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Inspiration for future projects
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Seattle’s Public Library
Not much is left to say about this iconic monument designed by Rem Koolhas. Millions of words have been written about it since it was inaugurated in May 23rd 2004. But that is not going to keep me from sharing my own opinion since I recently had the opportunity to visit it and experience it for a while.
I have to say I have always been fascinated by the program this library hosts and, moreover, the way it’s organized. Every single part of the library is related somehow, by pavement, visually or by hearing to the next spaces immediately above/below. It’s complexity is superior but at the same time is an extremely easy building to wonder around, is intuitive (stairs are always bright colors). The library little by little takes you upwards to gently invite you then to visit the “BOOK SPIRAL” to go back down again.

We could say that all this vertical communication system starts in the second floor, where 5th avenue entrance is located. The main entrance is located in 4th avenue and a level below, where the kids area is located. As you can see in the diagrams, the specialization of the spaces and, therefore, the movement inwards and outwards starts with the living room. 
The rest has all been said and can be seen in the plans easily, double, triple height spaces, glass skin that works both as a brise soleil and as structure simultaneously, different carpets with crazy patterns that create different atmospheres is a same space, and fancy names that awake curiosity in people’s minds. 

All come together in this master piece that, in my honest opinion, was the precedence for more modern libraries to be designed, to stark thinking more in how people use space, in how something that apparently may look monstrous and crazy from the outside, is fully justifies by program and also dynamic and welcoming.  


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OPEN ETSAB/ETSAV

This is not and announcement of the exhibition of the work created by student during a two.week workshop about residential building in old town of European cities, Barcelona in particular; but a response to the proposal of Law presented recently by the Spanish government that establishes that any qualified professional that proves to have enough skills to build, ca in fact design a house, a library or a parliament.

This project that students from Barcelona’s architectural school have pulled together shows how important is the architect’s task when it comes to, piece by piece, create city.

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Le Corbusier
                           by Jean Louis-Cohen
June 15th MOMA (Museum of Moden Art, New York City) will open its door to the public of this major Le Corbusier’s exhibition. An exhibit curated by Jean Louis-Cohen, Sheldon H. Solow and Barry Bergdoll.

Many exhibitions about Charles-Édouard Jeanneret have take place over the world, but I think this one may be the one. I will have to visit to proof I am right, of course, but it appears to be a very complete compilations of his works. 

The main argument for this exhibit is Jeanneret’s care for lanscape in almost of all his projects, and to show that, there are sculptures, drawing, paintings, photographs and models of many of his models. I am also proud to say that his design, along with the GATCPAC, for the expansion of my home town, Barcelona, is going to be present. 

There is not much I can say about it until I visit it myself, but in the meantime I wanted to share some pictures I found online about the process of hanging up a painting of massive dimension, something you do not often get to see.

ArchiBoom
It has never been easier to access projects information than it is nowadays. Pages like Desigboom,  Anchdaily, dezeen, and a long list of others webpages make our life easier as architect students looking for inspiration, or as architects catching up with the flashy architecture that is now being designed. Therefore it is not surprising to run into articles like “THE ARCHITECTURE AND MASS MEDIA” in SPACE magazine (201304)
Three articles complete these approach to the influence of massive communication towards non.architects. However, after reading the first one a deep feeling of incompleteness when, such an important topic of discussion is dealt as a science problem. 
Nonetheless, this Korean magazine allows us, Western-culture architects, the great influence that architects have in the lives of everyday workers that have little or nothing to do with the practice of architecture other, of course, than their constant interaction with it in all their activities. Architects advertising credit cards? Yes, we have a movie that was projected in theaters about Norman Foster, but that is as far as we go. Architects are still a distant figure, hardly accessible. And that is probable why they are starting to have series of articles published regularly in newspaper about architecture. 
But that is not the point I am trying to get at. Although what is happening in Korea with the slow introduction of architecture in everyday life may be a forecast of what may end up happening worldwide. Is this something positive for architecture? Is architecture changing, becoming more flashy and less self-centered to get more blogs in magazines,  webzines and personal blogs, (maybe like this one itself) of architecture? 
Action and reaction is what has lead us to be where we are right now, so architecture is changing, not only due to mass media, also to the development of new technologies that allow new designs. However, are architects going to use this influential massiveness of communication to spread the basic pure aims of architecture, or are they going to shift their aesthetics to something flashy and eye-catching? 
Both doors are open. We can either improve the discourse around architecture, or we can empty the theoretical content and base the designs and the crazy capabilities that programs such as Grasshopper allow us to develop. 
As it is being in many aspects related to our practice, as, for instance, the educational program in Spain, we are in a moment when we have to find ourselves, as a community. We are given the opportunity to redefine what we aim to be. What we aim the next generation of architects to pursue. 


