Projecting in architecture | Fernando Freire Forga

When listening to professors and students speak on the meaning of our career and the “methods of design of avant-garde”, consider that they leave  several empty that desmerecen our profession and that interests me manifest in this essay.

It is true that a genius as Le Corbusier can have said that the architecture is: “the wise game, correct, glorious of the volumes under the light…” or can read a lot of more definitions of what means the architecture for important characters that form part the history of the architecture… Nevertheless, like professionals have the obligation of discernir and identify a coherent and complete meaning. It is not my intention provide a meaning of what is the architecture, rather my intensión is to invite to that the reader find an own meaning, that englobe all what has studied, his own path in diverse places and finally discover a reality and no a game of beautiful “words” that did him read in the school.

Unidad de habitación de Marsella, 1946, Le Corbusier. Marsella, Francia |

What is the Architecture?

Like example present my case: for me the architecture (the personal interpretation of the meaning that engloba the word architecture[1]) is much more complex in relation to all what have studied and is very complicated to attain describe the aims and consequences of our profession to 100%.

To start with, the architecture is a term conceived by the human being, fact that differentiates it of the natural, the organic, the animal, all this in relation to our praxis like people. The architecture can identify  from the starts of the human species, find it in the essential: to receive us, cover us or establish limits. The use a cave like house or space of protection already is a precarious “use” of the profession. As well as the start of the civilisations meant a big architectural advance, of the same way the happen of the years has showed a series of improvements and advances regarding the development of the architecture.

During a lot of years  enfrascó the profession in aesthetic terms, classical called styles, renacentistas, Gothic, etc… In each one of them observe  differences, so much in aesthetic terms like technological. Although it is true sees  an evolution, remaining “enfrascada” the architecture in “styles” of determinate times.

When going growing the cities, the interest to generate an order gives start to what know like urbanism, term that engloba to the architecture in general and looks for to organise it to attain “better urbes” in relation to the demographic growth in the cities.

Regarding the history of the architecture there is a lot for reading, study and analyse; however, to finals of the 19th century, can observe a detenimiento in the architectural and big field advances in other professions. The renaissance, the industrial revolution and finally the world-wide wars have showed an overwhelming technological advance. The big ships, the car, the aeroplanes, the arms bélicas, amongst other, are clear examples of this advance and that from my point of view form part of what could, also, describe like architecture. Which differences there is between a house and a car? The only difference is the function, similar to the differences that could exist between a house and a hospital or an airport. The only addition that can observe between a house and a car is that this last serves to displace . But, to design a car it is necessary to contemplate the same that it is considered in the architecture, adding him the quality of trip. And it is thus that there is all a revolution regarding the “machines” and his relation with the architecture. As also it mentions it Le Corbusier: “…The house is a machine to inhabit…” and with this evidenciaba what want to show in this paragraph.

The 20th century is fundamental regarding our technological evolution, is an interval of time where accelerate  all type of technological advances, incentivado by the world-wide wars and the knowledge accumulated until the 19th century.

Although the pictorial arts show a change to starts of the 20th century, the origins of these changes trace back to the second half of the 19th century with the impresionism. Being the avant-gardes of starts of the 20th century those that will determine the artistic possibilities that know until our days.

Regarding the architecture in the starts of the 20th century, do not see greater changes. The changes in our profession have a late entry in relation to the arts and will appear consolidated recently around the middle of the decade of 1920. The Modern Movement, The Bauhaus, the Neoplasticismo, amongst other movements will arise like sustento of a new way to conceive the architecture. In search to attain a coherent architecture to the technological advance and the human needs… and is thus that the “ancient academic styles” remain to a side. The modern materials like the concrete armed, the steel and the glass allow to attain this architectural advance and the functional approach will have the greater importance in what the design that governs to the project.

What is the Modern Movement?

A good definition regarding what concerns to the architecture can find it in Wikipedia. However the modern movement tackles more subjects, in reality all the subjects that atañen to the human being: Artistic, Politicians, Urban, anyway: EVERYTHING and from finals of the 19th century (taking more strength in 20th century). And for this based  in four principles that sustentaban the movement: Universality, Rigurosidad, Precision and Economy.

In architecture could focus the modern movement of the following way:

“…At the end of the 19th century, the incorporation of new materials and the development of new technical, revolutionised the traditional ways to build.

The Modern Movement in the history of the architecture comprises a period situated between the two world-wide wars, and his aim is the renewal of the character, design and principles of the architecture, the urbanismo and the design. The protagonists were architects that reflected in his projects the new criteria of functionality and aesthetic concepts. The movement identifies  in the moment of his maximum expression in the years twenty and thirty of the 20th century.

A decisive impulse for the movement was to charge of the CIAM, promoted by Him Corbusier, and the international conferences, where developed  many of the theories and principles that afterwards applied  in several disciplines. To these belong the movement Of Stijl, the Bauhaus, the constructivism and the Italian rationalism. In 1936 it coined  the term international Style in the USA and often calls  like this to all the movement.

Although the origins of this movement can look for to finals of the 19th century, with figures like Peter Behrens. His best examples build  from the decade of 1920, designed by architects like Walter Gropius, Mies go der Rohe and Him Corbusier, follow reading…

What is the “Post – Modernism”?

