Arquitectura Viva
Monday, September 28, 2020

Arquitectura Viva 132



The Dream of Asturias. Geographically defined by its boundary situation between the mountain range and the Cantabrian sea, and economically by its mining and industrial past, the Principality of Asturias has in architecture a resort to place itself on the global stage. During the mid-20th century, the region had good representatives of the trends that characterized the period, whereas the current panorama offers a longer list, with local and foreign figures; one of them is the Brazilian Oscar Niemeyer, Prince of Asturias Award and author of a cultural center in Avilés that will revitalize the region.


Antón Capitel
Modernity and Classicism
The 20th Century in Asturias
Fernando Nanclares
Interior Reconquest
Last Decades in the Principality
J.M. Iribas & F. Mangado
The Niemeyer Effect
Avilés in the Atlantic Arc

Landscape in Mutation. Scattered throughout the topography of Asturias, these twelve works appear in alphabetical order of authors: a sports center in Langreo; an office building in the Technological Park of Llanera; the visitors’ center of the Astur-Roman town of Veranes, Gijón; a garage prototype repeated seven times in Turón, Mieres; new covered bleachers in the Las Mestas sports complex in Gijón; in the same city, two buildings for the Port Authority, one for administration services and the headquarters of the institution; the remodelling of the Archaeological Museum of Oviedo; an interpretation center in Illano, in the region of Navia; a building for the company Rioglass in the industrial complex of Sovilla, Mieres; a single-family house in the mountains of Parres; and a 15-unit social housing block in the mining town of Cerredo.

ACXT, Langreo
Fdez., Juárez y Alonso, Llanera
Manuel García, Gijón
M. Ángel García-Pola, Mieres
Alejandro G. Vigil, Gijón
Longo & Roldán, Gijón
Andrés D. Llaca, Gijón
Pardo & García, Oviedo
José Ramón Puerto, Illano
Daniel Villanueva, Mieres
Zigzag, Parres
Zon-e, Cerredo

Views and Reviews

Other Gazes. Kazuyo Sejima directs the xii edition of the Architecture Biennial of Venice, filling it with sensitivity and lightness; at the Reina Sofía, ‘Desvíos de la deriva’ reveals the fertile Latin American modern creation.

Art / Culture

Richard Ingersoll
Encounters in Venice
Juan Antonio Cortés
The North is in the South

Two Absences. The tenth anniversary of the premature death of Enric Miralles coincides with the disappearance of José Antonio Corrales; of the first we review four of his cemetery projects, of the second, his career.
Marta García Carbonero
Ten Years without Miralles
L. M. Mansilla & E. Tuñón
Corrales, in memoriam
Eisenman’s Canon. The New York architect selects ten indispensable buildings of modernity; moreover, drawings of historical architectures, studies and films on essential houses, and contemporary photography.
Focho’s Cartoon
New Cantabrian Via Sacra
Various Authors
Recent Projects

American Art. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) inaugurates the second phase of its extension, designed by Renzo Piano. Called the Resnick Pavilion, it is a large storage house with sawtooth skylights; in the Bowery of Manhattan, the Sperone Westwater Gallery opens its new venue, signed by Norman Foster, a vertical space with a mobile elevator-hall.

Technique / Style

Renzo Piano
Horizontal Expansion
LACMA, Los Angeles
Norman Foster
Elevated Art
Sperone Gallery, New York

To close, Luis Fernández-Galiano, after a trip to China, reflects upon the prosperity full of tensions of the second world power, with the installation designed by the artist Ai Weiwei for London’s Tate Modern as backdrop: the floor of the Turbine Hall has been covered with a thick layer of sunflower seeds, one hundred million pieces of authentic Chinese porcelain.
Urban Furnishings and Panels
English Summary
The Dream of Asturias
Luis Fernández-Galiano
Seeds of China
Luis Fernández-Galiano

The Dream of Asturias

AViva-132-lfg.jpg (10184 bytes)Dreaming is drowsiness, but also desire. In Asturias, the endless crisis of the mining industry and the resizing of siderurgy have weakened the economic nerve of the region, causing a stagnation that many confuse with sleepiness. However, in this somber and perhaps crepuscular panorama there are sudden clearings that reflect collective ambitions and dreams. Architecture is not oblivious to that yearn for mental and material reconstruction, and some works act at once as economic engines in the transition towards a service economy and as symbolic impulse in regional rebranding and the restoration of self-esteem. Along with them, a long series of initiatives and projects trace a landscape in mutation where uncertainty and hope intertwine.

The mythical geography of Asturias has been the stage of a palimpsest past, dotted with contradictory episodes that layer the territory like a manuscript that each generation rewrites. Its abrupt relief, which explains its isolation and historical uniqueness, has known at once the withdrawn character of the conservative Vetusta (Oviedo in Clarín’s novel La Regenta) and the revolutionary fervor of the 1934 uprising, extreme expressions of a polarity that in 20th century architecture has generated examples as different as the dams and electric power stations by Joaquín Vaquero and the visionary classicism of Gijón’s Universidad Laboral by Luis Moya, a Civitas Dei raised as an exorcism against the turbulences of the city of men.

However, neither public works that add artistic sensibility to the forms that emerge from calculation nor projects that wish to halt time with a normative classicism can be called ‘Asturian architecture’, because both engineering and the classical orders have a cosmopolitan dimension that turns them into true international styles. The term must be kept for that exceptional pre-Romanesque that has made of Asturias an architectural pilgrimage destination: one of the few unique syntheses that Spain has contributed to the universal history of the discipline, with the Carolingian influence and the Byzantine echoes of a Ramirense style that reaches absolute perfection in the mannerist slenderness of Santa María del Naranco.

Asturias today, far from its ancestral origins, and faced with a double demographic and economic crisis, promotes its future with emblematic works that serve as symbol of the shared dream. Among them, the most representative one is the cultural center that bears the name of its author, Oscar Niemeyer, the 102 year old Brazilian master that still goes every day to his studio in Copacabana to smoke cigars at his work desk with a bust of Lenin, and show those of us who visit him his pride for being, along with Fidel Castro, the last communist in Latin America, as well as his thrill because so many stars of Hollywood have toured his Avilés work. Between proletarian dream and dream factory, Asturias once again faces its isolation with an oneiric synthesis.

Arquitectura Viva 132 - EL SUEÑO DE ASTURIAS
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