Disguised distances | bRijUNi


Some time ago, someone who was devoting himself to the organization of events of international character related to the architecture, was saying to us that there were great more people interested in speaking that in listening. Coming from someone with experience and success in this type of complex plannings us turned out to be strange because we had been witnesses of his drawing power or of the one that there had had those who by him and his socia had been summoned.

The certain thing is that we have been present at a gigantic proliferation of events related to the architecture, you cannot say if for architects or, as this laboratory of ideas of the COA Galicia celebrated in June in his headquarters of Vigo, with the intention of which the architects and the company should approach, they should communicate or at least they should identify.

Since already one has spoken about the laboratory of ideas here and there, we are going to do a reflection on the last one of the tables, the número four, where of one or another way we had presence as coordinators or participants, and that was treating on how one communicates the architecture.

The summary already has been done in several sites. Ours might be this:

Philip Trillo spoke on the possibility of treating the architecture as part of the cultural industry, of a way similar to the video games or the cinema, for example. What there was said us was known since we had received a text of the author days behind that, in his moment, us turned out to be slightly strange and with whose content we did not agree anything. Thankfully, heard instead of read, it seemed to us to be much more sensible and of interesting, guessed right and new fact. Of it I believe that nevermore one spoke in the table and was a shame because a lot of interest had the offer.

Jorge Meijide did a very personal and autobiographical presentation on his familiar relation with the architecture. At first, it seemed to us that it had little enough that to see with the topic of the table. Nevertheless, always we are interested, porqué not, in listening to these almost private and intimate reflections of any companion.

The intervention of Borja Lopez Cotelo was a mini-conference on the concept of good architecture with references to architects like Lewerentz or Jacobsen. It connected interesting, own references of a student of posgrado, since it is his case, worn well and better tacked in a coherent speech and preciosista that, unfortunately, since in case of Jorge Meijide, it seemed to bore to the real protagonists of the evening, who were situated between the public and of whom we had not had news for the present.

It was supposed that Borja was going to speak of Pecha Kucha and his enormous success in A Coruña, where it organizes it together with Maria Olmo for some years. They continue beating records of assistance and amusement. This was something that had been tremendously valuable for the discussion of the table, that is to say, to speak about new formats or ways of communicating the architecture, the art, or what is.

Íñigo García, of VAUMM, yes brought to the table an own topic of this one that was that of the disability of the company of recognizing the value of some buildings (it put as example the Kursaal of I Clown around in San Sebastian), opposite to others which plaudit is unanimous while they wake a strong debate up between the architects (here the example was the Guggenheim of Bilbao). In addition, the idea of being able to speak about architecture with his own mother, an idea that Juanjo Sáez gathers in his book “The Art” (2006), also was matter of debate and the matter of the different records, therefore, very opportunely.

We speak about it in one of our interventions and in other one, as it had been asked us, of Ménage à trois, which is a new format to speak about architecture and other nearby disciplines in which there could be common topics. Ménage à trois carried out in six editions in the Slaughter house of Madrid and already it goes for the third one in the Center of Contemporary Architecture of Santiago de Chile. We have to admit here that our positions did not seem to interest the most minimal thing to anybody because of fact already nevermore one spoke about them.

Laboratorio de Ideas Colexio de Arquitectos de Galicia. Vigo. Mesa 4. Source: stepienybarno

Then the public spoke and especially there spoke two architects who were situated circunstancialmente between him. We say circunstancialmente because one of them was giving a conference on his work to a little time in the same site, that is to say, it was a question of people that normally it is to another side, speaking, and not listening.

One admitted to have come almost ultimately and that it did not want to have come for not getting furious but nonetheless it did it, and added that “it had infuriated more for what it heard in the table”. He said that what there had heard had angered him enormously and that it was a speech (we do not know to which it was referring, if to all, to none, to one especially, since since actually he had not listened scarcely to anything …) very harmful for the profession. He spoke about the deans of some colleges, of doing a monument to Renzo Piano instead of saying that to criticize him as someone neither (is known the one who, if of the table or of the national or international press) it had done and of other things that now we do not remember but that in his moment seemed to us to be totally removed from what there one had been speaking.

While he was saying all that, in distinctions shifts of word, the faces of some to the members of the table belonged to surprise: some were smiling, others were looking hallucinated, none we understood anything.

