This set of architectures – are they habitable artefacts or ruinations? Or surprises the walker is met with in the face of abandonments which lead us to a state of deterioration and the imperfect? Given to decline or damage, due to the return of the forest that intervenes and wears them down with disuse and sabotage, they are interpolated, symbolic architectures. Because like any area removed from social control, they incite exploration and fantasy, transferring us to a vital past or an eccentric present.
All captivated architecture passes through a process of thoroughness because its conducts or context are inverted in an unproductive economy. Distancing and disfiguration are properties of architecture, of its issuance and practices. The particularity of these buildings is that they do not presume, or do not relate, an immediate orbit with cities, and therefore one does not know exactly who the guilty parties, the aggressors, are, except for environmental agents and social mobility, both of which promote a culture of urgency.
All captivated architecture is condescending, and elaborates and promotes a state verging on inspiration; Kevin Lynch said that “Tourist maps could be provided of local garbage, ruins and waste”. In essence, because blemish, deterioration, decadence and things unheard of model fantastic forms of attraction.
The fact that the constructions in this series are set on pillars or slender buttresses of reinforced concrete, supporting a horizontal structural plane and with an empty space for a ground floor, makes logical constructive sense and also symbolic sense. On the one hand, they combat the surroundings and their irregularities, they structure empty storeys without erosion, but with currents and flows, they allow for a vantage point function; and on the other hand they establish a language of approval and merit with the environs, they are healthy, that is, not illegitimate; they interpolate themselves from their posts or stilts without contaminating, without corrupting or adulterating the scenery.
Amongst these raised architectures there are elemental forms and more complex exercises in construction, at times unfortunate, other times imposing; nevertheless their consistence is always porous, spongey. If, as Enric Batlle points out, “Gardens domesticated nature for leisure, and parks introduced it into the big cities”, in this series nature isneo-ruralized: planted areas, the alignment of roads that divide up spaces, give rise to plots with absolutely no yield, marginal woods and industrial elements which help structure the landscape. All of them are spaces of confrontation, spaces where roots are put down and bars are put up.
The garden world is forcluded, contained, its return to the real is manifested in the fashion of the foul, the landscapes of different views are not ordered hierarchically, but trembling due to organic materials that have become precious as a result of the unconscious fact of confrontation with suffering. Cancelled architectures captivated by their surroundings give rise to nostalgia in the spectator: the desire for the lost home, which is nevertheless an obreption; an invention constructed to strengthen our lineages, our clans, and our already-denaturalized yet deceptively elevated ancestry.
“How is a ruin created?”wonders Rudy Kousbroek: he refers “to when it is not the consequence of a war, epidemic or natural disaster. This issue has intrigued me for a long time now, and actually I still haven’t been able to gain a clear idea of how a building turns into a ruin. There are times when it would appear to be the result of an agreement, as though people had stopped intervening at some point in the past. But then, who knows if the fact that a building ended up turning into a ruin was not more a consequence of lack of decision?”And Kousbroek is right in that behind all decline, behind all deterioration, there lies a loss of influence. And logically enough, behind all loss of influence, there is a lack of decision, although all of these aspects are subordinated to the will of the abandoning party.
The series Inter-actions and Trans-actions unfurls a group of art-e-facts enveloped by poetry of place. In the words of Jean-Louis Déotte, “Artworks inform, they apparel the recipients,”, and in this case, they do so from the topos. But they also reveal the abandonment, the inconvenience of architecture in the scene. At all times they are locators, architectures that indicate position, limiters of the atmosphere which stand out for their ability to surprise and fundamentally, for their will to evoke. Architectures raised on piles that are regulated by an unusual usage of space and an occupation that gives rise to estrangement and exception; due to the style of the actual architecture, or its adaptation to the landscape and the equilibrium that occurs when nature interacts with the architectural system.
In this series we find architectures between tree trunks, on ground level, with gabled roofs, mobile observatories, occasional retreats, workplaces, basic and hydraulic structures, stranded or stationary zeppelins. Kousbroek wondered, with regard to a photograph of the lounge of the airship Hindenburg, in 1936, whether it could be “the foyer of a theatre, or of a 1930s hotel… and the inclination of the windows could be part of the stylization, on board a ship?”Whilst it actually closely resembles - is surprisingly similar to - the lounge of the Malin house (the “Chemosphere”), built by John Lautner in 1960 on a single pole, like a water tank, on a steep mountainside in Hollywood. Certainly the series of images and art-e-facts that make up Inter-actions/ Trans-actions are focussed on the concept of architects like F. LL. Wright, classified as prairie houses at the time, because of the large number of summer residences he built in the woods or beside Lake Wisconsin and Lake Michigan and in the wooded suburbs to the north of Chicago. Henri Lefebre reflected on how, around these works, Wright “set out to abolish enclosing walls designed to separate the inside from the outside, interior from exterior. The wall was reduced to a surface, and this in turn to a transparent membrane. Light flooded into the house, from each of whose “rooms” nature could be contemplated. From this moment on, the materiality of thick and heavy walls relinquished its leading architectural role. Matter was now to be no more than an envelope for space, ceding its hegemony to the light which inhabited that space. Following the tendency of philosophy, of art and literature, and of society as a whole, towards abstraction, visualization and formal spatial relations, ‘architecture strove for immateriality.
”That immateriality, that transparency, this early gesture towards integrating the atmosphere into architecture (Marcel Breuer), towards recruiting nature as shared and therefore absorbent space, which impresses deeply and occupies all: is reflected in the series of inter-actions. Where weight is subordinate to a fastening of stilts (Le Corbusier) and the air flows freely into the building. There are some magnificent examples of this abstraction, this visibility, this desire to communicate rooms where matter has to be superimposed on impression in the modern architecture of the mid-20th century in California, such as Rudolph Schindler, Richard Neutra, the aforementioned John Lautner, Albert Frey, Craig Elwood, Pierre Koenig, Rafael Soriano, William F. Cody, Quincy Jones; with structures built in Palm Springs, Beverly Hills, Montecito, Palos Verdes, Los Angeles or Desert Hot Springs that lead us to reflect, in the words of Andreas Huyssen, “that this obsession with ruins hides a nostalgia for an early era of modernity, when the possibility of imagining other futures had yet to fade away.”
This set of architectures – are they habitable artefacts or ruinations? Or surprises the walker is met with in the face of abandonments which lead us to a state of deterioration and the imperfect? Given to decline or damage, due to the return of the forest that intervenes and wears them down with disuse and sabotage, they are interpolated, symbolic architectures. Because like any area removed from social control, they incite exploration and fantasy, transferring us to a vital past or an...
- Year 2014
- Status Unrealised proposals