The plant and the ruin | Miguel Ángel Díaz Camacho

Montaje de plantas. MADC
Plant assembly. MADC

I remember the first time I had an original before my eyes. That pencil-drawn plant contained all the information necessary for the execution of the project: dimensions, levels, finishes, materials, types of walls, ceiling height, program, support, relationship with the immediate environment … More than a plant we could say that it was a map, a latent structure in a very concrete and determined way of ordering the world: it was a project in the form of atlases, it was a plant by Javier Carvajal, which was said to have reached heights in the water

“to express its precise precision”.1

Interestingly, one of the most exciting issues of the plant lies in our ability to inhabit the spaces represented there, the possibility of “knocking on the door” and touring each and every one of the indoor landscapes that are proposed. It is then when it is discovered that perhaps in the abstraction of every plant, the essential and first strategy of any project, that truly inalienable, the link that is called there between Men and the World can be established – as in any other document:

“In the plant there is an intellectual concentration that the image cannot have, although there is now a certain tendency to despise the values that belong to the plant as a document in which the artistic and intellectual capacity of the architect is concentrated. I will always defend the value of the plant”.2

Every plant has some ruin. On the one hand the plant represents the origin of the architecture, the seed of the form, the root of its structure: its birth. In this sense, the plant is a promise in the air, a space bounded by the light of a particular atmosphere, a unique interpretation of the outside. On the other hand, the plant is presented as a footprint in the landscape: gravity meets the ground through the geometry of the plant, the History of Architecture will be told through the findings and interpretations of a beautiful atlas of plants whose origin is probably in the cave or in the tree, then the dolmen or the cabin, the column and the wall, family archetypes subject to a strange degree of contemporaneity.

Making architecture consists of designing plants – we said ruins – with meticulousness. Design the plant and its ruin.

Miguel Ángel Díaz Camacho. PhD Architect
Madrid. March 2016.
Author of the Parráfos de arquitectura#arquiParrafos


1 Alberto Campo Baeza, “El aire cincelado”, en Javier Carvajal, Arquitecto, Fundación Cultural COAM, Madrid 1996, pág. XI.
2 Luis Martínez Santa-María, Interview VI Enor Architecture Awards 2014, minute 4’30”- 5’30”.

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).

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