Saturday, August 2, 2014

Typologically Rooted and Thermodynamically Tuned

Contemporary Art Museum, Zhuhai, China, 2013 -
I kick off August with an introduction to an issue of the Spanish magazine AV Monografías dedicated to the firm of Ábalos + Sentkiewicz. 
"In the new, thermodynamically-tuned practice of Iñaki Ábalos and Renata Sentkiewicz, the aloof, prismatic volumes of the Ábalos and Herreros era, heirs of Alejandro de la Sota in their technical directness and formal austerity, have evolved into buildings that grow like organic tubers, mushrooms and trees, or emerge as eccentric landforms at a macro-urban scale, while inhaling cooling downdrafts and exhaling ascending columns of heated air."
The couple is now in Boston, where Ábalos is head of the architecture department at Harvard, and their portfolio of projects has become international.

Project Highlights:

Solar Tower (Subsidized Housing), Sociopolis, Valencia

High Speed Train Station, Logroño, Spain, 2013

Contemporary Art Museum, Zhuhai, China, 2013-

Performing Arts Center, Taipei

Tour Port de la Chapelle, Paris (project)

My 2500-word essay explores the dialectic in the firm's concept of "thermodynamic beauty":

"The firm has taken on the current mantra of sustainability ... not as a call for formal restraint, nor as merely a set of technical standards unrelated to the theory and methodology of design. Instead, they are treating the issues raised by sustainability as something of a paradigm shift in the way that architecture is conceived. They refer to this new paradigm under the general theme of the thermodynamic..."
"A second critical concept, which Ábalos makes reference to with terms such as "beauty" and "the picturesque", also underlies this new work. The firm adapts these 18th century aesthetic categories as a dialectical position, which they counterpose to the merely rational management of the quantified data that largely comprises what was formerly known as the design problem. Beauty, and the search for new forms of beauty, represents the dimension of subjective cultural and experiential values that the architect brings to the table, to begin the process in which the design solution is wrestled from the multiple and sometimes conflicting parameters of the design problem."

Una sostenibilidad alternativa
An Alternative Sustainability

 Introduction to issue
AV Monografías 169, 2012, pages 6 - 13.

Tour Porte de la Chapelle

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