The peanut and the shell | Jorge Meijide

Alejandro de la Sota’s drawing of the Domínguez House based on Saarinen’s text

For the poet, in the construction of the necessary image to his occupation, the look is fundamental. The poetry, as the architecture, is a search.

“The poetry goes out to the light when she is looked and not when one presents it”

says to us Pavese1. Without this search of the poetical image, without this search that the attentive and reflexive look drinks to him, one cannot give the necessary mental construction that he leads towards the core of the idea that that ride inside. The thinking image like that understood is the germ of the idea.

Alejandro de la Sota constructs the Dominguez House (1973-78) on the basis of a powerful and clear thinking image, a great and beautiful evocative image. And it does it departing from Saarinen’s text on the cockpit of the man. He says Jack in a text of 1981 on the house:

“How much more whites of egg are the ideas, more it is difficult to obtain clearly his materialization”.

The above mentioned clarity is his fundamental reduction, his hard core and Sota, as good Galician, is essential. In the house of La Caeira the materialization of the image is the victory of the idea.

Few drawings are so evocative of an idea in architecture as the one that does Jack on Saarinen’s text to illustrate his intentions in the Dominguez House. The above mentioned text, of which I have not been capable of finding any more reference than that Jack does of him, and that we all know, says this way:

“The cockpit of the man can be represented by a cut sphere ecuatorialmente by the plane of the land. The buried semisphere will be used for the rest, stagnation, reinstatement of forces and of the thought; the semisphere over the plane 0 will be where the man develops his activity, where it develops the well-considered thing. Of stony, earthy materials, the first one: be transparent, of crystal, the second one” (the cursive ones are mine).

The public sphere and the private sphere are parts of the same vital reality of the social contemporary man; the Domínguez House reflects them and contains them. The cave and the cloud. One to think about the intimacy of a buried space and gestante, place of the seed, and other one for the growth, opened and with light, of the developed germ2. And between both one almost at all, a limbo, only a brief step along the air that joins them intangibly. The step of the transformation.

The house is a private space, is the construction of an interior. Eileen Gray was saying:

“A house is not a machine à habiter is the shell of the man, his prolongation, his liberation, his spiritual irradiation”.

It is the same poetical image of the shell that he us sends to the world fenomenológico of Bachelard. In The poetics of the space3, the French philosopher does of the image of the shell a safety place and protection, a place of personal growth; a place that is our habitat. He was saying in a previous text that in the inhabited space, in this personal habitat, the brands are seen of those who live it and that this action to live is given when, over any formal materiality, the stay transforms in refuge. We say so with the philosopher that

“the house shelters the dream, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows us to dream in peace”.

The still and buried seed contains an entire world, the world of the immensity.

“We dream in an immense world. The immensity is the thought of the immobile man”

says to us in another moment Bachelard. The immensity is in us, in this stagnation that propitiates the buried sphere, which propitiates the intimacy. The idea is the seed that this intimacy shelters.

Oiza learned of Pavese that

“a nail does not do to itself with an iron but with the idea of nail”.

Jorge Meijide . Arquitecto
Coruña. April 2016


1 Pavese, Cesare. El oficio de vivir. Seis Barral, 2001. Entrada del 6 de octubre de 1935.

2 The fourth meaning that our dictionary offers to us of the word Seed points at the correct interpretation: “Thing that is reason or origin from which others come”. And the fifth one of the word Germ completes the circle: “Beginning or origin of a material or moral thing”.

3 Bachelard, Gastón. La poética del espacio. Fondo de Cultura Económica, Buenos Aires, 1991.

Arquitecto por la ETSA de A Coruña desde 1991. Colabora en el estudio de Juan Navarro Baldeweg entre 1991 y 1992. Máster de proyectos integrados por la fundación camuñas, madrid 1992. A la vuelta A Coruña se incorpora al estudio de su padre, Carlos E. Meijide Calvo con el que trabaja hasta 2001. Desde 2004 hasta 2009 colabora con los arquitectos Patricia de Marichalar y Fernando Martínez. En el año 2009 forma, junto con Patricia de Marichalar meijidedemarichalar arquitectos.

Desde 2014 trabaja en solitario colaborando con estudios y arquitectos amigos. Es profesor de proyectos arquitectónicos en la Escuela Técnica superior de Arquitectura de A Coruña desde 1997; es tutor de proyecto fin de carrera y ha sido presidente del tribunal de PFC. Colabora con blogs y publicaciones de arquitectura.

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