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ways of useful procrastination  

We think Photography is art, don’t we?

Richard Avendon. “Marilyn Monroe”. 1957

Harry Callahan. “Telephone Wires” 1912

What is modern art about? That is exactly what Clement Greenberg (1909-1994), Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) and Joseph Kosuth (b.1945) have tried to respond, and they all ended up being positive that they had found the right explanation, none equal to the other’s. However, they defended their different positions through think and thin during the 20th century. How is it possible that they all developed theories so different and, in Joseph Kosuth’s case, even opposite?

Richard Prince. “Canal Zone” 2007
We will be using three photographs of the second half of the twentieth century to compare and contract these critics position in art. Harry Callahan’s (1912-1999) telephone wires series of photographs (fig.1), Richard Avendon’s (1923-2003) Marilyn Monroe (fig.2) and Richard Prince’s ( b.1949) Canal Zone series of photographs (fig.3), whose work of art of “the rastafary” was sentenced to be destroyed in 2011. All photographs, all differently intellectually loaded.
The first of these, and also the oldest, is, in my opinion, a clear study of the composition of black lines over a white background, other than a photography, as understood today, itself. And it makes a lot of sense when you realize that the older theorist and artist is Piet Mondrian. Both lived in the U.S.A during the same time, therefore Callahan could have easily been influenced by Mondrian’s ideas and works of art. As Mondrian had stated “it is from equilibrium, from the conscious, that art comes” and, for these artists, composition became the key to achieve this “equilibrium”, which meant the expression of the universal unconscious to Mondrian. However, even though Clement Greenberg was a believer of Mondrian’s theories, his use of the word “purity” did not express the  exact same concept as Mondrian’s. When he said that art should aim pure art, he would try to achieve it through a more self-critical point of view. “Purity” as self-definition. To him, “visual art should confine itself exclusively to what is given in visual experience, and make no reference to anything given in other orders of experience”
, as, for example, and universal state of unconscious. 
But, what is purity in photography? Is it what we reveal directly from the camera? Or is it the way light affects the roll and captures a scene? How could we know if it is a new “genre” and has no history and, for C. Greenberg, art is no rupture of continuity with past art? Despite this, the one photograph that responds directly to one of these questions if Avendon’s. He was courageous enough to try to achieve this “purity” by printing a picture he had taken of Marilyn Monroe without editing, and he made that clear to us by adding part of the Kodak frame. 
So, if photography is a two dimensional media, what do P. Mondrian and C. Greenberg, with their pursue for “pure” art, think about representing three dimensional scenes in two dimensional mediums? They both defended flatness in painting because painting is a study of paint on canvas, despite the fact that C. Greenberg said that “Mondrian could suggest three dimensionality”
. As far as I am concerned, both the “telephone wires” and “Marilyn Monroe”, are three dimensional objects, differently though. We can only know that the black lines in Callahan’s photographs are telephone wires because he tells us so in the work’s title. If he had not told us, would we have known what it was? Probably not. And would we then, not knowing what those lines were, been able to perceive the third dimension of perspective? It resembles to P. Mondrian’s “Sea in Starlight” (1914). It is hard to tell.

