“Living a fragile memory, only vivible from the interior” | Antonio Giráldez Lopez

Carlos Cerulla, Without title, 2010

“Living a fragile memory, only vivible from the interior”1

“The housing defines the space deprived while to the space of the others; it is an enclosure of privacy, a space of personal events. His limits, which define this world where it goes our experience being accumulated, they are complex, tense and rich borders and situations and can be from membranes up to inhabitable spaces in yes same”.2

The construction of the own housing, of the refuge for yes same, it has been a very fertile topic (also very polemic) along the history of the Architecture. This action is understood as an occasion to experiment and materialize the most intimate and personal obsessions of each one; turning his refuge3, his home, in a laboratory of tests and concepts extrapolables to other projects –“In general it is a question of extrapolating the experience of a project realized to a certain scale and imagining what might happen on having applied his strategy to a major scale. That is to say, the use of prototypes” 4-. Also it supposes a plasmación of an own sense of living, trying to articulate by means of architectural elements his way of relating to the world and to theirs that across the reading of these physical, inert traces, we will be able to understand and to glimpse. Maybe Smiljan Radic has been specially prolific of this field, constructing again and again the same refuge, in different times and places; for it, across the Dwelling, we will be able to be detecting all these ideas that shape the imaginary one and architectural production of the Chilean architect.


“When an inhabitant of Chiloé’s island wanted to move his house, it was throwing her with oxen to the sea and was making it float thrown by boats up to another shore of the island”.

In Chiloé’s archipelago, in Chile, perviven still a series of logics of community sense, of feasts and moments of meeting concerning tasks that, for his magnitude, need all the persons of a population. The minga most known about these community labors (today already almost a tourist claim), consists of the transport of houses of an island to other one by means of crafts. The constructions of wood, emptied and arriostradas, are arranged on floats and towed from a point to other one of the lake, displacing the housings between the different islands. Once there, by means of pairs of oxen, they are transported on trunks of trees up to his new location. An action that does not leave physical traces in the territory in the one that is realized, but that loads not only the memory of the building moved but also of the persons involved in his displacement, be proprietary of her or not.

It is not chance that Smiljan Radic uses the ships and the oxen to make to come up to the clear one of the forest where the house locates the materials that will shape the refuge, wood and I glaze principally. There is not even chance the choice of a structure of wood with assemble “to half a cane” without utilization of metallic pieces as the fishermen’s housings of this Chilean coast; structure that it separates, for the exceptional seismic condition of Chile, allows for his own materiality and disposition, to give the most efficient response before an earthquake. Neither we can obviate another aspect finally not materialized by impossibility of transport up to the place, the foundation on big bolones of rock, queriendo found his home in the same way that the churches of this territory (I tear appellant along his work, which we will see in the Half-caste Restaurant or in the pavilion of the Serpentine Gallery). There turns out to be more literal another aspect of the housing, of the modification of the year 2007, consisting of one textile closing that like shop of campaign crowns the housing generating the second floor; since it stops being a subtle relation, structure5, of Chiloé’s popular architecture, to happen to be able to be read as a formal response, maybe too immediate, of the metallic covers of the same one.

The Dwelling goes incorporated in his memory, in that of the materials that compose it and his disposition, Chiloé’s territory and his particular conditions, even the dampness acquired by the wood during his transport. This manages to take root, in the same way as the minga was doing, an architecture to a landscape and to the persons involved in the process. And vice versa, to take the territory (both the physicist and the intellectual one) incorporated in the DNA of each one of the aspects, materials and technical solutions that have defined the architectural response. Therefore, once understood all these logics that sublie in this refuge, we understand much better the following phrase:

“Aparentemente, esas casas no tiene que ver con un lugar específico, con una vista o un paisaje, sino con el reconocimiento de todo un territorio en el que una casa se puede mover, o si se quiere puede flotar con facilidad. La arquitectura no necesita muchas veces de un sitio, necesita de un territorio”.

Gonzalo Puga, sin título.

“Seemingly, these houses it does not have to see with a specific place, with a sight or a landscape, but with the recognition of the whole territory in which one marries it is possible to move, or if it is wanted can float with facility. The architecture does not need often from a site, needs from a territory. 6

Maybe the most interesting aspect of this refuge is his relation with the landscape, distantly and next, own and foreign. This way, the constructive system about which we were speaking before, some you were squeaking separated 56,5 centimeters, they allow to shape a vision isótropa of the interior, that of a cloth of racks is continued by me in the whole perimeter (with the exception of the door) that uses as intermediary, as protection and limit before the exterior  –“The room, since any refuge tries to preserve a withdrawal. The glass veil of his fronts possesses the aura of transparency that exactly in our civilization makes us disappear. Nevertheless this isotropía is destined to be modified, to be controlled again and again by the own objects that do vivible the house. The belongings of the family Radic will be colonizing, tupiendo and accumulating in these hollows; replacing the exterior nature with a new landscape formed by his exchequers, his undone ones, with his History, looking that is this one the one that turns into the real landscape (memory):

“This structure tries to solve with a constructive system the whole room and everything what she can support. Not only the loads of the own construction, but the vestiges and the recollections that in her can be accumulated. Hereby, there is claimed that with the time the faces of this box fill with remains which “will compose” finally his fronts.

Of some form, this territory of double nature to which Radic was referring is demonstrated in the thickness of the constructive system of the Dwelling; where in the same visual plane, which we might understand almost as the representation of a landscape, they are capable of four levels of relation being established: with the immediate environment (vision of the exterior), with Chiloé (the materiality and memory of the housing), with his past (the belongings that they have been hoarding) and his present.

It will be precisely this overlapping of levels, the multitude of “soft information”7 of potential ideas, deposited in scarcely fifty or sixty centimeters of thickness of closing what makes possible to establish the Dwelling as a project germinal and paradigmatic inside the path of the Chilean architect.

An authentic laboratory of tests, a trustworthy record of his personal obsessions that we will be able to see reflected, impregnating the rest of his projects.

Antonio Giráldez López
Architect and vague
Madrid · juanary 2015

1 Extract of the audio-visual production “A noise orange tree” by Smiljan Radic.
2 Gallego, M. Anotaciones al Margen.
3 Term used by the own Radic to name a series of projects of housings realized for yes same and Marcela Correa (gathered in the interview realized for El Croquis).
4 Smiljan Radic’s appointments have been extracted from El Croquis unless, explicitly, the opposite is indicated.
5 Term that does not refer to the tectonic aspect, but one must deal with the philologic sense of the term.
6 Georges Perec. Especies de espacios. Book to that it refers in the memory of the project gathered in Arquitecturas de Autor 27.
7 In several occasions Smiljan Radic uses this term to say to those ideas, that of unconscious form they determine and formalize the architectural project. Concretely it appears in conference Biarch. A noise orange tree.

El Croquis nº 167. (2013) Madrid: El Croquis Ed.
VV.AA.(2003) Arquitecturas de Autor. Nº27. Smiljan Radic. Pamplona: T6 Ediciones.
Radic, S. Un ruido naranjo (producción audiovisual).
Perec, G. (1974) Especies de espacios.
Gallego, M. (2007) Anotaciones al margen. Barcelona: Gustavo Gili.

Filed under: Antonio Giráldez López, lighthouse

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