Epilogue | Antonio S. Rio Vázquez

«Scanty disciplines there be of major interest that the etymology; it owes to the unforseeable transformations of the primitive sense of the words throughout the time»

Jorge Luis Borges, About classic ones (1952)

Luis Barragán. Own house in Tacubaya, city of Mexico (1947)

Jorge Luis Borges us remembers that the words have a history and Denys Cuché adds that «uo to a point, the words do the history»[1]. The words appear in certain moments to answer to questions that the company appears. To introduce a name supposes the first act of recognition and the first step towards his resolution:

«Naming it is, at the same time, to raise the problem and, in certain way, to solve it»[2].

Several teachers of the architecture have refused to accompany his answers constructed of words leaving his works as only one I bear witness, without another company that the silence: the minimal judgments of Mies van der Rohe or the permanent resignation to writing of Alvar Aalto, who manages to affirm

«God created the paper in order that in him architecture shows itself only; everything else – at least less for me – is an improper use of the same one»[3].

Opposite to this creative silence we meet the human limitation of thinking with words. Since we are remembered by the historian John Luckacs in his memories: «we speak, we write and teach by means of the words»[4]. To reveal the knowledge of the architecture is an attractive experience, where to teach turns into one to give signs that link this knowledge with the constructed work, with this first and permanent not written lesson.

Along nine texts -introduced by nine words- one has been giving form to a hypothetical academic course on the meaning of the modernity. A tour with numerous fragments, drifts, suggestions and hyperlinks that each one can check and reconstruct with his own words. That one would be the best legacy that an end of course can offer: a personal discovery. Returning to, «the words are not finite categories, but meanings: they are what they mean for us. Each one has his own history, his life and his death, his magic power and his limits»[5].

Luis Barragán, who also was a laconic teacher in words, autoimposed himself a series of concepts when it had to face a wide speech and, across them, was peeling his personal vision of the architecture. This way there appear the beauty, the silence, the loneliness, the happiness, the nostalgia … words that also come to us across his work and that possess a great capacity of evocation, of removing to new discoveries and new histories.

When he constructed his own house, those «unforseeable transformations» about which Borges was speaking made to themselves clear: «it Has been changing constant. I have taken walls from him, have put them, have increased some windows and reduced others. Also in the roof I have done modifications; initially his walls were white; later I they have put color»[6]. The work turns into a magnificent epilogue for his silent teaching:

«I think that everything will continue changing because the architecture is like an alive being who is modified as there change the persons who live it. A house is never finished, is an organism in constant evolution»[7].

As the learning, as the life.

antonio s. río vázquez . architect

a coruña. july 2013


[1] CUCHÉ, Denys. La noción de cultura en las ciencias sociales. Buenos Aires: Nueva Visión, 2004, p. 9.

[2] Ibíd.

[3] PALLASMAA, Juhani (Ed.). Conversaciones con Alvar Aalto. Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 2010, p. 11

[4] LUKACS, John. Últimas voluntades. Memorias de un historiador. Madrid: Turner, 2013, p. 15

[5] Ibíd.

[6] FIGUEROA, Aníbal. El arte de ver con inocencia. Pláticas con Luis Barragán. México: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, 1989, p. 102

[7] Ibíd.

Antonio S. Río Vázquez

Antonio S. Río Vázquez (A Coruña, 1981) es arquitecto por la E.T.S.A. de A Coruña, master en Urbanismo y doctor por la Universidade da Coruña. Especializado en teoría y diseño, su línea de trabajo se ha centrado en la investigación y divulgación del patrimonio arquitectónico moderno. Ha desarrollado proyectos de modo independiente y ha colaborado con varios estudios de arquitectura. Es socio fundador de Aroe Arquitectura. Es profesor en el Departamento de Proyectos Arquitectónicos, Urbanismo y Composición de la Universidade da Coruña, y ha sido profesor invitado en la Robert Gordon University de Aberdeen (Reino Unido), en la Universidade do Minho (Portugal) y en la Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza (Italia). Es miembro de la red UEDXX Urbanism of European Dictatorships during the XXth Century, del Grupo de Investigación en Historia de la Arquitectura IALA y del Grupo de Innovación Educativa en Historia de la Arquitectura. Ha formado parte del proyecto de investigación FAME Fotografía y Arquitectura Moderna en España, 1925-1965. Los resultados de sus investigaciones, tanto personales como conjuntas, han servido como aportación a eventos de debate y difusión científica y han sido publicados en libros y revistas.

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