Decadence - Erotic poetry by Jared Dean

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The Guardian. Retrieved Archived from the original on July 9, Retrieved July 25, The Village Voice. Archived from the original on June 26, Retrieved March 25, The Washington Post. Retrieved 25 January Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved July 16, Tiscali SpA. Archived from the original on Turner Classic Movies.

Celebrating Christopher Walken. Archived from the original on May 26, Retrieved July 24, The Observer. Retrieved 4 January Retrieved 27 September — via archive. Golden Raspberry Awards. Archived from the original on July 29, Retrieved January 22, Archived from the original on March 13, Archived from the original on May 6, Retrieved May 4, King Features. Retrieved August 20, Retrieved 7 September March 31, Retrieved 23 February Retrieved 27 February April Crave Online.

November 16, Associated Press. Interview magazine. January 16, Patriot Ledger. October 10, Episode dated 16 March December 20, Make 'em Laugh! American Humorists of the 20th and 21st Centuries. Hunley Robot Chicken. Season 1. Episode Adult Swim. Cartoon Network. Retrieved 28 April August 15, Archived from the original on October 17, Retrieved November 16, The Sacramento Bee.

Archived from the original on January 2, Retrieved October 25, But our tribal conflicts prevent us from separating the urgent from the truly important, and a building that ought to be a model of energy saving and an example of civic responsibility, with the austere laconism that should be the mark of a company that must guarantee supply without being abusive in its prices, ends up being discussed as the failed artistic icon of an electoral and gaseous Catalonia. Mea culpa. Frank Gehry and Norman Foster are the stars of recent documentaries that portray the architectural profession from opposite angles.

Architecture loves cinema, but rarely is this love reciprocated. Though the moving eye of the camera has often fed on contemporary buildings, cinema has seldom sought to unravel the mechanisms of the creation of spaces, preferring as it does to stick to the use of architecture as a setting and the occasional stardom of cartoonish architects. Three years ago, Nathaniel Kahn's film about the legendary Louis Kahn, titled My Architect: A Son's Journey, was a moving account of an illegitimate offspring's voyage to his biographical origins and to the very heart of architecture, a self-contemplating, bitter and perplexing portrayal of the father he hardly got to know and the master whose footprints he looked for in impassible buildings.

It was also tangible proof of the poetry and emotion with which cinema can begin to pay its debt to the world of construction. The artists, from Ed Ruscha or Chuck Arnoldi to the ubiquitous Julian Schnabel, join the chorus of praises, and the few architects interviewed, from an already very weakened Philip Johnson to the critics Charles Jencks and Herbert Muschamp, voice opinions of applause or enthusiasm. Only the historian Hal Foster puts a note of censure, but it is so confusedly expressed that it only serves to legitimize the complacent tone of the overall portrait.

In this ocean of flattery, the most picturesque figure is Milton Wexler, Gehry's psychoanalyst of the past 35 years, who denies responsibility for the architect's creative transformation it was after beginning therapy that Gehry gave up the conventional architecture he had been building and explains how he discourages many an architect who comes to him in search of a miraculous recipe after hearing of his method.

With an approach almost diametrically opposed to the Californian exaltation of individual inspiration, Building the Gherkin presents the building of the London skyscraper as a collective endeavor, and with admirable plausibility the young Swiss director Mirjam von Arx manages to convey both the complexity of the political and media scenes that surround architecture and the diversity of its technical and corporate protagonists.

Combining the emotive spectacle of high-rise construction with a narration of the labyrinthine ups and downs of planning and the inevitable conflicts and crises unfolding in the course of development, the documentary is at once an epic and a comedy of manners. As such, it is as pedagogical in its account of the execution and decision-making processes as it is perceptive in its portrayal of the people involved. This is a long cast of managers, bureaucrats, designers, and building contractors: from Norman Foster himself, who argues with frozen laconic accuracy, to the almost sinister municipal urban planning chief, Peter Wynne Rees, passing through the representatives of the client, the insurance firm Swiss Re, who are led by a formidable, intimidating, warm-blooded Sara Fox.

All are portrayed with empathy and humor in the documentary, where their indecisions, phobias, and disagreements together make up a vital and vibrant soap opera.