Piet Mondria. “Sea in Starlight”. 1914
But, to Joseph Kosuth, this is not modern art. This theories and photographies are still too concerned with aesthetic experience and form and do not question the nature of art. This turns out to be the most important characteristic quality of a work of art for J. Kosuth. To him, C. “Greenberg (and therefore, P. Mondrian) is a critic of taste”. That is why he why he would consider R. Prince’s photography as art and not the other two previously commented. It is not a surprise to us to realize that R. Prince and J. Kosuth were born only 5 years apart.
Moreover, to Kosuth, Duchamp, with his “readymades” and his “Fountain” (1917), finally gave art its own identity by not caring wether art critics would or would not understand or like his work of art, but by creating a self contained “definition of art”. And that is exactly what R. Prince does when taking a picture of a picture and adding external things to it. He rethinks photography by adding his own ideas to what he thinks is uninteresting photographs. 
So, if we agree that Callahan was studying how to achieve purity through composition, and R. Avendon tried to achieve purity by photography itself, to J. Kosuth they were not making art about art, but about composition and photography. On the contrary, the eclectic work of R. Prince was concerned, among everything else, on the idea he wanted to express, rather than the final formal outcome, which would not be considered art by both P. Mondrian and C. Greenberg.
What is photography about? That is the great question that is still to be answered. It is not a three dimensional art since it is expressed on a flat surface, so should it be two dimensional? Is not that what painting is about? It is hard to say when all these theories are strong and plausible but so different at the same time.

Credit to:

Notes:
1 Mondrian, Piet. Neo-Plasticism. The general principles of Plastic Equivalence. (1920)
2 Greenberg, Clement. Modernist Painting (1960)
3 íbid.
4 íbid.


FULCRUM 

“The next time these smart people who say there’s something wrong with [the unpaid ‘back-to-work’ programme] go into their supermarket, they should ask themselves this simple question: when they can’t find the food on the shelves, who is more important? Them, the geologist, or the person that stacked the shelf?”

Iain Duncan Smith
Works and Pensions Secretary (UK)

LINK

I must recognize I have become addict to the Fulcrum architectural weekly free publication. I had been reading it a year ago or so, but I just can’t stop now. I encourage every culture vulture to take a look at it! 

SHORT.
DIVERSE.
INGENIOUS.


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SANTIAGO
Intento recordar quién fue que me dijo que la madurez viene con el tiempo y no logro recordar quién fue. Parece pues una de esas verdades obvias que todo el mundo da por supuesto, innecesarias de enseñar y recordar, siempre latentes en nuestras mentes. Pero Chile me ha demostrado cuán equivocados estamos.
Cuesta creer que un país que vivía en dictadura militar bajo el mandato de Pinocher sólo 23 años atrás, tenga hoy en día la madurez suficiente como para investigar hechos y no temer la verdad, una verdad dolorosa y temida, pero, al fin y al cabo, verdad. Lo contrario sucede en España. 38 años han pasado de la muerte del Franco, nuestro dictador, parece que estuvo de moda tener uno en sus días, pero poco se sabe de las secuelas sociales y personales que ocasionó su victoria y mandato. ¿Existe algo parecido a un MUSEO DE LA MEMORIA Y LOS DERECHOS HUMANOS en España?
Este museo de Santiago, Chile; que a mi parecer es más un centro cultural que un museo; es un búnker con todo tipo de información referente al periodo que Chile vivió entre el 11 de Septiembre de 1973 y 1990, experiencias, fotografías, videos, testimonios e información sobre los “detenidos desaparecidos”. Aunque, yo debo que el contenido de esta tumba no fue lo único que me impresionó. 
La arquitectura del edificio es contenida y moderna por igual. Un octoedro de estructura metálica perimetral que se apoya sobre dos macizos de hormigón que contienen el espacio más público del museo, el acceso, el bar – restaurante, la tienda y las salas de actos. El interior del edificio se distribuye con una circulación perimetral alrededor de un gran atrio en donde se recuerda las víctimas. 

¿Dónde recordamos nosotros nuestra historia? ¿Tenemos miedo del hombre del saco? Recuerdo a mis padres mirar debajo de mi cama por la noche, asegurandome que el hombre del saco no estaba allí. Hasta que un día me enfrenté a mi miedos y me atreví a mirarlo yo misma. 
Ese día me quité un gran peso de encima, pude por fin dormir tranquila.


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