Arquitectura Viva
Sunday, October 25, 2020

Arquitectura Viva 56


Bach/Mora, Bonell, Ferrater, Freixes, Garcés/Sòria, Llinás
IX-X 1997
Barcelona Lessons. School architecture in Catalonia has historically been linked to pedagogy. Ever since the first decades of the century, and even during the difficult period of Franco's dictatorship, architects and pedagogues joined forces and school buildings emerged as incarnations of progressive educational programs. After the institution of democracy, the Catalan autonomous government has continued to create new schools and universities such as Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, but with more emphasis on architectural quality than on the renewal of its educational policy.   Oriol Bohigas
Pedagogical Architecture
Catalan School Tradition
Josep Maria Montaner
Lessons of Barcelona
Inventory of School Buildings
Joan Sabaté
An Urban Campus
Pompeu Fabra University
Buildings: Projects and Realizations
Basic Education. Elementary and secondary instruction have undergone major changes. Ferrater & Guibernau's center incorporates these programmatic innovations, formalizing them in a small campus, and the buildings designed by Garcés & Sòria and Bach & Mora similarly encourage the notion of the school as a place for collective experiences.   Ferrater & Guibernau
School in Lloret de Mar
Garcés & Sòria
School in Hospitalet
Bach & Mora
High School in Mollet
Advanced Learning. The idea of the university as a living organism is reflected as much in the extension of Barcelona's Law Faculty, carried out by Llinás, as in the new facilities for Ramón Llull University, by Freixes & Miranda, and Pompeu Fabra, by Bonell & Gil, both of which are adequately integrated into the Catalan capital's urban fabric.   Josep Llinás
Law Faculty
Freixes & Miranda
Communications Faculty
Bonell & Gil
University Headquarters
Books, Exhibitions, Personalities
  Art / Culture
Chronicle of Losses. The summer has brought two great losses: the Italian Rossi, remembered here by Fernández-Galiano, Moneo, Bohigas and Eisenman; and Rudolph, a reference in American architecture of the sixties.   LFG, RM, OB & PE
Aldo Rossi, 1931-1997
Herbert Muschamp
Paul Rudolph, 1918-1997
New and Very New. The Reina Sofía Museum brings to Madrid a retrospective exhibition on Léger, 'the primitive of modern times', while Documenta X consecrates the latest artistic tendencies at Kassel.   Guillermo Solana
Léger, from París to Madrid
Juan Antonio Ramírez
Kassel, Documenta X
Exemplary Pasts. The most ancient architectural traditions remain inexhaustible source of teachings today, as does the legacy of the premodern masters: De Klerk, Sullivan, Wright.   Focho's Cartoon
Luis Barragán
Various Authors
Interiors, Desing, Construction
  Technique / Style
Zumthor at Vals and Bregenz. The critical acclaim enjoyed by the architecture of German Switzerland is due in part to the up to now scant work of Peter Zumthor. Having visited the architect's latest realizations in Vals and Bregenz, Richard Ingersoll lauds his capacity to transcend the purely physical on the basis of the essence of materials.   Richard Ingersoll
Zumthor's Magic Mountain
Peter Zumthor
Thermal Baths at Vals
Peter Zumthor
Kunsthaus of Bregenz
To close, an exhaustive list to help get by in the field of pipes, among the most important elements of equipment projects, and an emotive essay in remembrance of Aldo Rossi. Carlos Martí goes over the master's sketches and notes to highlight the mournful nature of his work, images of which have impregnated the collective memory of architecture.

English Summary
Barcelona Lessons
Carlos Martí
Aldo Rossi, 'in memoriam'

Luis Fernández-Galiano

Barcelona Lessons

Barcelona teaches, but does not guide. It shows, but does not take risks. It exhibits, but does not disturb. Seen from the furious chaos of Madrid, Barcelona is friendly, placid and soothing. This calm and self-satisfied atmosphere is building a city that is materially more inhabitable and more peaceful than Madrid, but the same mood of applied conformity is also creating one that is emotionally blunter and duller. The loss of competitive edges worries many Catalans, some of whom have publicly expressed their displeasure with the prevailing conformism. Contrary to the cliché that describes Madrid's people as obsessively self-critical and Barcelona's as tenaciously self-complacent, many architects of the Catalonian capital contemplate the dazzling flame of what was an Olympic venue as having been but a fleeting flash, and its steady course of today as a sleeping marasmus.

Nevertheless, that risk and disquiet are always desirable is debatable, and innovation and talent are not necessarily accompanied by fury and edges. Barcelona's calm energy deserves admiration, its constant and reflexive achievements should be emulated, and its courteous, routine caution is a source of elegant, outstanding architectures. Against the rugged individualism of Madrid, where stimulating proposals coexist with a stubborn folklorism, Barcelona practises a moderate and plausible modernity stuffed with cordial avant-garde gestures. Such a sensible sensitivity weaves a physical and social city where one can work smoothly, and this is something that Madrid's citizens, perennially edgy and agitated, ought to imitate, instead of taking pleasure in self-flogging or exaltation.

The school architectures published here well exemplify such inborn urbanity. Though true, as Bohigas explains, that the will to renew pedagogy or the determination to use education as a motor of cultural affirmation and social leveling is absent in these tersely designed buildings, one must remember that the appropriation of construction by esthetics is a condition present in all cultured contemporary architectures; and that, after all, the examples furnished here manage to reconcile formal intentions with functional requirements and technological consistency. True, they are not spectacular or dramatic, nor do they possess the lyrical and tectonic intensity of the works of Swiss Peter Zumthor that are illustrated later on in the issue. But in their own distracted way they embody the competence we take for granted in everyday objects. This is a lesson Barcelona imparts to us, a lesson all the more valuable because taught in a whisper. In the scenographies of the society of spectacle, some silent words ring loud.


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