Saturday, August 21, 2010

Vallecas goes Pop

Today I renew my collaboration with the cultural supplement Babelia of the Spanish daily El País. The story is a report on the latest public housing in the new Madrid district of Vallecas. The development has given a new generation of Madrid architects the opportunity to build, many for the first time. Mid-decade trends (when the projects were first awarded in competition) are seen in a new, post-crisis light.

The full story appears on their web page:

Vallecas será pop
Babelia, Number 978, pages 18-19.
El País, Saturday, August 21, 2010.

Los "árboles de aire", plazas de sombra envueltas en mallas verdes de vegetación, ocupan los cruces del bulevar, cerrando vistas que en el resto del ensanche son demasiado abiertas. Son los únicos lugares en la zona donde se oye el canto de los pájaros. Alrededor se sitúan algunos de los proyectos más atrevidos de la EMVS, con acabados de planchas metálicas galvanizadas, texturas corrugadas y colores de una intensidad pop. Es una auténtica utopía de la joven arquitectura madrileña, apenas un cruce de calles, como las utopías suelen ser.

Above: Housing by Paredes Pino Architects.
Photo: DC

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Panoramic Eye

David Cohn
The Panoramic Eye
Llotja Theater and Convention Center, Lleida (Lérida), Spain.
Mecanoo Architects, Delft.
architektur.aktuell 34, 2010-07-08, July 2010.
Table of contents    Order issue

Mecanoo's design for Lleida is frequently compared to the auditorium built in 1966 by Van der Broek and Bakema at the Delft Technical University. But by setting the Llotja building on a paved plaza stocked with urban amenities, Francine Houben has given the project a solid Spanish pedigree. And by converting Van de Broek and Bakema's frontal, hovering design, expressive in its time of a new degree of freedom from gravity, into a three-dimensional form, she has created a thoroughly contemporary architectural object. Like a spinning top or an alien spacecraft, it incongruously meets the ground with slanting walls, while its continuous window scrutinizes the surroundings like a panoramic eye.

Photo courtesy of the architects.