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Tema - Architect and Society
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1

Elisa Carrasquilla. CO-Dwelling 2020: A Story About the Transformation of Living Space. Blog Fundación Arquia (May 2020)

 

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Raúl García. When we were free. Blog Fundación Arquia (May 2020)

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Juhani Pallasmaa. Tocando el mundo (Touching the World), Poliédrica #1, Ediciones Asimétricas, 2019, Spain (52)

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M.A. Gálvez. Espacio Somático. Cuerpos Múltiples (Somatic Space. Multiple Bodies). Ediciones Asimétricas, 2019 (47)

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Juhani Pallasmaa, Tocando el mundo (Touching the World), Poliédrica #1, ediciones asimétricas, 2019, Spain (77)

The Embrace of Architecture

Revolutionary Atlas and Landscape. By María Auxiliadora Gálvez. From her collection ATLAS and Cartographies.

In her latest post1, Elisa Carrasquilla talked about how these months in lockdown seem to have triggered the inevitable collapse of the idea that architecture should be adapted to the user and not vice versa. Apparently, not only had we turned our homes into mere transit zones, but the prolonged use of those homes as spaces of personal indulgence2 had also monopolised the design process. And that doesn’t apply only to domestic architecture.

Several years ago, one of my grandmothers fell seriously ill and had to spend the last two years of her life in hospital. Right up to the end, we looked for alternatives so that when the moment of her eternal farewell came she would be living in an atmosphere of affection and loving memories, somewhere where we could be with her, where she would suffer as little as possible immersed in the smell of her room (her own little kingdom) and the murmur of her loved ones. But she couldn’t carry on at home, and the hospital could do nothing to avoid a final passing away amid ringing bells and the sobbing of strangers.

No doubt the team that designed that hospital did the best job they could with the tools available to them. Today there exists a plethora of tools that systemise architectural production but will never be able to put themselves in the users’ shoes.

The biggest distinguishing feature of architecture is that, as Pallasmaa reminds us, its “ethical task (…) is to defend our biological essence and historicity in order to root us in the essential mental realities of life”.3 It’s our capacity to anticipate the experiences that will take place in the spaces being designed that sets our work apart from other disciplines. Good technique is irrelevant if the concept underlying a design idea has no connection with the life that will emerge during the dwelling process.

Keeping in mind María Auxiliadora Gálvez’s opinion that “we are a living organism and our numerous component systems are interrelated… Everything happens in close relationship with our surroundings”,4 during lockdown I’ve wondered where this disconnection between architecture and users has its roots. Isn’t that my duty as an architect? As Aulis Bloomsted said, “The talent of imagining human situations is more important for an architect than the gift of fantasising spaces”.5

The global upheaval we’re now experiencing leads me to wonder whether we’ll ever manage to develop means of architectural expression that will make us more aware of space. Is it possible to think less about the photogenic aspect of a project, and instead to nurture the emotional, human dimension of architecture? Has the time come to start considering architectural space as the embrace we need in each given situation?


Text translated by Andrew V. Taylor

Notas de página
1

Elisa Carrasquilla. CO-Dwelling 2020: A Story About the Transformation of Living Space. Blog Fundación Arquia (May 2020)

 

2

Raúl García. When we were free. Blog Fundación Arquia (May 2020)

3

Juhani Pallasmaa. Tocando el mundo (Touching the World), Poliédrica #1, Ediciones Asimétricas, 2019, Spain (52)

4

M.A. Gálvez. Espacio Somático. Cuerpos Múltiples (Somatic Space. Multiple Bodies). Ediciones Asimétricas, 2019 (47)

5

Juhani Pallasmaa, Tocando el mundo (Touching the World), Poliédrica #1, ediciones asimétricas, 2019, Spain (77)

Autor:
Arquitectura y Neurociencia. Arquitecta dedicada a la docencia, entusiasta de la innovación a través del espacio.

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