Friday, November 16, 2012

Antón García-Abril: Fun with Precast Concrete

© Roland Halbe. Used wit permisssion

This week, Bauwelt (Berlin) runs my article on the House of the Reader in Madrid's Matadero Cultural Center by Antón García-Abril, where he adapts three of the early 20th century industrial sheds of the old municipal slaughterhouses for a center dedicated to fomenting reading  (sorry, no web version).  

"Where's the challenge in a simple renovation project? Characteristically, García-Abril found that challenge not so much in the design as in the process of its construction, introducing eleven precast concrete catwalks, U-shaped in section, into the existing structures, each 13 meters long and weighing 52 tons, without knocking down a single wall. "

"Go to Youtube and look up Building the Reader's House, and you will find a time-lapse video, set to the mechanical music of a popular Madrid organ-grinder tune, of workers sliding the precast elements one by one through the masonry window openings of the existing structure. The fit is as tight as a greased drill shaft going into an oil well, and is comically hard-core." 

"It matters little that the final product of this sleigh-of-hand seems tame in comparison.... "

Bauwelt 43
November 9, 2012
Pages 28 - 32; cover

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