Monday, January 17, 2011

The New Brutalism

In the latest issue of Bauwelt I report on the Alicante-based Aranea Group's high school in the town of Rafal, Alicante.The young architects challenge the mediocrity of current urban development in the region with a project that turns its back on its surroundings to develop a rich matrix of indoor/outdoor spaces around its central courtyard, an urban scene in miniature. The project combines Brutalist textures --board-formed concrete makes a comeback here-- and a Team X sense of social space. It was the recipient of the 2010 FAD Award for Architecture.
Can a work of architecture constitute in itself a critical project? Can it change the way its users see their habitat, and awaken them to their supposed errors of vision and method? Can it take a stand in aesthetic and moral judgment of its surroundings, and propose a counter-model for a more environmentally and humanly sensitive method of development?
 Wie ein Faustschlag auf den Tisch
Challenging the Status Quo

Bauwelt 3.11, January 2011, page 20-29.
Table of contents

Photo collage: Grupo Aranea
The collage imagines the full development of the streets around the high school in the future -- currently the building is surrounded on two sides by empty streets and abandoned construction projects.

Photo 2 © Duccio Malagamba

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