Thursday, February 23, 2012

Luis Moreno Mansilla, 1959 - 2012

The Madrid architect Luis Moreno Mansilla died suddenly yesterday at the age of 52, apparently due to a heart attack. In partnership with Emilio Tuñón, he was the author of key works of the past decade such as the MUSAC Museum in León, Spain.

Luis was in Barcelona with Emilio to present a book about Enric Miralles, another architect of our generation who died prematurely in 2000.  Emilio found Luis dead in his hotel room the day after the presentation.

The notice in El País (02.22.12).
The notice in English in BD Online.

Portraits and testimonials by Anaxtu Zabalbeascoa (El País, 02.23.12), and William J. Curits (also in Spanish, El País, 02.25.12).

Rafael Moneo remembers Luis, who worked in his studio in the 1990s (El País, 02.24.12, translation by DC; the full text in English is posted on Harvard's GSD site) :
 "I remember him drawing the designs for the Previsión Española [in Seville], the Seville Airport, the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, the Miró Foundation and so many other projects. He lived with us for four months in Cambridge. Then in the decade of the 90s, his coming of age and the first commissions launched his independent career: the union of two people with a common sensibility but with differing qualities. Emilio Tuñón has great talent as an architect. Luis had the capacity to think through all that architecture can express. ....  [Their] built work up until now has always been solid and fresh, mature from the beginning.... And though the sad loss inevitably marks a before and after, it would be a very great thing if the work of the studio could continue without rupture."

From the Mansilla + Tuñón webpage:
(In original English)

(These are the last words of Luis M. Mansilla, which he spoke during the presentation of a book on the architect Enric Miralles)

Barcelona February 22, 2012

..."In the last thirty years of my professional career -that means all of it- I do not remember seeing anything more striking than the work of Enric Miralles. What a delicious and happy coincidence...How is it possible to feel the most shaken by an architecture that has been considered to be the most personal and inscrutable?
The only answer is to think that Enric’s work is the same as everyone else’s. Or at least that his preoccupations are the same as ours.
As Josep Plá used to say, "every artist plagiarizes us". Plá was a guy able to say that a person "spoke with capital letters" or to define someone as "the type of person who seemed smaller in the close distance than from afar".
Nevertheless, and this is the interesting part, Enric has plagiarized us "before" we had the feeling in which we recognize ourselves.
I am starting to think that space is not a significant part of our preoccupations in life. Just time, that spills and slips between our fingers when we try to catch it."


DC, Razón y Forma / Reason and Form, 
2G No. 27, Mansilla + Tuñón. Obra reciente. Recent work, 
Gustavo Gili, Barcelona, 2003, pages 6 - 19.

DC, Young Spanish Architects - Junge spanische Architekten,
Birkhäuser, Basel, Berlin, Boston, 2000, p. 28 - 37.

Updated 02.24.12, 02.26.12

1 comment:

  1. I was lucky enough to have Luis as a critic for a design studio while at Princeton University School of Architecture in 2010. On a bus ride between Madrid and Leon, he reviewed my project. I was an architect returning to grad school, struggling to let go of a practice-centric view of the world. Luis looked me in the eyes and said, "You see these students, we are trying to teach them to be architects: you, we are trying to teach to be a student." His humainity and insight made him most special. I will keep Luis, Emilio and their families in my heart.