According to the dictionary, the word “detail” it serves to refer to each of those facts or events, by all appearances secondary, but that with his presence help to define and outline the multiple shades of the reality that surrounds us.
I remember for example that when it was small, my grandfather Pepe had the curious habit of hours and hours passing every morning in front of the mirror the patch being polished based on a few really scandalous quantities of a colony, with which I now in addition – and already of adult – I have developed a curious sentimental link that allows me, whenever I smell her, to move back almost 20 years in the time.
And it is that the life is like that – for definition – full of “details”, of seemingly incidental and trivial aspects that form a part of our daily routine but that sometimes – with the passage of time and the exercise of the memory – there turn depositories of certain affective bows, they develop the curious aptitude to raise the daily thing to the category of exceptionally and turn then in essentials.
In the Architecture, the “detail” is the “way” that allows us to provide to the project of multiple shades, aims and meanings, and as in the life, is in the indispensable of this “way”, where there resides the key that turns the habitual of a project into something extraordinary..
When the aim is therefore to construct, the detail turns out to be like that indispensably in the relation between the idea of form, materiality and execution of the constructive process. It can be at the time standardized or singular, subtle or evident, seemingly incidental in the general exposition of the project, but always eloquently and decisively at the moment of outlining the final image of the same one.
When the aim is the use, the details turn out to be indispensable to be able to use the spaces with the intention for the one that they have been designed. The details are at the time the objects – furniture, decoration, lighting – that the “user” introduces in the project of architecture and that of whom it possesses them or he them enjoys, transform this way the architectural space into inhabited space.
Nevertheless, sometimes it happens that, before concrete needs, the use needs to be constructed and to be at the time when the detail is positioned to half a way between the object and the architecture, turning this way into a resource that – skilfully used – allows to provide to the architectural project of a human dimension that transforms it again, in something exceptional.
This exposition turns out to be specially evident – for example – in the work of the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, where the detail is understood as the “oncrete response” to “concrete of the order” and it is in the singularity of all this process, where there resides precisely the force that transforms the final result into only something, exceptional and to the service (always) of the needs of the user.
It is the own Aalto who admits, in his writing “The Trout and the Torrent of the Mountain”, that it is in the resolution (detail) of an apparent paradox (the concrete thing like question and response) where there resides the key of his method proyectual.
A procedure that is revealed – by example – in the design of the rooms of the Hospital of Tubercular of Paimio, where Aalto uses the particular physical and psychological conditions of the patients (the concrete thing) as point of item of the project (problem) and as central topic concerning which there is defined the whole interior design (solution).
And this way in Paimio, to paint of green the ceilings of the rooms in order that the patient – knocked down – could “enjoy” a relaxing color, use lights of wall in order that dazzles do not take place or to design specifically the wash basin in order that the water on having fallen down does it in an as silent as possible way (not interrupting this way the rest of the patient), they are “indispensable details” that arise precisely from the concrete requirements of the project (patient – rest), but that in addition possess the aptitude to humanize and distinguish of such a form the building that this one acquires almost, an own identity.
Aalto constructed this hospital almost 100 years ago, and died it does approximately 40. Since then the architecture has evolved for great and different ways, but lately it seems to approach dangerously that one which Aalto precisely renounced: an architecture that is bought by catalogue, where the important thing is the price and the time of execution, a standardized architecture, which avoids the detail (in relation to the concrete thing) and that ignores the particular of the royal needs of the one who lives, that remains turned this way, in a mere consumer.
Definitively, an architecture that – turning to the similar one of the daily thing – good might look like a species of “rapid shower” of uses and manners of aggregation, which can that it cleans, but it never encourages, because – in the bottom – the exercise of the architecture is almost like the persons, who “smelling well” and “feeling to taste”, need to think the things calmly.
Vigo. april 2013
Cuando en 1945, la doctora Edith Farnsworth encargó al arquitecto Mies Van der Rohe – uno de los más famosos y mejor considerados dentro del panorama de la arquitectura internacional del momento – construir un refugio de fin de semana en un parcelita de su propiedad en las inmediaciones del río Fox, cerca de Chicago, no sabía que aquello sería el comienzo de una historia que sería tan larga como controvertida.
El era toda una celebridad y ella estaba fascinada por su talento y personalidad, así que se tiró de cabeza a la piscina de la confianza ciega y se dejó llevar.
Así es, amigos, y cuando se dio cuenta, lo que ella tenía no era un hogar, sino una corriente de pensamiento.
Una hipérbole de modernidad.