Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Publications Update

For the record, two of my more dispersed articles this fall appeared in the following publications:

Photo © Lluís Casals

I served on the Jury this year for the IV Edition of the Enor Architecture Prizes, organized by the Enor Elevator Group of Vigo, in the northwestern region of Galicia, and open to works in Spain and Portugal. I wrote a lengthy review of the winning projects and the finalists, some 40-odd buildings in all, which appears in the book presented at the awards ceremony this November. It's an attempt to sum up the current post-crisis architectural scene (in Spanish).

Radiografía de la Actualidad
Carlos Quintáns Eiras, editor, IV Premio Ascensores Enor, Grupo Asensores Enor SA, Vigo, 2009, pages 23 - 41.

Here's a quote:
La arquitectura es una negociación entre el presente (en términos de medios y necesidades), el pasado (a través del patrimonio, el territorio, y el legado cultural colectivo) y un futuro que ella misma nos ayuda a definir. El arquitecto es un mediador en ésta negociación, y su papel es tanto interpretativo como creativo. Los proyectos reconocidos por el Premio Ascensores Enor de 2009 son ejemplares en éste sentido, demostrándonos las distintas dimensiones de una arquitectura comprometida con el proceso vital de crear el futuro.

Illustrated: The Grand Prize winner, a house on the site of a former leather-curing factory in Santiago de Compostela by by Victor López Cotelo and Juan Manuel Vargas Funes.

I was invited to contribute an essay on the SyV Tower in Madrid by Rubio + Álvarez Sala Studio, for a book published by the architects and the building team: The Tall Building Reconsidered (Repensar el Edificio en Altura).

It appears in:
Enrique Encabo Seguí, Inmaculada E. Maluenda, editors, Técnica y estrategias: Sobre la construcción de la Torre SyV, Q! Estudio, Madrid, 2009, pages 48 - 53. Text in Spanish and English.

The essay begins:
Carlos Rubio and Enrique Álvarez-Sala's approach to the design of the SyV Tower could be described as a search for formal elegance through the logical elegance of their solutions to the technical and programmatic problems that the project presents. Yet this apparently conservative approach, emphasizing formal contention and restraint rather than the liberty of formal invention now customary in contemporary architecture, has given rise to a solution of striking originality. This result is due in great part to the architects' rigorous and non-formulaic study of the problem, and their framing of the problem in its particular, contemporary context, which conditions the solution in new ways.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

José María Sánchez García

For the past five or six years I've been proud to introduce a number of young Spanish architects in Architectural Record's annual Design Vanguard issue, which features architects of promise from around the world. This year we present the work of José María Sánchez García (Architectural Record, December 2009, pages 84 - 87).

His best-known design to date is a center for the development of rural sports in the Extremadura region. It is a circular building, 2,000 feet in circumference, that floats between the trees on a peninsula overlooking a reservoir (my photo).

I wrote another feature on the work for the Viennese magazine architektur.aktuell (in English and German):
Ein Kreis in den Bäunmen - A Circle in the Trees
Center for Recreational and Sports Activities, Guijo de Granadilla (Extremadura), Spain by José Sánchez García.
architektur.aktuell, 2009-09, September 15, 2009, pages 60 - 71.
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From the story:
Sánchez García declares that the greatest influence on his work has been Alberto Campo Baeza, who is in turn a disciple of the Madrid master Alejandro de la Sota (1913 - 1996). In its combination of Miesian austerity and rough but perfectly-controlled industrial materials, the Ring is true to De la Sota's restrained, functional and yet poetic design legacy. But at the same time, in its monumental, elementary geometry and scale it acts more like a work of land art than a conventional building, operating at a territorial scale. The experience of strolling around its circular roof terrace, in all its rural modesty, is comparable only to visions like Le Corbusier's megastructure for Algiers.

Other Spanish firms in past Design Vanguard issues:
Cadaval and Solà-Morales, Barcelona, 2008
Estudio Entresitio, Madrid 2007
BmasC Architects, Ávlia 2006
Antón García-Abril. Madrid 2004 (summary)