Arquitectura Viva
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

AV Monografías 67


IX-X 1997


Housing Improved 

Luis Fernández-Galiano
El arquitecto o la vida
Architect or Life


Tipos perfectibles
Perfectible Types

Conjunto residencial, Kilchberg (Suiza) The Synthesis of Modernity
Gigon & Guyer
Bloque de viviendas, Laufenburg (Suiza) Block of Dwellings, Laufenburg (Switzerland)
Burkhalter & Sumi
Bloque de viviendas, Amsterdam (Países Bajos) Block of Dwellings, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Bosch Haslett
Viviendas en hilera, Tilburg (Países Bajos) Row Housing, Tilburg (Netherlands)
Willem Jan Neutelings

Pere Joan Ravetllat
Continuidad e innovación residencial Continuity and Residential Renewal


Naturaleza y material
Nature and Material

Casas para ancianos, Neuenbürg (Alemania) Houses for Senior Citizens, Neuenbürg (Germany)
Mahler, Scranz & Strolz
Bloque de viviendas, Innsbruck (Austria)Block of Dwellings, Innsbruck (Austria)
Kathan, Schranz & Strolz
Bloque de viviendas, Bürmoos, Salzburgo (Austria) Block of Dwellings, Salzburg
Conjunto residencial, Hamburgo (Alemania) Housing Complex, Hamburg (Germany)
Alsop & Störmer

Alberto Pieltain
Ecología, tecnología y contexto Ecology, Technology and Context



Programas mestizos
Mixed Programs

Viviendas y comercio, Berlín (Alemania) Apartments and Shops, Berlin (Germany)
Max Dudler
Viviendas y oficinas, Berlín (Alemania) Apartments and Offices, Berlin (Germany)
Petra & Paul Kahlfeldt
Viviendas, aulas, gimnasio, Basilea (Suiza) Housing and School Facilities, Basel (Switzerland)
Morger & Degelo
Viviendas y oficinas, Basilea (Suiza) Apartments and Offices, Basel (Switzerland)
Diener & Diener

Ginés Garrido
Usos mixtos en conjuntos complejos Mixed Uses in Complex Developments


Fachadas urbanas
Urban Facades

Dúplex y estudios para artistas, París (Francia) Duplexes and Artists' Studios, Paris (France)
Jung & Long
Viviendas y estudios para artistas, París (Francia) Apartments and Artists' Studios, Paris (France)
Marc Mimram
Viviendas entre medianeras, Barcelona (España) Walled-in Apartments, Barcelona (Spain)
Ferrater & Guibernau
Viviendas de realojo, Valencia (España) Temporary Housing, Valencia (Spain)
Eduardo de Miguel

Joan Sabaté
La piel de la vivienda y el rostro de la ciudad The Skin of Housing and the Face of the City

Autoría y traducción
Authorship and Translation

Bloques de vivienda, Frankfurt (Alemania) Blocks of Dwellings, Frankfurt (Germany)
Frank Gehry
Casas en hilera, Würenlingen, Zúrich (Suiza)) Row Housing, Würenlingen, Zürich (Switzerland)
Santiago Calatrava
Conversión de oficinas en viviendas, ParIacute;s (Francia) Offices turned Apartments, Paris (France)
Yves Lion
Conversión de talleres en viviendas, París (Francia) Workshops turned Apartments, Paris (France)
Jacques Lucan

David Cohn
Del máximo al mínimo expresivo From Maximum to Minimum Expression

Luis Fernández-Galiano

Architect or Life

"Put an architect in your life." The ritual invitation to use the professional knowledge of designers has sometimes had such discouraging results that many deliberately exclude the architect from the domestic project, not without strong grounds judging architecture and everyday life to be incompatible. The ironic statement that "the architecture of the house is too important to be left in the hands of architects" is becoming more frequent and probable. Much of the blame must go to the architectural press, which tends to value the esthetic originality and artistic excellence of buildings more than their technical or functional aspects. This reprehensible state of matters becomes serious in the field of housing, where economic and utilitarian considerations acquire an importance that need not be emphasized. Allow me to cite examples which, so as not to appear blind to criticism, have been extracted from our own AV and Arquitectura Viva.