Since we are not of there, only along the moment that still we still had for being in the table, during someone of several uses of the word which this person of the public used, we knew the one who was. It was a question of Jesus Irrisarri, an architect that we did not know personally but whose work yes, and that clear, we liked it very much, even the building sedates of the COAG in Vigo where we were, in spite of the fact that in his plant basement (or it goes down, since what it does is to save a difference between two streets) was been hot surprisingly of the date, of Vigo and of a new building as this one. They tell us that he is a marvellous architect and in addition teacher and many things more that they do that us sintamos furthermore surprised at what he said, that it did not have anything to see with what there one was speaking. Also of the tone, though this is very personal and there everyone. For being a person so admired and wanted between the architects who knew it, we had been charmed with understanding what wanted to say and like that, surely, to learn many things, but the truth is that this did not happen by no means. While he was saying all that, in distinctions shifts of word, the faces of some to the members of the table belonged to surprise: some were smiling, others were looking hallucinated, none we understood anything.

Actually before him already there had spoken another architect, that we did not know either, and that in the table said to us that he was Alfonso Punish It, equally known, darling – as we saw for the treatment that enough persons of the room were distributing him-, admired, respected, in his condition of Galician architect and teacher of the ETSAC, like Irrisarri. Yes we remember faithfully, because it is impossible to forget it, that the first thing that he said Punish is that everything what had been said there, or at least how it had been said, him “he had looked like a pain”. It added that if we were thinking that like that we were going to be interested to the company we were going ready.

Also it was called us the attention specially that was affirming that in a project class it did not have to speak about budgets and that if he had to do it any day, it was leaving the education.

Only we want to leave witness of which this was said, and that the persons who said it were good architects, teachers of the ETSAC, and belonging to a generation previous to the members of the table, which sees the things of a very different, this way it is our hope.

As someone said then after the dinner “it is as if you say blue and other one says thirty three; but good, I gave at least a color, not?” For some reason, there it was impossible to extract nothing in clearly, except the most absolute of the dissonances and the biggest of the distances. I suppose that we do not speak anything any more that for us and probably for anyone any more of the table, between these positions and ours that, we were thinking, they had to approach new ways of communicating the architecture.

It has produced us a bit of sadness to read the texts of some companions on these days that, being there, they have preferred not saying what there happened, or to say it a bit by half. It seems that if one forms a part of the guests, he has to agree and to swallow that one that when it is to another side is an object of critique and of debate.

We run the risk of which the couches and the photocall seduce like sedujeron theirs theirs previous, still silent generations sacrificed in the work of the architect, and this way, to wait to another invitation to say something without falling down in the trap of to criticize to that one that has power, intelligence, beauty, or some attribute that it allows him to say without being criticized, only for the fact of having born before that one or of having more skill as architect.

Let’s hope so that we do not fall in this trap, us also.

In short, we do not know if the architects and the company can come or not to understanding itself. What yes seems to be clear is that there are some architects of another generation who believe that we continue speaking an own language and that it does not have to be a communiqué to the company because the architecture, the good one, continues explaining alone.

What it is sure is that the generation of the famous bubble and that of the not less famous crisis is condemned not to understand. It is more, we might say that they are destined not to be interested even and what more he suffers it gives us is that some companions of our profession seem to be the first ones in wanting to repel the attention on the topics that we we all defend privately when someone of these more than recognized architects they have come good to a summons as this one.

Insurance that when we lose the fear of the authority or of the teacher whose opinion is indisputable, this dynamics in the one that we have been educated where the dialog is in the habit of being absent and reigns the monologue of the intellectual authority and unquestionable mulberry tree, at the time probably a few days could celebrate as these of the Laboratory of Ideas where we all are more sincere and the debate furthermore interesting and fruitful for the profession, which is what needs, forgetting forever the absurd and sterile distances and the servile disimulos of resigned approval.

Text by bRijUNi arquitectos: Beatriz Villanueva Cajide -Architect and Master in Architectural Advanced Projects (ETSA Madrid)- and Francisco Javier Casas Cobo -architect and Master theoretically, Analysis and History of the Architecture (ETSA Madrid).


[1] Philip Johnson  Jan. 8, 1979 Photography Source: time.com

bRijUNi arquitectos

Beatriz Villanueva es Doctora arquitecta en Proyectos arquitectónicos avanzados, Máster en Arquitectura, Master en Proyectos Arquitectónicos Avanzados por la Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid y Máster en Gestión de Espacios Virtuales por la Fundación Camuñas, Escuela de Arquitectura del C.E.U., Madrid..

Francisco J. Casas es Arquitecto, Master en Análisis, Teoría e Historia de la Arquitectura y PhD (ABD) con su tesis “Fundamentos Historiográficos, Teóricos y Críticos de los años 50” dentro del Departamento de Composición Arquitectónica (ETSAM).

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