Joaquín Costa, 21 | Antonio Giráldez López

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Gymnasium You Astonish for Alejandro de la Sota. Alejandro de la Sota photographs © Foundation. Comity of CANO Study.

Joaquín Costa, 21

“We have turned poor in the experiences of the threshold. To penetrate in the dream is probably the only one that today stays -more, with it, also the awakening–”

Walter Benjamin, Obra de los Pasajes.

“The door is the physical sign of a singularity, and as any sign, must reverberate in the one that crosses it and to change in a little his perception, his movement or his pace of step. There a special contorsionismo is necessary, already be of the look, of the musculature or of the spirit. Otherwise it is a question neither of a limit nor of a real door.”

Santiago de Molina, Doors and Contortionist.

He says an old Japanese history that the ghosts are not capable of doubling two followed corners, which to such a appliance cannot react and to desist from his attempt from entering the places that like that arrange his tours. It is for it, or for any other reason, that the above mentioned configuration has been adopted in multitude of Japanese constructions. Any entry to an enclosure needs of a process, of a transition that it allows to be leaving besides yes that one that exceeds, that accompanies us though one does not see, though let’s not let’s want. The importance of the threshold, of an element astride between a territory and other one, it is not the physical space that it forms but all the mechanisms that allow to go undressing the ghosts what stays behind and being loaded with all that that is for coming. The importance is in creating the traps that allow to catch them. Something of all that Alejandro de la Sota should have learned.

In the number 21 of the street Joaquín Costa an emptiness in the front gives step to a space from where the exterior meets sifted across a railing steel. A wall of rugose brick, the same one that one saw and touching before, continues here, interrupted by a constant line of pavis. o the bottom of the enclosure, where the light is minor due to the reduction of height of the space, there appears a new door of dimensions more human than those who are in the habit of dictating the standards, of wood and metal, which repeats the same placement, the same strategy. It does not place in the axis that marks local direccionalidad, parallel to the street, but in a tangential way to him, in a corner, trying to happen unnoticed. The area of the public thing, of the infinitely opened, it returns to reduce for third time on having crossed this second door. One is in a much darker place, where the natural light filters across the glass band that we were mentioning before, desmaterializando the meeting between wall and ceiling. Wrapping the space there appears again the rugose wall of red brick, the same one that existed in the street, the same one who has been accompanying us in the whole tour. Opposite to us (this time yes) the last door, to another side a gymnasium.

Finally we are inside.

Antonio Giráldez López
Architect and vagabond
Madrid · march 2015


“The gymnasium of Marvels is already 22 years old. Do not be why I made it like that but what yes I know it is that I am not upset with to have done it. I believe that not to do Architecture is a way to do it and we all all those do not do it we will have done more for her that those who, learned, continue doing it. Then a problem was solved and it continues working and it seems to me that nobody begins in there is absent the Architecture that does not have.”

Alejandro de la Sota, 1984.

Filed under: Antonio Giráldez López, lighthouse

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