Rock, scissors, paper | handarchitecture

Rock, scissors, paper

In an occasion accepted the invitation to give a monographic talk in the far Budapest on the “stone in the current Spanish architecture”. It was, at least for me, an odd committed, but took it like an exercise of analysis. I chose some exemplary buildings, realised all having like protagonist the use of the stone, and began to look for a conductive thread for my exhibition.

Stone…. I thought in a rather playful way.

Rock, scissors, paper !

It surprised me the occurrence and put me to indagar in the meaning of each term.

Soon I discovered a clear enough method of arranging that set of projects. I recognized in every word, more than his literal object, an attitude. A way of being.

I did a list of the buildings and linked each of them with each of the terms.

This way, all the buildings arranged in the column “stone” had characteristics united with the stability and the sustentation, emphasizing as protagonist the section were using of the force of the volume, the mass and the vertical gravitational one. Definitively, they had to see with the tectonic thing.

Classified under the term “paper” they took as an unvariant an extreme functionality derived from the emphatic value of the distribution guidelines in plant, of the extensive and horizontal thing. They were strongly tied to the planimetric thing.

Finally, emphasized in the paragraph “scissors” they were betting in an unequivocal way for the search of the presence, for the basic value of his surrounding ones and gatherings. For the silhouette, the line and the problem of perimetral. Definitively, for the order stereotomic.

Beyond the use of the concrete material of the stone, which was classifying them was a certain strategy of utilization of the material. I discovered that quite material it can have a way “stone”, a way “paper” and a way “scissors” of being. Of being and being in the architecture. That any building can project taking as an origin these three alternative ways of arranging the matter. And that the good architecture leads suitably his diverse combinations.

The ancient game of hands of Chinese origin, based on the existence of three kingdoms of the nature, that is to say, the mineral thing, the vegetable thing and the animal thing, takes us to the world of the universal triads. We might carry ourselves back to other areas, to the myths of Osiris, Isis and Horus and his successive historical parallelisms. But also to the secular agreement of “firmitas, utilitas and venustas” and his classic and modern reintepretations. And other many dialectical triads. And in all the cases to resort to the same game of hierarchic examinations.

It is a game that us raises opposite to the problem of three, in terms of quantity, that the clashes happen two to two. With cyclical results. Antagonistic. Polar.

He provides us with the difficult art of the choice. And of the intuition. He conquers the one that guesses. The one that has the most psychological strategy (it is useless besides bored to play opposite to a machine). It does not fit the doubt or the ambiguity. There prevails the virtue of the instantaneous thing, of the immediate thing.

Undoubtedly, it is a good game. A game that is also in the architectural thing.

And it is that, as LC was saying,

“Only the serious types play”.

Sergio de Miguel, architect
Madrid, february 2010

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