When one speaks about the relation between the architecture and the landscape, one is in the habit of valuing the relation of the volume with the environment, the relation of his materiality with the nature of the context, bottom and form, or even the relations on a large scale that are generated. For few occasions the new points of view are in the habit of being valued, for new readings that will allow to understand the landscape, which the architectures generate. It is in the habit of speaking about the sights, but not about the concept of vision, of new sensation that certain emplacements can offer.
Steven Holl Studyl has finished the complex construction of a new cultural equipment in Nanjing, near Shangai in China. Nanjing’s Museum dedicated to the art and the this architecture considered as the door of entry to a new cultural model still in development in China, which ties tourism and art.
From this point of view the building of the museum had to be in yes the same tourist claim and to be provided with certain showiness to attract the tourists, beyond the value of his collections or exhibitions.
The museum transformed in yes same in a sculptural object explores the changeable points of view, the visual ones on the landscapes that surround his location trying to recover the sensations of the spatial compositions that can see in the traditional paintings Small stones showed in the galleries of the own museum. His formal exposition chases that of a watchtower that rises in the shores of the lake.
The building divides in two pieces the low one, to evenness of soil constructed with walls of black concrete encofrados with canes of bamboo of the region, which grants to this volume a texture that connects perfectly with the imaginary one of Nanjing’s rural landscape. On this dark socle there gets up in the air a white and horizontal piece that rested on two big cores of communication characterizes the image of the building, beside providing it with this claimed showiness.
An exterior metallic stairs crosses the emptiness between these two spaces to allow to the visitor to accede to the top volume and to initiate a tour for these rooms that it will allow him multiple and changeable visions on the forests, the lake and the fog that covers the region, up to finishing his tour in a room which immense large window is opened on the distant vision of Nanjing’s city, the former capital of the dynasty Ming and center of the Chinese art.
A more nearby example is that of the Center KREA of Vitoria, work of the study of Roberto Ercilla and Miguel Angel Campo. If in case of Holl the landscape to interpreting is the native of the environment, in case of the KREA it transforms in the built-up landscape.
In an area in expansion of the city there is born this complex shaped by a former Neogothic convent and a new structure constructed in steel and glass. The work is articulated in the dialog between the former Convent and the new building, which winds close to the old building, rises over him to finish settling in the cloister. This complement is conceived as an icon, with a formal round image and simultaneously simple and recognizable, that acts of dispute to the former convent transformed today into center of art.
Both buildings have an independent reading and confront between if, but without formal competitions establish given his historical, material and volumetric distance. The new building revalues the preexisting architecture, and his front composed by several caps of different glasses accentuates the contrast between both and in turn the chosen closing allows a clean reading of the form and of the structure. It is for this motive for which the formal rotundity of the new building allows a changeable manipulation without for it it loses his identity and at the same time it reinforces the representative image of the center of art.
The wide and diaphanous spaces of the contemporary architecture contrast with the own spaces of the traditional architecture, generating again for opposition a dialog between both buildings. But maybe one of the most interesting points of the new element is that his tour allows new points of view on the convent and the new spaces generated between them. It allows to see the cornices or the details of the old building at a height of the eyes, or even from it arrives, that is to say provoking new readings on a former building already consolidated in the plot of the city.
In an epoch in which the vision is overvalued respect any other one of the senses, the architecture does not have porqué limit to readings done from the exterior, from the contemplation of his volume or fronts, but for yes same it can generate new images, new realities dress from other points of view.
íñigo garcía odiaga. architect
san sebastián. july 2011
It´s published in ZAZPIKA 03.07.2011