From the architecture to the museum. Fingerprints | María González-Juanjo López de la Cruz

In the photographies that Candida Höfer carried out of the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design of Norway, in Oslo, they do not appear you present. It is known that in the work of the German artist this one is not an unusual situation, his belonging to Düsseldorf’s School aligns her with the photography taxonómica of his teachers Bernd and Hilla Becher more worried by the series and the type that for the free will that the life imposes to the architecture, at least it could seem. Höfer’s images appear in the catalogue where there was gathered the sample with which the above mentioned museum was inaugurated in 2008, dedicated to the architect author of the project, the Norwegian Sverre Fehn. In one of his pages we can see a mysterious photo of a container, in her, a metallic rod arises from the whitewashed wall and crosses with other one that gets in turn in a vat of green glass; the utensil, of spherical form and with little neck, is sheltered by a mesh of tied rope so that it forms parallel bars and diagonals. Everything rests on a sheet of steel that suspends the piece in the space. Across the green glass of the vat there filters the light that enters the window and inflames the scene. It is a question as one of the objects exposed in Hamar’s Museum in Hedmark’s county in Norway, that between 1967 and 1979 it projected Sverre Fehn in a former farm where today there are exposed the chattels which life passed between the same walls. As if from a fragment we could explain the complexity completely, we might say that in the jar appeared in the catalogue one finds the whole architecture of Hamar’s museum. Sverre Fehn projected a score of museums during his life, nevertheless nobody would say of him that he was a specialist, chance all those projects only would have jointly the intimate relation that the architect despliega between the visitor, the exposed objects and the architectural space.

Sverre Fehn, Museo arzobispal de Hamar, 1967-1979.
Sverre Fehn, Hamar’s archepiscopal museum, 1967-1979.

In Hamar’s museum, the remains of the former farm are the surrounding architectural one but also the testimony of the time, there exists a story of the history of that place that does not come from the exposed objects, but of the own occupation of the space that it does not try to treat the wounds that the centuries have left in the construction but to show them as a fingerprint. Neither it is a question of an intervention that it tries to freeze the condition in the one that was that complex without altering it; to the track of the erosion that it testifies the time, the architect superposes another, that one produced by the movement of the man in the space. Irrumpiendo in the cover that the old medieval walls offer, Sverre Fehn introduces a walk along the emptiness, high and zigzagueante, that arises from the exterior and throws you to the interior of the ships of stone. It is a question of an exploration of the space that as a scrawl of concrete it hardens the fingerprint of the path described by the visitor, as if the movement had happened before the construction. The density of the time and the space of that place materializes across the track of the degradation and the movement. In the green vat there exposed, time and space they are recognized in the same way; this one is exposed as he was when it was a useful object, without bundles or showcases, his position nevertheless supposes an anomalous alteration of the space on having continued floating in the middle of the deep wall that receives her. Finally, the whole set of exposed objects, also the carafe, finish for forming the last brand, that one that gives samples of the life of this place. It was supporting Walter Benjamin who to live is to leave fingerprint, this way, in the Museum of Hamar, Sverre Fehn rescues the objects as tracks of the life. On having placed them in the space of a surprising way they seem to recover his vitality, every instrument, bobsleds, pulleys, sickles and hoes, dance for the emptiness of the museum recreating the gabble that should have happened in that place. To the time, his strange position empties them of meaning, making alike them for moments to vast masses of stone, remnants of steel or glass bubbles that forget his utilitarian origin acquiring new formal values.