Three years ago, in issue 36 of Arquitectura Viva published Hans Kollhoff's KNSM block, a massive volume of dark brick over a pier in Amsterdam's old harbor zone. While lecturing at the Berlage Institute in the context of a seminar on housing where this was one of the most discussed projects, and in the company of my students and other professors, I was able to visit some of the city's latest residential projects. Without a doubt, Kollhoff's powerful, sculptural and somber building, with its severely carved shapes towering over the water's edge, was by far the most imposing image of the tour. At close range, however, the sordid courtyards formed by slabs of overlapping constructions, the narrow, uncomfortable accessways and he cold metal joineries of the galleries had such a hostile effect that both Kenneth Frampton and I decided to us it as a negative example in subsequent seminar sessions. In the end, notwithstanding, respect for plastic rigor and the Berlin architect's intellectual vigor weighed more heavily, and the building was lauded in our magazine as an outstanding example of housing.

The next year it was in AV itself, in issue 56, and also in the context of a monographical compilation of residential projects, that we published a 24-unit apartment block built by the young architects Florian Riegler and Roger Riewe in Graz. Though we had been following the work of the Austrian partners since their beginnings, on this occasion no member of the magazine's editorial staff had actually visited the site, yet the geometric and abstract beauty of the facades as well as the diagrammatic austerity of the floor plans quickly inspired us to include it in that selection of recent European housing developments. Some time later, when I participated in a conference at the Haus der Architektur of Graz, my hosts kindly showed me the latest architecture of the city in a panoromic tour de rigeur, and we soon bumped into Riegler & Riewe's block, an aggressive bulk of concrete and steel sheets asserting itself like a lone minimalist manifesto amid smiling, floral, fragmented residential developments. It was the only visually striking object in the area, and evidently the one most abhorred by its occupants and neighbors alike.

And earlier this current year Arquitectura Viva dedicated the cover of its 54th issue to a new building in Amsterdam designed by MVRDV, a Rotterdam-based team of very young architects (Winy Maes, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries) whom I had previously had the pleasure to meet through Archis, and whose energy and talent had greatly impressed me. The magazine's colleagues at the Netherlands Architecture Institute invited me to participate in its anniversary celebrations, and accompanied me afterwards to the architects' desolate harbor studio as part of a survey of young promises. True enough, MVRDV is now the most innovative firm of Holland's fertile architectural scene, and their block of apartments for people over 55, with its huge cantilevered wooden drawers and its colorful glass balconies, is one of the most unusual, refined and daring realizations of the past decade. But should we have said that the cantilevered apartments penetrated diagonally by structural elements had not found tenants? We did not, and the building was presented as the extraordinary and provocative architecture that it is, and not as the debatable dwelling that it might be.

Such critical schizophrenia between architecture and housing irremediably prevails in this new AV issue, despite our efforts to avoid the seduction of the merely visual by presenting five arguments that frame and cut up the current residential debate. The continuity and improvement of inherited types; attention to environmental factors and local materials; the introduction of variety in housing through mixed programs; the constructional and compositional exploration of urban facades; and the inevitable polemic between signature projects and housing where the architect defers to the hygienic discipline of anonymity. If the latter atittude is imitated as it ought to be, then maybe in the future one might consider putting an architect in his life without fearing that the architect will come between life and himself.

(Not available for purchase)
Arquitectura Viva SL - Calle de Aniceto Marinas, 32 - E-28008 Madrid, España - Ph: (+34) 915 487 317 - Fax: (+34) 915 488 191 -
Política de cookies - Aviso Legal - Condiciones de contratación - RSS