Projecting the window | Michael Ángel Díaz Camacho

Sketch: MADC

The geometry of the hollow affects simultaneously so much in the perceptive interior variable – exterior, since in the lighting of a stay or the own constructive solution of the surrounding one. The traditional vertical hollow associated with the construction of walls ambles, defines a spatial and emotional threshold between the exterior nature and the interior space in semidarkness; the horizontal hollow proposed for Le Corbusier during the first years 20, enables a homogeneous and brilliant lighting at the time that it represents ‘the free front’, the victory of the technology that enables the independence between closing and structures1.

The ‘secularization’ of the interior space proposed by Le Corbusier is a motive of serious and public controversies, as the very known one between the own Swiss architect and the one that was his teacher in the use of the concrete, Auguste Perret2. The exchange of visceral assaults takes place in the pages of the Paris Journal during December of 19233: while Perret defends the atavistic dimension of the hollow coming even to the anthropomorphic identification of the vertical proportion, “A window is a man”4, Le Corbusier answers with a paradigmatic project which hollow only one corresponds to a great horizontal window: the Petit Maison on the banks of the Leman Lake, published by the first time in the own Paris Journal close to Perret’s cartoon sat before the endless hollow, evidently horizontal, of the Palais de Bois.

La ‘secularización’ del espacio interior propuesta por Le Corbusier es motivo de graves y públicas controversias, como la muy conocida entre el propio arquitecto suizo y el que fuera su maestro en el uso del hormigón, Auguste Perret2. El intercambio de ataques viscerales tiene lugar en las páginas del Paris Journal durante el mes de diciembre de 19233: mientras Perret defiende la dimensión atávica del hueco llegando incluso a la identificación antropomórfica de la proporción vertical, “A window is a man”4, Le Corbusier responde con un proyecto paradigmático cuyo único hueco corresponde a una gran ventana horizontal: la Petit Maison a orillas del lago Leman, publicada por primera vez en el propio Paris Journal junto a una caricatura de Perret sentado ante el interminable hueco, evidentemente horizontal, del Palais de Bois. It might say then

“A window is a land”

the window is the man versus the window is the territory.

It is worth stopping in this identification between man and window proposed by Perret does now almost 100 years. The condition raised of the human body, our thousand-year-old conquest of the uprightness, would be recognized then in (at least) two architectural fundamental elements: the hollow and the column, inhabitants well defined in the architecture of both teachers5. But perhaps does not the horizontal window of the ‘Petit Maison’ suppose the best of the companies? Should not it be the window a companion, an ally always, a confidant of the world? The project of architecture consists this way of the configuration of a guests’ ready reserve guard, the summons of those cannot be waived presences of the celebration of the space, the light and the life. To project a window supposes always choosing a friend.

Miguel Ángel Díaz Camacho. Doctor Architect

Madrid. August 2014. Author of Parráfos de arquitectura. #arquiParrafos


1 The offer of the horizontal modern hollow establishes, beyond constructive, light or landscape questions, a deep alteration of the traditional culture of to live, in the anthropologic sense of the term.

2 See Blanca Lleó, “Dos esquinas y una polémica”, Circo 41, 1997.

3 See Bruno Reichlin, “Une petite maison sul lago. La controversia Perret-Le Corbusier”, Lotus Internacional nº60, 1988, p. 58-83.

4 Auguste Perret. Ibidem, pag. 63.

5 If the vertical window supposes the appearance of an inhabitant in Perret’s work, the interior column (the piloti) supposes the assistance of a companion silente and lasting in the Le Corbusier´s work.

Miguel Ángel Díaz Camacho

Doctor en Arquitectura, Decano de la Facultad de Tecnología y Ciencia UCJC. Presidente de la Asociación Sostenibilidad y Arquitectura,  perteneciente al Consejo Superior de los Colegios de Arquitectos de España. Director de MADC Arquitectos, estudio profesional con premios en concursos nacionales e internacionales, en la actualidad desarrolla proyectos en España y Noruega. Escritor y crítico de arquitectura, es autor de los libros “Párrafos de Arquitectura. Core(oh)grafías” (2016) y “Arquitectura y Cambio Climático” (2018).

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