In architecture, at all more neither at all less than that that have treated to do afterwards and with intensión to surpass to the modernity. As not even they found a suitable name, all this afán to want to be innovative has been cataloged like Post-Modern.

The start of this stage Post-Modern situates  in the second half of the decade of 1960 and coincides with the thesis of the architect Robert Venturi, where tries to generate a new approach as a result of interpreting the modernity like something boring. The sentence of Mies: “less it is more…” Venturi answers it: “less it is boring…” and this represents the approach of his book Complexity and Contradiction in the Architecture. That it is not another thing that treat to invalidate the modern architecture in search of “new courses”. Fact that the happen of the years has showed us that it is not truth and that finally the modern architecture leads even the optimum possibilities regarding projection and design in our rubro professional.

For quoting some example, from my point of view, Ghery would be a valuable representative of what looked for the Post-Modernism: anything that moved away of the principles of the modern movement. If we analyse one of his works, for example the House Danzante in Prague (1997) observe that it gives him more importance to the formal result that to the space needs and obviously leaves to be a Universal product, Precise, Rigorous and Economic.

How have we to Project?

In this point can arrive  to conclusions debatibles and questionable, is thus that it is important to take into account that what will indicate  comes from of personal and particular sources, sustentadas by studies and the professional path experienced.

The postmodernism has worn out achieve a series of approaches for the architectural projection, that have gone “happening fashionable” and that have left sequelas in the current education of our profession.

In the majority of faculties, to national level, the form like representation of a concept or idea is what governs the design of an architectural project. This fact is used to to confuse to the student and induces it to elaborate a luck of concepts that allow him approximate to a “initial inspiration” for the formal projection of his academic works. This way to orient to the student to a conceptual architectural projection, launches like architectural production –the majority of the times- sculptural forms irrisorias and little coherent with the material and the function for which is conceived said building.

For graficar the current education, to continuation detail a relation of terms that employ  for sustentar an architectural design: Idea and/or Concept, Metaphor, Ephemeral, Ethereal, Sensory (referred to the emotional feelings), Poetic, Skin, amongst other. They are some of the terms that employ  to explain the architectural projection and the sustento of the form obtained.

Describing the production in relation to if the formal result approximates  to the idea or initial concept, remaining in a second flat the constructive system and the function of the project. The utilisation of these terms “facilitates” the sustento of the form obtained and the procedure proyectual employee. Nevertheless, it observes  little relation and until a bad use of the terms employed in relation to our profession.

All the indicated lines up evidence the research of new formal results and interesting. This need of formal researches originates  in the start of the postmodernidad, believing faithfully –with the happen of the years- that the architect is an artist that has to stand out like such and look for at all times the formal originality to end to find a “new architecture”. The architecture would not have to develop with the trivial end to achieve applauses and temporary recognitions. The architecture is not work of a person, as it could suceder in the pictorial art, musical, sculptural, literary, etcetera. The architecture contemplates users, functions, places, technologies, cultures; in essence it contemplates the firm mission to offer solutions for the development of the human needs in general. However, the formal development of the architecture could be considered infinite; but no thus imprecise.

To my seem have to shelve all method that induce us -basically- in the first years in the university. The “concept”, “the metaphor”, “the idea”, are terms that move us away of what really requires to be tackled by the architecture. Perhaps they could use these words in plastic arts, but no in architecture. To project in architecture require  terms and knowledges on the geographic space, the climatic characteristics, the materials to use , the functions to realise  and the automation required for an optimum solution. All this contemplating the National Regulation of Edificaciones and in case to be an innovative infrastructure, govern of the better examples attained in the international field.

Like exercise leave them the review of projects selected, where can appreciate  a satisfactory projection, logical and coherent with the principles that sustentan to the modern movement. In the title of each project can do  “click” to review to detail each project.

Fernando Freire Forga · Doctor Archiitect

Lima · may 2013 · Author of the Blog La Forma Moderna en Latinoamérica


[1] The architecture is the art and technical to project and design buildings, other structures and spaces that form the human surroundings. The term «architecture» comes from of the Greek arch, whose meaning is ‘boss’, ‘the one who has the control’, and tekton, that is to say, ‘constructor’ or ‘carpenter’. Like this, for the ancient Greeks the architect is the boss or the director of the construction and the architecture is the technician or the art of the one who realises the project and directs the construction of the buildings and structures, since the word techne means ‘to know do something’. Of her they proceed the technical «words» and also tectonic «» (‘constructive’).

Fernando Freire Forga

Fernando Freire Forga nace en Lima el 21 de marzo de 1977. Entre los años 1994 y 2000 realiza estudios de arquitectura en la Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas en la misma ciudad. En 1999 obtiene el primer premio en el Concurso a nivel nacional organizado por PROCOBRE-PERÚ con la tesis: Edificio Automatizado de Oficinas: “Usos del Cobre en la Arquitectura”.

Ha realizado estudios de Doctorado sobre Arquitectura Moderna en la ETSAB, Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Barcelona en la Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña, España. Actualmente, se encuentra inmerso en el desarrollo de trabajos de recopilación e investigación de Arquitectura Moderna en el Perú. Es docente de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú y se desenvuelve como proyectista de manera independiente.

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