Arquitectura Viva
Monday, September 28, 2020

AV Monografías 115


Building Materials
IX - X 2005


Building Materials

Luis Fernández-Galiano
Máscara y materia Mask and Matter

Alma de hormigón  Concrete Core
Museo Chichu, Naoshima (Japón) Chichu Museum, Naoshima (Japan)
Tadao Ando
Embajada de Holanda, Addis Abeba (Etiopía) Netherlands Embassy, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)
De Architectengroep
Torre Cube, Guadalajara (México) Cube Tower, Guadalajara (Mexico)
Carme Pinós

Naturaleza cristalina  Crystalline Nature
Museo Figge, Davenport (Estados Unidos) Figge Art Museum, Davenport (US)
David Chipperfield
Edificio Novartis, Basilea (Suiza) Novartis Building, Basel (Switzerland)
Diener & Diener
Recinto para la Feria, Milán (Italia) Trade Fair, Milan (Italy)
Massimiliano Fuksas

Piel metálica  Metal Jacket
Sede del Ministerio de Cultura, París (Francia) Ministry of Culture, Paris (France)
Francis Soler
Centro de servicios, Múnich (Alemania) Services Center, Munich (Germany)
Staab Architekten
Sede de Vacheron Constantin, Ginebra (Suiza) Vacheron Constantin, Geneva (Switzerland)
Bernard Tschumi

Juegos de tablero  Board Games
Iglesia parroquial, Kärsämäki (Finlandia) Church, Kärsämäki (Finland)
Anssi Lassila
Kiosco de música, Zwischenwasser (Austria) Music Kiosk, Zwischenwasser (Austria)
Marte & Marte
Centro médico-farmacéutico, Plancher-Bas (Francia) Medical Center, Plancher-Bas (France)
Amiot & Lombard

Variaciones cerámicas  Ceramic Variations
Apartamentos de estudiantes, Allston (Estados Unidos) Student Apartments, Allston (US)
Machado & Silvetti
Archivo de Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo (España) Archive of Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo (Spain)
Guillermo Vázquez Consuegra
Pabellón de España, Aichi (Japón) Spanish Pavilion, Aichi (Japan)
Zaera & Moussavi

Materia doméstica  Home Matters
Justo Isasi
Una casa, un material One House, One Material
Casa Y, Chita (Japón) House Y, Chita (Japan)
Kei’ichi Irie & Power Unit Studio
Casa de pavés, Tokio (Japón) Glass Brick House, Tokyo (Japan)
Atelier Tekuto
Turbulence House, Nuevo México (Estados Unidos) Turbulence House, New Mexico (US)
Steven Holl
Casa de madera, Ranón (España) Wood House, Ranón (Spain)
Tato & Vallejo
Casa de ladrillo, Londres (Reino Unido) Brick House, London (United Kingdom)
Caruso & St John

Luis Fernández-Galiano

Mask and Matter

Material is mask and matter. Through the rejection of turn-of-the-century historicist figuration as a faked form of scenographic nature, modernity gave an ethic dimension to the aesthetic truth of the naked material, though often concealed behind the abstract fiction of clinical whiteness or metaphorical transparency. The attention paid to the honest and humble reality of matter was to serve as a medicine or purge after the bulimia of representation, and the subordination to the impeccable logic of technique could supply a guiding thread in the tangled skein of arbitrary styles or fanciful fashion. However, material is also cladding or cover, skin therefore besides muscle and bone, and mask in fact when understood as protection or veil for the stubborn identity of essential construction: this is how many current projects present it, thus translating matter into appearance.

Tectonic or tactile, materials are assembled and joined following the structural needs of their nature, but are also settled or laid, poured or fastened to form ensembles where their solemn solidity displays their own weight and load-bearing capacity with athletic emphasis and visual fatigue. At the same time, and on equal terms, the matter that supports and protects reveals its texture with tactile seduction, supplying the eye with taut or abrupt surfaces whose feel is cold or warm, smooth or rough at the touch of fingertips, hard or soft under the palm or the sole. This visual experience of shine or color translated into touch, and that the aroused senses extend to tastes or scents as well as to the sound of friction or impact, is the sensual foundation of the aesthetic of matter, an undeclared movement, without leaders or manifestoes, that colors the latest architecture with its quiet sensibility.

Sequestered by the hedonistic fascination of epithelial art, our contemporaries undertake the exploration of materials with the experimental spirit of aesthetic investigation, the urgent impatience of sensation and the tenacious pursuit of innovation. Here this quest is orchestrated in five ‘movements’, each corresponding to one family of materials – concrete, glass, metal, wood and brick –, whose plain denominations do not easily reveal the endless variety of products available, and whose echoes of nature and convention equivocally conceal the extremely artificial sophistication of the processes by which they are manufactured, hardly recalling their traditional or vernacular origins. The five materials mentioned appear on our cover, and the facade collage is perforated to quote the transparency of glass and at the same time pay an ironic centennial tribute to a master of masks and simulation.

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