The urbanism and the housewives | Alberto Ruiz


In 1959 the concept of political correction still was for be inventing, so still it was possible that a newspaper of national issue, in this Blanco y Negro -ABC’s cultural supplement- an article was publishing with round this one headline.1 The article was fulfilling all the premises to call the attention: polemic holder, graphical showy and, composition especially, signatory of recognized prestige; in this case, Miguel Fisac.

This profession complains regularly about that the company has an image distorted of the labor of the architects. We are identified by the topic of the capricious and full professional of yes same, that turns out to be more a hindrance than a useful agent in the process of construction of the city. In a rapid glimpse to the current Spanish press it is easy to locate periodic columns dedicated to the critique of cinema, mode, music or art, but, except few exceptions, the diffusion of the labor of the architects limits itself to some famous inauguration or to some – not less famous – real-estate scandal. Though it is true that, of a few years to this part, the cultural supplements of most of the newspapers have a section dedicated to this matter, the good architecture, measured, sensible and responsible – that exists – it turns out difficult to think between news that they would have better arrangement in the pages of events or in those of romance magazines.

On the other hand, also there exists the belief of which the architect does not consider the opinion that on the architecture they have ‘not initiated’. Good sample of it is little interest that always the group has showed to spread his work between the most general public. Too often the architects we are served a deliberately cryptic language, learned and assimilated already in the classrooms that, though it can be understood on a great part of the profession – and still this is debatable-, it turns out to be, less, complicated to deal for the rest of the population.

If a today any specialized magazine is opened, descriptions can be located as the one that is still, recounted to the project of a building of housings in the center of Madrid:

«The future resultant cloister, or interior square, it anticipates and promises the happiness of a morphologic merger, in order to share the better thing: the collective and wooded soul of the apple. This fanned and fresh soul (since it looks and breathes for the hollows of double scale to the street) will constitute a space panóptico and fluyente that will turn what was a simple court in a reversed and extended homotecia of the housing of double face»

This text, which might turn out to be poetical and evocative for many, does not seem to be, nevertheless, too attainable for a reader who tries to understand and to estimate what, on the other hand, is a magnificent project of architecture. So, where does it take root really in the distance between the architects and the company? On one hand, it seems that the architecture as such is not interested and, for other one, it would be said that the own professionals we pledge in removing it from the comprehension of the people.

This Fisac’s article gives much more than it promises in his holder. It speaks of bringing the architecture over to the people, of bearing them in mind at the moment of designing the cities in which they are going to live, of leaving this flowery absorption that has turned us into this incomprehensible agent whom now we renounce. He speaks that, ultimately, we should not be been charmed with of having invented the refrigerator, without thinking that probably, only probably, the people would prefer continuing using the earthenware jar.

Alberto Ruiz. Architect, teacher and investigator.
Madrid. October 2016.


1. “The urbanism and the housewives”. This article appeared in the edition of January 24, 1959 in Blanco y Negro Magazine.

Es Doctor Arquitecto por la ETSAM, compaginando su actividad profesional con la docencia y la investigación en la URJC. Los artículos son un reflejo de la inquietud, reflexión y pensamiento en torno a mi pasión: la arquitectura.

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