1

Thanks to David Garcia-Asenjo for the wide variety of the content he shares on his TL.

2

Remember José Ramón Hernández Correa’s invitation, a few weeks ago, to make a list of 20 important buildings.

3

By that I don’t mean we shouldn’t use the most accurate language possible when expressing ourselves.

Catching and Reflecting on Special Moments

Strangers on a Train, 1951, Hitchcock

Sometimes little events lead to reflection, like strangers who just happen to be on the same train. It happened to me a few days (or, rather, weeks) ago. I was browsing Twitter1 and I came across a text by Javier Aznar, in which he shares an excerpt from his weekly “Things That Made Me Happy This Week” column in Vanity Fair.

It’s a column with a kind of list2 of things that, for one reason or another, have cheered the author up. The important thing isn’t so much the content, because that’s subjective and so it would be difficult for the reader to completely coincide with the writer’s opinion. 0} No, perhaps the really important thing is the exercise in introspection that Javier defines and performs just by creating that simple list of different “things”, an exercise which, as can clearly be seen in the example, invites the reader to make his/her own list.

This simple act, which we can scale to fit in with our own needs, involves nothing more than stopping for a few moments to notice the things around us and analyse how they affect us. And it’s an act we could well transpose to the different fields and levels of architectural practice.

Or are we only allowed to express or share things that are exceptional, or express ourselves in some sort of metacomplexed, undecipherable language?3

Perhaps on a small scale, in everyday, familiar things, it’s possible to shorten the distance that separates us from a society in which members of our profession are seen as little more than forced signatories “complying” with bureaucratic requirements.

With this in mind, Javier’s column therefore gives me a good excuse to vindicate two of the things which at least allow me to face this term with a smile on my face and hope in my heart.

Javier’s column and David, for having put it in my path.

Naturally, I want to express my gratitude for their having shown and shared a modicum of joy.  It sounds easy, but it isn’t, especially in circumstances like those we’re experiencing at present. Thanks for breaking the vicious circle of constant, all-intrusive tension.

The anonymous architect.

All those colleagues who “anonymously” dignify and exalt our profession, working silently and well out of the media limelight, because the purpose of architecture is none other than to serve society. It would be unfair to name individuals or to mention only one of the many jobs done by today’s architects – from fixing the neighbour’s bathroom to working in government agencies, as teachers, researchers, etc.  Not long ago, the list was running at 101, but really all those tasks come down to the same thing: straightforward technical activity.

No, if there’s one thing that produces joy and hope, it’s the fact that all those architects show passion for their work, and that, perhaps, is even more important than the end result.

Despite Neil Postman’s affirmation that “every technology is both a burden and a blessing; not either-or, but this-and-that.”, those strange travelling companions sometimes turn out OK and broaden our outlook.

And you, dear reader, what things make you happy at this point in your life?


Text translated by Andrew V. Taylor
Notas de página
1

Thanks to David Garcia-Asenjo for the wide variety of the content he shares on his TL.

2

Remember José Ramón Hernández Correa’s invitation, a few weeks ago, to make a list of 20 important buildings.

3

By that I don’t mean we shouldn’t use the most accurate language possible when expressing ourselves.

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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