It does not have to surprise then that to illustrate the catalogue of the inauguration of the Museum of Oslo and the retrospective dedicated to the Norwegian architect one was appealing to Höfer’s work. As in Hamar’s Museum, in the photographies of the German artist an invisible presence exists only recognizable for the brands that it provokes in the architecture: it is the life of the persons who in every gesture and exploration of the space leave a recognizable fingerprint of his step. If Sophie Calle was registering the disappearance of the works of art in Absence and Mies van der Rohe was erasing the architecture in his offer of Museum for a small city, Candida Höfer kidnaps the third vertex of an explanatory space: the people have disappeared of his images. Unlike his teachers Bernd and Hilla Becher, to Höfer it does not interest the dialog that the architecture has with it same, they are the objects that occupy the place, since in Fehn’s work, which announce the presence of the persons in the space and it is the track of the wear in the architecture what allows us to follow the trace of the time. The work of the photographer and that of the architect in Hamar is constructed across the fingerprints of the time, the space and the life. Imagined this way, the architecture turns into a container which major value is the cover that offers, as he proves to be the Norwegian teacher in one of his more famous drawings, is like that Lao-Tse’s jar that contains and gives form to the life, where the man leaves his fingerprint on having passed along the time and the space.

Sverre Fehn, Hombre explorando el espacio de una tinaja.
Sverre Fehn, Man exploring the space of a vat.

María González-Juanjo López de la Cruz
architects and teachers
Sevilla, december 2015

Note: From the architecture to the museum. Fingerprints, it is the third one of three parts of a text published originally in nº6 of the magazine of contemporary art The green stripe in April, 2013, graduate De the architecture to the museum. Absences, chests and fingerprints.

María González – Juanjo López de la Cruz

María (Huelva, 1975) y Juanjo (Sevilla, 1974) son arquitectos por la Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Sevilla en 2000, números 10 y 3 de su promoción de un total de 348 egresados, con la calificación de sobresaliente en sus Proyectos Fin de Carrera y ambos premiados en la 13ª edición del Premio Dragados Fin de Carrera. Después de un año de estudios becados en L´École d´Architecture de Paris-la Seine en Francia, trabajan con los arquitectos Javier Terrados y Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra, tras lo cual fundan SOL89, un estudio desde el que intentan conciliar investigación, docencia y profesión.

Durante estos años han podido desarrollar y construir proyectos desde los que indagar en los espacios intermedios de la ciudad y la reutilización de estructuras obsoletas, trabajo habitualmente difundido por publicaciones especializadas de ámbito nacional e internacional y que ha obtenido múltiples premios, como el Primer Premio de Arquitectura de los Colegios de Arquitectos de Sevilla y Huelva en diversas categorías (2006, 2015 y 2016), la Medalla de Plata del Premio Fassa Bortolo (Italia, 2013), Primer Premio Wiener Berger (Austria, 2014), Medalla de plata del Premio Fritz-Höger (Alemania, 2014), Primer Grand Prix Européen d´architecture Philippe Rotthier (Bélgica, 2014), Primer Premio Enor de Arquitectura Joven (España, 2014) y el Premio 40under40 para jóvenes arquitectos europeos del Chicago Athenaeum (EEUU, 2015). Son finalistas de los premios FAD en 2013 y 2015, finalistas de la Bienal Española de Arquitectura y Urbanismo en 2014 y premiados en la de 2016, nominados al premio europeo Mies van der Rohe en 2015 y elegidos para formar parte del Pabellón español en la XV Bienal de Venecia en 2016, galardonado con el León de Oro.

Son profesores asociados del Departamento de Proyectos de la Escuela de Arquitectura de Sevilla desde 2005 y másters en Arquitectura y ciudades sostenibles por la misma Universidad en 2008. Su labor profesional y docente se extiende a la difusión del pensamiento arquitectónico mediante la colaboración habitual con escritos en publicaciones especializadas y la organización y dirección de diversos encuentros y seminarios junto a Ángel Martínez García-Posada (Sevilla, 1976), como el Congreso Internacional dedicado a Jørn Utzon en la Universidad Internacional de Andalucía en 2009 y el seminario Acciones Comunes sobre arte y arquitectura de la Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo en las ediciones de 2013, 2016 y 2017. Son editores de Cuaderno Rojo (Universidad de Sevilla, 2010) y Acciones Comunes (Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo, 2014), y autores de Proyectos Encontrados (Recolectores Urbanos, 2012) y El dibujo del mundo (Lampreave, 2014), libros en los que reflexionan en torno a la reutilización en la cultura arquitectónica y sobre los dibujos y la obra del arquitecto noruego Sverre Fehn.

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