The space of the mirrors | Miguel Ángel Díaz Camacho

Maqueta Espejo Seagram MIES Imagen Imagen vía The Graham Foundation. Phyllis Lambert, Mies van der Rohe y Gene Summers (1955). Autor desconocido. Incluida en el libro Building Seagram, Phyllis Lambert, Yale University Press 2013.
Model Mirror of the Mies van der Rohe´s Seagram | The Graham Foundation. Phyllis Lambert, Mies van der Rohe y Gene Summers (1955). Unknown author. Included in the book Building Seagram, Phyllis Lambert, Yale University Press 2013.

The mirrors work as the pupils of a within the walls space, a room outdoor from that they observe us. In occasions there preserve even some recollections of our lives, as the porous and dusty mirrors of the old houses, which seem to examine from the hats and suits to stripes of ours forbears1. Also the mirrors take care of us, receive us, encourage us, as indissoluble part of the domestic universe, answer us. In this respect Luis García Montero does clear distinctions:

“It does not matter if you have slept little or very much,

you mirrors of hotel never excuse

and are like animals of mountain

that do not accept the treatment of the men.

The light of the familiar mirrors

is taken pity on of us, nevertheless,

it helps us to pretend, and for affection

or habitually it manages to excuse us”.2

The mirrors seduce from the construction of an intangible fiction, a door towards Alicia’s world across the mirror3. . The orientation of this powerful opening towards a species of soft reality is guessed in Aldo van Eyck’s mirrors, integrated as an elopement on the walls of the orphanage of Amsterdam. The cinema, the circus and Chaplin exactly in his center, good know the game multiplier of the reflections. The mirrors also transform our perception and show a luck of collage of the reality.

Mirrors in the ceilings of the Serpentine Gallery or in the walls of the house Domínguez establish an alteration, a discontinuity, a mirage: there where there should be sky, there is lawn; light where there should be shade4. And vice versa. Lewerentz in Stockholm or Le Corbusier in the terrace Beistegui anticipates actions that years later would develop on the territory, thanks to the mirrors, Robert Smithson or Anish Kapoor5.

The architecture of the mirrors exists beyond the space of our breathing. In the image, a cautious Mies appears to the abyss of the mirrors in a model of study for the front of the Seagram Building in New York.

Fear of the emptiness. The mirrors enable the first construction of an intangible, illusory, tower so vertical as virtual and nevertheless, opened by point before his eyes in a small room of a building anyone. The mirrors order and multiply. The mirrors take care of us and remember us. The mirrors alter and interrogate us. It suits to lose, with the excitation of the explorer who has come the first one, in the space of the mirrors.

Miguel Ángel Díaz Camacho. PhD Architect
Madrid. May 2015.
Author of the Parráfos de arquitectura. #arquiParrafos


1 One of Ramón Gómez de la Sernaa’s outcries takes form of aphorism to assure that “to the mirrors they do not forget the suits to stripes”. An exciting way of connecting the mirrors with the memory is found by us in Solano Benitez‘s project for the tomb of his father in Piribebuy, Paraguay.

2 Luis García Montero, “The mirrors”, in Separated rooms, Madrid, Visor, 2009, page. 31.

3 Lewis Carroll, “Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There”,  1871.

4 SANAA, Serpentine Gallery Pavillon, 2009; Alejandro de la Sota, casa Domínguez, 1975-78.

5 “Yucatan Mirror Displacement” or “Ithaca Mirror Trail”, Robert Smithson1969; “Turning the World Upside Down” Anish Kapoor 2010-11.

Miguel Ángel Díaz Camacho

Doctor en Arquitectura, Decano de la Facultad de Tecnología y Ciencia UCJC. Presidente de la Asociación Sostenibilidad y Arquitectura,  perteneciente al Consejo Superior de los Colegios de Arquitectos de España. Director de MADC Arquitectos, estudio profesional con premios en concursos nacionales e internacionales, en la actualidad desarrolla proyectos en España y Noruega. Escritor y crítico de arquitectura, es autor de los libros “Párrafos de Arquitectura. Core(oh)grafías” (2016) y “Arquitectura y Cambio Climático” (2018).

follow me

Filed under: articles, Miguel Ángel Díaz Camacho

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,