Atlas de Teoría(s) de la Arquitectura

John Hejduk, Lancaster/Hanover Masque, 1980-1982. Lápiz color y grafito sobre papel traslucido [92.4 x 153.5]. Canadian Centre for Architecture. © Estate of John Hejduk
John Hejduk, Lancaster / Hanover Masque, 1980-1982. Colored pencil and graphite on translucent paper [92.4 x 153.5]. Canadian Center for Architecture. © Estate of John Hejduk

Atlas of Theory(s) of Architecture is a visual sample of different ways of seeing the art of building. It is an exhibition in the plural, since there is no single way of conceiving what architecture is, how it is done and how it should be understood.

Architecture, like any discipline, develops its theory in words; but, together, it is capable of thinking about images. Already in the Renaissance, when the humanists decided to order knowledge about the art of building, they opted mainly to mix word and image in their treatises. The image occupied the existing rift between the idealism of the word and the realism of the present, without being confused with any. But,

What does the image do to the theory?

As a form of cultural production,

Can you propose through buildings or cities the significant vision of a new and better world?

Atlas of Theory(s) of Architecture is a visual sample of different ways of seeing the art of building: different ways of conceiving what architecture is, how it is done and how it should be understood. Each generation of architects has had to rewrite history from their own present and, consequently, also develop their own theory – which, like a ghost, is urgently presented to them over and over again. There is no theory without history but, as atlases of images, the exhibition prefers to trace alternative classifications to temporal succession. Because the theory of architecture is shaped, in reality, as a multiplicity of theories of architecture that are connected, in turn, by a multiplicity of historical relationships.

In a kind of Wunderkammer, room of wonders or cabinet of curiosities, the exhibition gathers more than fifty original documents yielded by the Canadian Center for Architecture and the Library of the School of Architecture of the Polytechnic University of Madrid: engravings of Piranesi, Palladio or Cesariano; montages by Peter Eisenman; project presentations by Le Corbusier, Gunnar Asplund or Karl Friedrich Schinkel; conceptual drawings by Aldo Rossi or John Hejduk; unique projections by James Stirling or Auguste Choisy; advertising messages of Cedric Price or Bernard Tschumi; posters by Daniel Libeskind; archaeological surveys of Le Roy or Hittorff; or urban utopias of Scamozzi or Frank Lloyd Wright. The atlas of images goes beyond the pages of treatises, books or magazines to enter into ideal, audiovisual, curated and performance projects

Le Corbusier, boceto para la Maison de l'homme, Zurich, Suiza, 1961-1963. Tinta, lápiz color, grafito y montaje sobre papel traslucido [15.4 × 40.2] Canadian Centre for Architecture © FLC-ADAGP
Le Corbusier, sketch for the Maison de l’Homme, Zurich, Switzerland, 1961-1963. Ink, colored pencil, graphite and mounting on translucent paper [15.4 × 40.2] Canadian Center for Architecture © FLC-ADAGP

In its desire for accumulation, Atlas of Theory(s) of Architecture questions some aspects of the present state of architecture, a period that some consider drowned in a torrent of images. The architect, like any user, has at his disposal a seemingly unlimited repository of images with just typing in the browser. It has networks and platforms to share them, to create and manage collections and boards. Just one click for an algorithm to locate hundreds of examples of similar appearance. A process of accumulation and fragmentation of great complexity that, paradoxically, is not leading to an enrichment of our visual culture. Rather it seems that we are sugested, affected by a kind of myopia. Some have come to affirm with irony that nowadays

«The form follows the image».

«But seeing is nothing: discerning is everything; and the advantage of the sublime man over the mediocre is to choose better what suits him».

Against this horizon,

Is not this affirmation of Milizia more contemporary than ever?

Thus, this exhibition (which also includes audiovisual projects, curated, performances …) raises the architecture not as an art or a technique limited to the functional constructions for human life, but also includes the set of buildings that remained in project phase or even that which was designed without aspiration to become reality.

The Círculo de Bellas Artes has published a book about this exhibition that brings together texts by, among others, Philip Ursprung, Hanno Walter Kruft, Juan Miguel Hernandez Leon, Davide Tommaso Ferrando, Léa-Catherine Szacka or Rodrigo de la O (curator of the exhibition and volume coordinator). The book is associated with a computer tool for intertextual navigation.

On the other hand, the series Mondays, the Circle has organized a series of lectures that complement the exhibition and in which we will listen to thinkers, artists, intellectuals and specialists in architecture.

Atlas of Theory (s) of Architecture
Date: 02/14/2019> 05.26.2019
Tuesday to Sunday 11:00> 14:00 – 17:00> 21:00
Closed Monday
Room: Goya Room
Curated by: Rodrigo de la O Cabrera
Organized by: Círculo de Bellas Artes

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