Alberto Alonso Oro revista obradoiro
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1

As described in the editorial to issue 0 of the Obradoiro magazine.

2

Does this sound familiar?

3

The last issue to be published in printed format, issue  34, appeared in March 2012.

4

“Users” is employed as opposed to “members”, because it would make no sense to restrict access to the journal while at the same time aspiring to reach out to a larger audience.

 

5

Philip Johnson

FORTY Years Are Nothing…

Forty years are nothing. Or forty years are a long time. It depends how you look at it, because countless things can happen –  and be done – in that time. It seems like it was only yesterday when the Cultural Committee at the COAG (the Galicia Association of Architects) released the first “experimental”1 issue of the Obradoiro magazine in 1978, thus fulfilling one of the dearest held aspirations of any architects’ association – that of having its own professional journal.

The editorial of that first issue heralded the magazine as an “open instrument of information, study and debate on all things relating to architecture, urban development, construction and the environment”, for architects and for (Galician) society itself.

But it would be good to go back and delve further into that first editorial, which also admitted that,

“At first, however, the objective was too ambitious, due both to the limitations and inexperience of those charged with producing the magazine and to the then still low level of interest among its specific target readership”.

So what was so special about that editorial?

Over and above its content and organization, the first thing was perhaps the sincerity and candour it displayed from the first line to the last, its frank description and acknowledgment of the difficulties facing the new project: that double challenge of communicating architecture to the society of the day2 and “to the esteemed, select circle of professionals and intellectuals in Galicia”.

 

Was that possible 40 years ago? Is it possible now? Is it necessary? Is it viable?

A second lesson is that of recognising and being able to adapt to changing times in order to access and exploit the technological progress that marks each age. We should therefore pay attention to our surroundings and know how to act therein. As Frank Lloyd Wright said,

“Every great architect is – necessarily – a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.”

The first few steps in the new magazine’s existence were taken modestly but very enthusiastically, and were described as such in the editorial:

“Hence the decision to create a much more modest publication, the Boletín, which aspired only to be a first vehicle of apprenticeship. Conceived not as a simple organ of bibliographical information, it gradually began to include articles and contributions by architects and specialists in other related fields”.

 

Now, forty years on from that first issue and in the wake of the paralysis caused by the economic crisis which has halted publication over the last 6 years3, its lessons seem to have been taken up again.

In this new phase, the Obradoiro (Digital) magazine has adapted to present-day reality, maintaining all its core commitments while making the most of the new digital resources that are now available. The re-founded Obradoiro Digital magazine (OBD) (re)appears with a tribute to one of the masters of modern Spanish architecture: Alejandro de la Sota.

Just like that first issue in 1978, this new stage opens up a new way of communicating architecture. As stated by the magazine’s first editorial board, however, it also aspires to improve through the participation of all its users4, whose opinions and criticisms can only raise the quality of a publication of this type.

It might well be wondered whether the future of architecture is culture5

Forty years are nothing … or a long time, it depends, but what is undeniable is the fact that lessons and experience can and should be learned from.


Text translated by Andrew V. Taylor
Notas de página
1

As described in the editorial to issue 0 of the Obradoiro magazine.

2

Does this sound familiar?

3

The last issue to be published in printed format, issue  34, appeared in March 2012.

4

“Users” is employed as opposed to “members”, because it would make no sense to restrict access to the journal while at the same time aspiring to reach out to a larger audience.

 

5

Philip Johnson

Autor:
Arquitecto autónomo y no colegiado (@AAlonsoOro), que compagina la labor de editor en veredes, arquitectura y divulgación (@veredes) con las tradicionales de arquitectura. En 2019, lanza VAD. veredes, arquitectura y divulgación es una revista científica internacional de periodicidad semestral y formato digital y físico que pretende ser un canal de difusión de trabajos y reflexiones centrados en la cultura, la teoría y el proyecto de arquitectura.

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