Weaponized Architecture. Book Review

This book has a special meaning for me, it is the first book I have finished reading since I became and architects. I must confess that it has been a while since the last new book I finished. I sometimes enjoy reading again some old books, but this one is the first one on the list! Also, Ethel Baraona (dpr-barcelona), co-founder of the editorial that was publishing it, gave it to me when we met a couple months ago, and it still wasn’t available. However, the book can now be purchased in specialized libraries and on Amazon:

This being said, this book has been written by Léopold Lambert, a writer, editor, project manager and architect, the busiest man on earth! He founded his blog, The Funambulist, which is complemented with Archipielago, his online podcast platform. With these platforms he studies and points out to the world the weaponization of architecture in today’s world, specially in conflict places such as the alarming situation in Gaza. (more…)

Transcendence (2014)

For those who like sci-fi movies, this one is a must. It will not become a classic, but it makes you think for a while and it is amazing the amount of first row actors and actresses that appear in this movie in just the 5 first minutes.


Walter Benjamin. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Walter Benjamin (1892 – 1940)

Born in Berlin, the German Empire, W. Benjamin was a literary critic, philosopher, social critic, translator, radio broadcaster and essayist. However my relation with his work began the moment I experienced a glimpse of what he might have felt the day he finally escaped from persecution in Portbou, Spain. This relation led me to dig into his works and discover his translation of “In search of lost time” by Marcel Proust, and also discovered his currently actual aesthetics theory with “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”.

A book that starts quoting a fragment from “Pieces sur l’Art” by Paul Valery in 1931 that could very well have been written a few days ago, which always fascinates me.

The book is mainly a discussion about the difference between art that invites the viewer to contemplate, think and stop for a second; and the mechanical reproduction techniques such as photography, lithography or cinema, that erase the worship in art disconnecting the artist from the work of art, in most of the essay, cinema.

However, topics such as painting’s decay with the proliferation of art galleries in contrast to the everlasting importance of Architecture as an art, which combines both the worship and the experience simultaneously.

A short book full of knowledge and that encourages us to rethink art up to today.

If interested you can buy the English edition HERE and the Spanish edition HERE.



Weaponized Architecture · Reading List

Finally, next to read will be the new dpr-barcelona publication, Weaponized Architecture. Ethel gave it to me as a gift and I couldn’t help reading the first 3 episodes. Unfortunately my Final Project is preventing me from reading.

However, for what I have read, this book follows this small editorial’s aim, the search for new technologies that can improve our environment. And they achieve this by implementing Augmented Reality in the book. This new reality we are now allowed to bring into books must go through the same process as any other technology. We now want to use it for everything and this will lead us to many failures until we find it’s righteous use. But I must admit that it has really interesting additions to a paper book that are worth trying.


3D Printers · Two sides of the same coin

By the end of March 2014 a lecture by Ethel Baraona left be thinking about the possibilities of 3D Printers and Creative Commons project could do to: furniture, games and even HOUSES!

(more about it in: http://bit.ly/theeconomystupid)

We must add up the amazing fundraising project that NewMatter and Frog have organized and that it’s kicking it super hard! (http://bit.ly/1kzpfj3)


Nit de Museus 2014 + Lidia Masllorens

Once again, we have arrived at the magical moment for museums and art institutions when they open their doors for free ’till late at night and invite everyone in. It is magical because museums become crowded space where experts and ignorant come together with no difference.
Unfortunately for those Barça lovers it was a sad night, but a friend a I decided that football wouldn’t ruin our great evening ahead of us. Once the match was over and we managed to exit the stadium (not easy at all…) we headed towards the under construction area of Barcelona, Les Glories.
DHUB, Can Framis and the Music Museum were open for everyone, unfortunately DHUB was hosting a festival and you couldn’t visit it before 9.30pm despite what their schedule said. But this is not a diary of our adventures, it has never been and it will star this way.
There was this one artist who inspired me to write today, a modest and unknown artist whose works of art were pure emotion and not so much fancy or modern compositions. She is LIDIA MASLLORENS. An artist born in Caldes de Malavella, near Barcelona, who combines their art with a teaching position in a local High School of Llagostera, where she lives now. Don’t get me wrong, works of arts by Agustí Puig, Plensa and many more also were appealing and interesting. However, she caught my attention at the very last moment of the exhibit.


