Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oíza was a genius. Yes, a genius. In all the meanings of the word, even in her of “having very much genius”.
Always he was saying ingenious, creative, stimulant things. It was impossible to know what fertile associations of ideas it was going to do, and it was doing his exciting speech.
Unless you him were having to finish a phrase. It was distressing.
Sometimes it had a brilliant spark, it it was insinuating and claiming that someone of between the presents was finishing off it. Impossible. How to know what age what had happened to him?
Once, in a course of doctorate, it mentioned of spent a daily problem that had with his box of compases, and asked which was the solution. To me (since I suppose that to the rest of pupils) an evident silly response of cigar happened to me, but I abstained (as the others) of saying it loudly. Oíza insisted: The one who was meeting her had the course approved automatically. Nobody said anything. Disappointed for having a few so slow pupils, the teacher gave the solution: It was the one that I suppose that we had thought all.
But with Oíza it was not the normal thing. It might have been any thing. And if you were not succeeding you were exposing to his durísima (for sharp, enterteining and biting) your critique. And nobody was capable of resisting it.
(Apart from the fact that, of having succeeded, when sees the one who was the gallant who was saying to him then that should fulfill his promise).
To Oíza it liked to give courses on “architectural vocabulary” or, rather, on “basic concepts on the architectural elements”. To think what was a wall, a cover, a hollow, a column, etc. It was doing it with a spirit constructivista, concretly and practically, since to explain the bases, but it was bathing everything of poetry, of space, of creation, of philosophy of the human room.
They were a few exciting classes, in which from the structural need of the wall of load and from his constructive reality, it was coming near to the space and to the definition of the living conditions and function.
It was something extraordinary.
Oíza was suffering from lack of order and rigor explanatory. It was unable to develop a coherent program. But it did not have the minor importance, because to every phrase it was suggesting thousand ideas to you and was opening thousand ways you, and every history that was leaving of the foreseen agenda was immersing you in the adventure. Always it was a much better the opposing destination than the foreseen one.
The bad thing, as I say, it is when he was claiming that someone was following the idea. Nobody was capable of doing it.
Once, in one of these courses, there proposed his teacher assistant Francisco Alonso (the magnificent Pacoalonso) to give a lesson on “the door”.
Alpaca Alonso prepared the topic for himself with the dedication and perseverance accustomed in him, and gave an exhaustive and magisterial chat on the door: Types of door (sliding, flip-top, bascule, pivotantes …); materials (wood, glass, steel, aluminium, stone …), systems, closings, styles, etc, etc, etc.
The chat lasted his good three quarters of hour, during which Oíza represented attentivly and quietly. On having ended, the whole world was waiting for the letter of congratulation of the teacher and, perhaps, a couple of phrases to put the cherry.
But it was not like that. Oíza got up and said to him to Alpaca Alonso who had been wrong completely. That the door is not the membrane that closes the hollow, but the hollow. The door is the opening. The leaf annuls the door, wants that the hollow turns to be a wall, which stops being a door. The flip-top leaf, pivotante, bascule, etc, fights against the door.
The door is a door when it is opened. Everything else is a non-door.
“You have not found out about anything”.
Alpaca Alonso argued, spoke, exhibited, reasoned. But already it was quite useless. (In my modest opinion, Oíza had the whole reason, but it was unnecessarily cruel. It could have intervened initially and have re-led the chat of his assistant, or have turned her into a fertile debate).
It does little, Santiago de Molina has written a reflection on the door. It seemed to me to be very beautiful and I encourage you to that you her read. I believe that Oíza would have liked very much. “The doors stop to spend rivers”.
José Ramón Hernández Correa
Doctor Architect and author de Arquitectamos locos?
Toledo · february 2013
Nací en 1960. Arquitecto por la ETSAM, 1985. Doctor Arquitecto por la Universidad Politécnica, 1992. Soy, en el buen sentido de la palabra, bueno. Ahora estoy algo cansado, pero sigo atento y curioso.