcelona –
and the large investment in infrastructure demanded by the Expo, shall
significantly boost the growth of a town whose prosperity has not always
been on a par with cultural excellence, and that has aroused in many of
its citizens – like the singer and politician José Antonio
Labordeta – contradictory feelings of love and hate. The fifth city
of Spain, which in 1908 celebrated the first centenary of the Napoleonic
siege with a Hispanic-French Exhibition, shall pay tribute to the second
opening up to the river to promote sustainable development under the logo
ZH2O, and the occasion must serve to bring together
the vegetable glories of local cuisine and the migrant talent that the
North wind and the lack of horizons often sweep to other lands.
There is no use in shedding hypocritical tears for the Martial of Rome, the Goya of Madrid or the Buñuel of Mexico: genius is unlikely to be locked in native grounds. But our first issue devoted to a region without a school of architecture allows to remember this absence, and to stress up to what extent this impoverishes Aragonese architecture, deprived of an intellectual stimulus that cannot be left to associations or magazines alone. The best modern work of Aragón was built by an engineer, something that corporate self-absorption reluctantly admits: beyond the Rincón de Goya canonized by Mercadal and the routine of historians, the Casa del Barco built by Gómez-Cordobés in Teruel in 1934 – with its handrails screwed to the concrete of the aftercastle over the boat belly of the retaining wall – extracts better structural and landscape lessons from the Mudejar towers than vernacular localism or formalist internationalism. This Aragón also exists.