Slowness | Miquel Lacasta Codorniu

Newton de Étienne-Louis Boullée’s cenotaph of 1784


The architecture always has been an old man’s profession, a labor that demands the implication of an enormous quantity of time in order that an architect could be considered in condition of maturity. We all those that we recognize ourselves in the profession, agree that there are neither short-cuts nor ways of in way. The architecture is done to the chup chup of the life.

This idea of slowness has been exasperating for some, which in an exercise for accelerating the time have reached a totally weak age the shrill easels of the media. At the end of so much burst of speed, this machine of reporting in the emptiness, this background noise reverberante into that they have turned some average, has broken his logic and has been trivialized up to the end.

The voices of the intensive young persons of the 90 and beginning of 2000 they have interrupted and turned to the path of a time measured with a compass by the experience.

And it is that it has not returned of leaf. If a project of architecture removes ahead 5 or 6 years of life, when not more, and for very capable that one is, only there can take to him simultaneously approximately 4 or 5 projects of direct form, that is to say, projects of which the trade is learned, it turns out that to have the experience of for example, credit been employed at approximately 30 projects of architecture are needed at least approximately 25 or 30 years.

Of the time and of the value of the slow thing it is about what I speak.

José Antonio Marina1 was writing in the Ballesol magazine last April 1 it brings over of to re-arise from the slowness as value in positive from which I extract some ideas:

“There is a world campaign in favour of the slowness. It is true that we all are suffering a speed epidemic. An epidemic of which we are simultaneously causers and victims. We live in a constant acceleration, enjoy apparently the speed. We go rapidly, though we do not know where. They were saying that the American executives were putting the alarm clock half an hour later of the due thing, this way to begin the day accelerated, with many adrenaline in blood.

The movement slow began in Italy, as a response to the snack food, fast food. It was a question of eating without hurries, in company, enjoying the table and the tablecloth. Savouring, instead of swallowing. Of there it was extended to the slow cities, slow cities, also in Italy. There is, finally, a trend to the slow education, slow parenting. His supporters, say, try to liberate the children of the frantic education.

Often, when we want to win time, we are losing very valuable things. The hurry is scolded by many values. With the comity, for example. With the tenderness. With the attentive care. There are many qualities that only are perceived in a situation of calmness. The beauty of the things, the pleasure of the conversation, the brilliance of the landscape. The hurry is a sister of consumerism, who consists of not enjoying a lot of time of a thing. It tries to liberate us of the boredom, by means of a constant supported excitation.”

Marina’s reflection seems to me to be interesting while it enters totally reverberation with the philosophical theories of the latter decades that, after the collapse of the political thought and of the Utopian hopes, they plead for the deceleration of the revolutionary spirit of beginning of the 20th century in favour of a perception of the time in condition of constant present. That is to say, there assumes a certain fenomenología of the present time in opposition to the spirit breaker of the chain of time of the attitude of the revolutionary.

It is necessary to clarify here, that far from understands this fenomenología of a present hypertrophied as a species of linear submission to a progress tied to a constant consumption, which one proposes in essence, or at least it detaches Marina’s thought, is the need to take a reflexive pause that implies the convergence of an intensive time and another time slowed down in to develop vitally of each one. Something like to be able to combine the hurries and the pauses.

Evidently it would add that the architecture, the urbanism and the landscape should be founded on a long and slow time, I do not exempt of the highest intensity when they are carried out. The image that always me comes to the head is that of the corridor of long distances of mountain. Long and steep slopes, chilling descents, speed always, but reserving the body for a long voyage. I like to think that the architecture is something like activity of constant intensity and variable speed.

For our profession, the intensity surely is more important than the speed, though it is clear that sometimes it is necessary to to go very rapid, and to learn others to lower the revolutions. The act of projecting in architecture must be able to combine the immediate response with the joyful contemplation … if we are capable of stretching and contracting the time in this direction, we have already gained one of the key items.

Or as better Marina says, it is not a question of passiveness, but to be selective in the investment of our time. It is an opportune time for every thing. As says the Ecclesiastes, a very wise book “It Is a time to plant and other one to harvest, a time to embrace”. It would add: and a time to walk fast, and other one to walk slowly.

Definitively, in architecture, to win time at the cost of a project is to sow the banality in the fertile bed of the ideas. Nevertheless, to give to every project his lapse of time is to provide it with the aptitude to resist the decades that to the project him they come above when the drawings turn into a reality.

The idea of a certain slowness returns to be attractive. To enjoy the passage of time as tool of reflection, as space of learning, it does not stop being an image that in architecture we we all share. To learn to accelerate and to stop a project transforms in an exercise of brilliancy, in the palpable demonstration of the attitude of the sniper. This it is in sum the position of the architect, at least ideally, bet in the limits of the culture and the technology, consciously of the shortage of ammunition, only it is possible to allow a clean and accurate shot with which to do reveille.

I admire very much the architects who in his work demonstrate this aptitude to dominate the tempos of a project. Beyond the formalization of the architecture, of his final wrapper, the capacity of monsters certain in knowing in that time they move and in which time they act, always has seemed to me to be fascinating.

Probably the architecture comes down to it, to dominating the time.

Miquel Lacasta Codorniu. Doctor architect

Barcelona, october 2013

In the image the acquaintance I project of Newton de Étienne-Louis Boullée’s Cenotaph of 1784. The idea of Cenotaph, of empty tomb, it recreates up to the end the concept of slowness, of monument to a definitively stopped time. More fascinating images on the project in encontrandolalentitud.


1 It performs the most advisable thing to visit the web of the philosopher, José Antonio Marina. In an exercise of extraordinary generosity, Sea-coast it has dozens of texts, articles and ideas published in his web, which they work as source of reference for those that we admire his work.

Es cofundador en ARCHIKUBIK y también en @kubik – espacio multidisciplinario. Obtuvo un Ph.D. con honores (cum laude) en ESARQ Universitat Internacional de Catalunya UIC y también fue galardonado con el premio especial Ph.D (UIC 2012), M.arch en ESARQ Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, y se graduó como arquitecto en ETSAB Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya . Miquel es profesor asociado en ESARQ desde 1996. Anteriormente, fue profesor en Elisava y Escola LAI, y también en programas de postgrado en ETSAB y La Salle. Fue arquitecto en la oficina de Manuel Brullet desde 1989 desde 1995.


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