Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Public Housing Gets the Prize

The awards of the XI Biennial of Spanish Architecture and Urbanism were announced early this month.

The event is organized by the central government's housing office, architects' professional associations and other sponsors. A jury headed by the architects Félix Arranz and Joaquín Sabaté chose 40 finalists and prize winners in several categories from among 734 entries, over twice the number of previous editions and an all-time record.

Jury members included Lluis Clotet, the urban planner José María Ezquiaga, Manuel Gallego, Belinda Tato of Ecosistema Urbana, and Llàtzer Moix, architecture critic for La Vanguardia newspaper in Barcelona, among others.
Prize for Architecture
Subsidized housing, Mieres (Region of Asturias)
Zigzag Arquitectura (Bernardo Angelini + David Casino)
(Pictured above)

Residential development in Caramoñina, Santiago de Compostela
Víctor López Cotelo
 House in Paderne (Province of Lugo)
Carlos Quintáns Eiras
(Pictured above)

Special Recognition:
Álava Archeological Museum, Vitoria (Province of Álava)
Francisco Mangado
Museum of Water, Lanjarón (Province of Granada)
Juan Domingo Santos
(Pictured above)

Can Framis Museum, Barcelona
Jordi Badía

Young Architects' Prize
Rowing Center, Alange (Province of Badajoz)
José María Sánchez García 
(Pictured above)

Mercat de Ferreríes Civic Center, Tortosa (Province of Tarragona)
Josep Camps + Olga Felip

Municipal Environmente Services Headquarters, Zaragoza
Jaime Magén + Francisco Javier Magén

Prize for Subsidized Public Housing
22 Apartments for renters under 35, El Rastro, Madrid
Mónica Alberola, Luis Díaz-Mauriño + Consuelo Martorell
(Pictured above)

Housing block in Salou (Province of Tarragona)
Toni Gironés

Student housing, Bellaterra Campus, Autonomous University of Barcelona
Eduard Bru

Prize for Urbanism
Municipal Plan, Montmeló (Province of Barcelona)
Jornet, Llop + Pastor

Port of Malpica (Province of A Coruña)
Juan Creus + Covadonga Carrasco

The Munch Area, Oslo, Norway
Juan Herreros Architects

Special Recognition:
Waterfront Promenade, Poniente Beach, Benidorm (Province of Alicante)
Carlos Ferrater

Prize for Research

Ex Aequo
Media-TIC Building, Barcelona
Enric Ruíz Geli

Territorial Plan for Housing in Cataluña
Josep María Vilanova +Ricard Pie

"Esto no es un solar" Program, Zaragoza
Patrizia di Monte + Ignacio Grávalos

Font de la Mina Library, Sant Adrià del Besós (Barcelona
Alfonso Soldevila

For pictures of more winners,
see the Arquitectura Viva web page

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Geometric Abstraction in Latin America

A landmark show, still on view through May 15: América Fría: Geometric Abstraction in Latin America (1934–1973) at the Juan March Foundation in Madrid.

Art over four decades from Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico and Cuba, and artists such as Joaquín Torres-García, who founded the Asociation of Constructivist Art in Montevideo in 1935; the Madí Group in Buenos Aires, founded in 1946 by Gyula Kosice, Carmelo Arden Quin, Rhod Rothfuss, Martín Blaszko, Diyi Laan); Lucio Fontana, who settled in Argentina in the same years and published the Manifiesto Blanco on spatialist art; Alejandro Otero, Carlos Cruz-Díez and Jesús Rafael Soto in Venezuela; the Brazilian geometric movement, etc. etc.

Also included are interesting cross-currents with artists who spent large periods in South America, including Calder, Josef Albers, Vasarely and  the great Spanish sculptor Jorge Oteiza.

Curated by Osabel Suárez.

Francisco Calvo Serraller reviews the show in El País:
El ardor artístico de la 'América fría'
"For the non-specialist, this exhibition demolishes the common notion that Latin American art stands out only for surrealism, Mexican muralism and the realisms of the inter-war period."

"...the artistic production of this fertile current of geometric art in Latin America was not at all limited to simply following the European vanguard, part of which moved to New York during the Second World War... Rather it made decisive and original contributions that reflect a local sensibility y and an extremely rich cultural tradition."
Translated by DC
Juan March Foundation
Castelló, 77

Monday to Saturday 11.00 – 20.00 h.
Sunday and holidays 10.00 – 14.00 h.
CLOSED April 21-24 for Easter

Pictured above:
Lola Soldevilla
Carte Celeste en Amarillo Nº 1
National Museum of Fine Arts, Cuba
From the Juan March Foundation web page

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Watch your Step

My article on a house in the small Portuguese city of Leiria by the architects Manuel and Francisco Aires Mateus is the cover story in this month's Record Houses 2011, Architectural Record's annual special issue on the single-family house, which publishes six projects from around the world chosen from 250 candidates. The full text and a portfolio of photos are found here.
... the perfect archetype of a house, straight out of a Monopoly game box or a fairytale; an apparently solid volume wrapped completely in white plaster, pitched roof and all...

House in Leiria, Portugal
Manuel and Francisco Aires Mateus, Architects
Architectural Record: Record Houses, April 2011

Photos © Fernando Guerra

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Like the bright plumage of a bird

Color in Spanish architecture is the theme of a long article I've written for the latest issue of the Russian biannual journal Speech. It is a theme particularly apt to Spain, for some reason the most radical experiments anywhere in the use of color in the past six or seven years can be found here. We cover the spectrum, from well-known works by Nouvel, Miralles + Tagliabue and Hadid to virtually unpublished works, such as the medical clinic in St. Martín de la Vega by Pedro Urzáiz and Carlos Pérez-Pla, which uses glass with an inner layer of a prismatic gel that reflects and solarizes the surrounding context in surreal colors (photo top © Miguel de Guzmán) and a secondary school in Las Mesas (Province of Cuenca) by Blanca Rosa and Natalia Gutiérrez of GRG Architects in Madrid (photo below © Roland Halbe).
Color plays at least four different roles in contemporary Spanish architecture. In the first place, we find it used in a traditional way, as an integral sensual quality of finish materials. Secondly, color is used as a system of coding building elements, although this "functional" approach is often mixed with more sensual intentions. Thirdly, we find works that feature a random rainbow splattering of many different colors over finish surfaces, a manifestation of the current recourse to aleatoric or irregular compositional methods, and a response, it seems, to the sensual pleasures of the simple, unmediated experience of color. Finally, we sometimes find color used to create an experience of total immersion, in which colors flood and stain space itself, making space manifest and transforming the normal perceptual conditions of reality.
Like the bright plumage of a bird
Color in Spanish architecture
Speech 06/2010, December 2010 (received March 2011), pages 208 - 226.
Table of Contents

Projects by the following architects (in order of appearance): 
Nouvel, Miralles - Tagliabue, Mansilla + Tuñón, SelgasCano, Mangado, Rogers - Lamela, Haiku Architecture, Amann, Cánovas + Maruri, Pino - Paredes, Aguinaga, Camacho + Macía, RCR Architects, Hadid, GRG Architects, Urzáiz - Pérez-Pla, MI5 Studio, Estudio Entresitio.