The vacuity of the critique | Oscar Tenreiro Degwitz

The spectacular one with own weight: Rem Koolhas. Here the set Of Rotterdam (160.000 m2) inaugurated recently

All the architects that I named last week and that it was necessary to me to name for reasons of space are children of the Modern Movement in spite of that his individual developments, his personal distances, could be included in created categories ad-hoc by some respected historian by the idea of emphasizing the specificity of his work. Categories certainly that often depend on the cultural, local roots (a country, a tradition) that nourish them, and that as it itself have a relative character.

It is unnecessary to say but I it do, that we all are children of our historical time, and for those who approached the architecture in the first decades of the century twenty the values led to the conscience by the Modern Movement were there appearing and marking the sensibility of every whom, independently of the ways that should continue. We do not need that any author for illustrates that it is authorize us to consider them to be like that and neither it has felt that are called we to being correct in the use of terms that definitively have multiple important. Because it would be then that to write to him asking for correction them at tens o’clock of North American critics who use the modernist term refer specifically to the architects worshippers of the modern “style”. And for more precise being I invite to look in the New York Times for the following articles, all writings about the Arq. Paul Rudolph (1918-1997), which I selected because it me was simple to come to them, clarifying that to illustrate my point of view there are dozens of examples. The first one, was written by Herbert Muschamp when Paul Rudolph died in 1997; other one of August 27, 2008 of the critic of architecture Nicolai Ouroussoff on Rudolph’s building for the Faculty of Architecture of Yale’s University, a third party brings over of Rudolph’s educational building in Florida that was going to be demolished; and finally that of Robin Pogrebin, of February 11 of 2013 on a building near to New York that a partner of the signature Gwathmey-Siegel (of the New York Five of the eighties) proposes to rescue. In all these articles and constant in the journalistic critique of the United States the “modernist” term is used to isolate the architects who do not wear shoes in the currents to the mode.

I think that the “Critique-that-philosophizes”, as I say it in the today note, it is a type of speech of root especially academic with few relevancy with regard to the realities of the exercise of the architecture. It is in certain way a vestige of philosophical overcome uses that continue being practised by that one of the ” spell of the language “, term that a great philosopher left us and that describes very well the eternal temptation of going beyond what can be said. Neither I think that they contribute anything significant his ramifications and between them particularly the ideological – political critique, which has proliferated enormously in Latin America due to the fact that by these sides of the world we remain grasped to a few things of the past. It is a way of thinking the architecture that inevitably leads him to giving too much value to the moral justifications or moralists of the work in his socio-political dimension, getting dark or disdaining the merits you will discipline and the cultural transcendency of the experience of constructing. It is the type of critique that inspired many years the debates of the Seminars of Latin-American Architecture (GO OUT). Maybe it continues inspiring them, but I do not have information to hand to affirm it.

In Venezuela this critical bias had excessive force during a good number of years and still today it seemed that it refuses to die if we abide ourselves what it has been said in relation to the public architecture during the political stage that we are living. On which he has written himself, I wanted to make it notice in a recent act in the Architects’ College, principally from a quantitative perspective (numbers and percentages in the case for example of the Mission Housing) or doing allusion to the manipulations that are done from the Power. There will be necessary to wait for a cultural ripeness that helps us to overcome the resistance to speak about the architecture in own terms of the discipline.

I clarify finally that I am interested in the critical speech based on the description or on the chronicle and certainly the one that throws a look from the history.

Though in the latter case I must annotate that the historians commit often the mistake of asking for attachment us to his points of view. I am not a historian, critic either; I am an architect who wants to construct, he thinks the architecture and writes on it.

Óscar Tenreiro Degwitz, Architect
Venezuela, august 2014,
Entre lo Cierto y lo Verdadero

Óscar Tenreiro Degwitz

Es un arquitecto venezolano, nacido en 1939, Premio Nacional de Arquitectura de su país en 2002-2003, profesor de Diseño Arquitectónico por más de treinta años en la Universidad Central de Venezuela, quien paralelamente con su ejercicio ha mantenido ya por años presencia en la prensa de su país en un esfuerzo de comunicación hacia la gente en general de los puntos de vista del arquitecto acerca de los más diversos temas, entre los cuales figuran los agudos problemas políticos de una sociedad como la venezolana. Tenreiro practica así lo que el llama el “pensamiento desde y hacia la arquitectura”, insistiendo en que lo hace como arquitecto en ejercicio, para escapar de los estereotipos y cautelas propios de la “crítica arquitectónica”. Respecto a la cual no oculta su desconfianza, que explica recurriendo al aforismo de Nietzsche sobre el crítico de arte “que ve el arte desde cerca sin llegar a tocarlo nunca”.

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