HER & our Relationship with Technologies

I must recognize, I don’t know much about movies, I always fall asleep. Well, not always, but most of the times. I fall asleep mostly in my couch, but also in the cinema. However, some movies just capture me. These are usually movies that do not center so much in action and movement, but in dialogues and photography.
Last movie I saw: HER by Spike Jonze. I loved the colors, the outfits, the dialogues and, mostly, the plot. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s about the relationship a person and a machine can develop. A really fancy machine, a new operating system  capable of being intuitive and HUMAN.


New Opportunity Spaces Lecture

Have we ever thought about what would happen if architects learned form life and not from a bunch of different classes in architecture school? Would the containers be more aware of it’s surrounding rather than of the architectural society that every modern city has? There is beautiful designs in fancy design magazines. However, which of these have really changed after the crisis. Even, have architecture schools changed?

It’s easy to set a common program for students to discuss and solve. But, unfortunately, economy has changed our world in major ways. We now have collaborative open source projects, we have bit coins, and, furthermore, we have abandoned architectural containers that are not yet being used by society, architects. 
And rather than just changing things from scratch, why don’t we just reprogram what we already have. Create new opportunities in and out of our homes. Do streets have to be government property, or does it have to feel so? Are our homes only ours? Are schools only for kids? Are universities only for students and professors? What is whose?
This is are some of the questions that Xavier Monteys raised with his lecture of “New opportunity spaces” in ETSAB-UPC in Barcelona a while back. Quoting Le Corbusier or Aldo van Eyck as the promoters of the inbetween space. But thankfully there are already some projects trying to enhance this new programming ideas. 

A initiative that describes itself as an opportunity and interest of bringing the music closer to everyone. Possible thanks to friends and neighbors that provide their balconies that will become the scenarios, becoming new experiences for both artists and spectators.
However, we think it is a way to invert roles and stop looking from our comfortable homes but into the stranger’s homes. Opening our homes for everyone and enhancing the idea of the public space inside private containers. Similar to the interior streets Le Corbusier planned in the Unité d’Habitation in Marseille.
Javier Pérez Andújar: “Paseos con mi madre”
This Spanish writer from Sant Adria grown in an active community neighborhood, has just published this amazing book that gathers the conversations with his mother. Beautifully in this book he realizes the power streets have nowadays. How, due to the crisis we have suffered, the city has been the place where we have defended our private homes. A reminder that younger generations that had forgotten.

Despite these of many examples, the comfortable way of acting is still dominant.Will we be courageous enough to change things?


Anti-Valentine’s Day Plans

For foreigners: in Barcelona very few people celebrate Saint Valentine’s day. We have another lovers day, Saint Jordi. Where men give rose to beloved women, and women give a book to their special man. But, if you are looking for an excuse to ditch someone trying to take you out, here are some plans you can go to:
1- La Mandanga: “Invisible Architectures in Eksarxia, Athens”

Eksarxia is an anarchist quarter of Athens and where the 2013 protests took place. The exhibit offers 9 different drawing that captured this atmosphere. They will be playing a documentary: “Let’s not live like slaves” by Yannis Youlountas about the politic scene in this city and, at 20:30 they will offering free beers and food for everyone to enjoy the exhibit.
2- Open Design: Products in a Networked Culture
Almost the continuation of the lecture Ethel Baraona gave in Iaac last week about the economic system of the world. A designer and educator, Ronen Kadushin, that researches the Open Structure concept with objects such as furniture, to say one. 
But you don’t have t be in the need of ditching someone to come. However, you MUST choose, since both event are at the exact same time. Friday, 14th February at 7.30 p.m.

Affairs in Blue

Despite what it may seem, this beautiful space is a diplomatic institution committed to foster the Mediterranean Villages’ common identity. And it certainly does, to me this space looks more like a flamenco dancing space, which I guess it can be. The program includes new spaces for exhibitions, concerts, shows or parties.
The building was the old Benalua railway station, now empty. And the requirement brief was clear in two conditions: be respectful with the historic building, and low budget (of course). A process of highlighting the building’s special values and dismissing the “fat surplus” started. Also providing “new properties to the interior spaces”.
The main space is a 1500 sqm long open space: EXPERIENCE HALL. With a blue light coming from the ceiling that offer a very Mediterranean atmosphere to this unique space. 
The rest of the program is located in smaller pavilions painted in white. White and blue, the color of maritime cities.