Saturday, January 31, 2015

Cool Shades

© María Ramos

My latest article in the bi-annual Russian journal Speech features a pair of entry canopies for metro stations on the periphery of Valencia, Spain that could be described as nifty sunglasses.
"The chief attraction of the stations are their spectacular glazed tubular pavilions... The glazing has a layer of acetate between two panes of 10mm glass, which provides solar protection, lowering thermal loads. The film also refracts light in different colors depending on the angle of incidence, viewpoint, reflections and other factors."

Unfortunately, the park they form part of, which was to have been created along the right-of-way of the former surface line (it now runs underground) has not materialized, another victim of cuts in public spending due to the crisis. So the stations stand in a no-mans- land.
"These effects are further multiplied by the many panes of shattered glass, the result of vandals throwing rocks at them – the pavilions make for an inviting target amid their abandoned surroundings. These smashed panels are held in place by the lamination and covered with a dense crazy-quilt patterns of cracks, which catch brilliant nets of light. The result is actually quite attractive...." 
Photo: DC

"The stations stand as another vivid symbol (as if another were needed) of the current state of Spanish architecture, once much in demand by politicians who actually understood it little, and now abandoned, another piece of refuse left over from the disaster of overbuilding in Spain. But in this premature decadence they assume a new role that is the fate of any building that survives into a time beyond the era of its conception and usefulness (in this case their usefulness as a political symbols of largess and grandiosity), becoming a fascinating relic,  like a magnificent peacock strutting amid the rubble of a once Eden-like park."
East of Eden
Carolines and Benimàmet metro stations, Valencia, by Luis Ferrer
Speech 13, January 2015, pages 128 - 137, cover

© María Ramos
Photo: DC

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