Decadence - Erotic poetry

Construction had begun when the attacks of September 11 happened, so the film addresses the impact of terrorism on both the safety of high-rise buildings and the balance sheet of the insurance company behind the tower. These dark shadows are balanced with episodes of high comedy, such as those documenting the decision to assign the interior decoration to another firm, to Foster's huge dismay. The result of four years of work, the documentary about the first skyscraper to go up in the City in twenty-five years — which started out as a controversial project and ended up becoming a symbol of London, appearing in movies like Basic Instinct II and Woody Allen's Match Point — is above all a detailed description of how architecture gets entangled with life itself, and a lucid and critical tribute to the men and women who make possible the miracle of turning sketched dreams into real space.

In this implausible territory, Foster and Gehry are not far apart. In the end all we have are shadows, cinema constructions, dreams of reason or incubi of reason in slumber. September The continuous increase of the oil price — triggered by the multiplication of demand rather than by occasional supply crises — opens a historic period of energy shortage that shall stimulate saving and the use of alternative sources, inviting new reflections in the fields of sustainable architecture and urbanism. The 20th century ended in Berlin , but the 21st began in New York.

The cold war between ideologies came to a close with the coming down of the wall, and the hot war between civilizations broke out with the collapsing of the two towers. Five years after , the prediction concerning the death of the skyscraper has proven as erroneous as the previous one about the disappearance of the walls that divide the planet. Technical and symbolic globalization continues to raise high-rises that send out an overbearing and optimistic message, while at ground level the world crackles with innumerable boundary fences and computer fire walls that try to block the passage of persons and ideas.

For Chicago , the cradle of skyscrapers, Santiago Calatrava is designing what will be the tallest in the United States , while the federal administration seals the Mexican border with wire fences, pits, and heat sensors. In Shanghai , where cranes and towers abound like nowhere, the completion of the World Financial Center by the American firm Kohn Pedersen Fox will give the city the height record heretofore held by Kuala Lumpur and Taipei , while the Chinese government censors Google and Yahoo and blocks access to the Wikipedia with cybernetic barriers. Not even in Spain's periphery is the proliferation of towers in the big cities and tourist havens — from Nouvel's polychromatic shell in Barcelona to the four skyscrapers rising on Madrid's Paseo de la Castellana , passing through the many building developments going on along the Mediterranean coast and the Canarian archipelago — incompatible with the closing up of southern frontiers through radars in the Strait of Gibraltar, fences around Ceuta and Melilla, and patrol boats in the Atlantic Ocean, all under siege by the misery of Africa.

Berlin was not the last wall, nor did the attacks against the World Trade Center Twin Towers bring about the end of skyscrapers. In the wake of , it seemed that skyscrapers were giants with feet of mud, but maybe their vulnerability was not so much technical as social, and the safety of these emblems of political and economic power is more threatened by the multiplication of barriers that fracture the territory, segregate populations, and nourish resentment than by the risks associated with their structural daring and complexity. The suicide cells of September 11 were under the command of Mohamed Atta, who had gone to the Arab world's oldest architecture school, in Cairo as had Hassan Fathy, Egypt's leading architect, an advocate of neo-vernacular construction at the service of the poor, against western modernity , and gone on to earn a degree in urban planning from Hamburg's TUHH — a young polytechnic university whose dean of urban planning, Dittmar Machule, a defender of traditional schemes, had taken part in refurbishing the ancient Syrian city of Aleppo — with a thesis on the conflict between Islamic town planning and modernity.

This makes one wonder if the objective of the terrorist attack may have been not only political, but also architectural. A similar conclusion can be extracted from Eyal Weizman's analysis of the politician Ariel Sharon as an architect, when the writer explores the geometry of the occupation of the West Bank from the viewpoint of the intersection of power, security, and urbanism, showing to what extent military strategy, the geopolitics of protection, and the architecture of territories are inseparable.

Five years after , the catastrophic clash of the skyscraper and the airplane has rendered high-rise construction more costly, and commercial aviation more troublesome. But the expansive wave of the event has done more harm on the ground than on the sky, and the chain of Islamist bombs that has opened cracks of panic from Madrid to Bali has shaken the architecture of globalization less than the discredit that a bellicose empire has brought upon itself.

This empire has proven itself as impotent in guaranteeing security and establishing democracy in Muslim countries as it has shown itself incapable of filling the tragic void of Ground Zero — bogged down as it is in a marasmus that is more real estate-related than civic — with an architectural sign of confidence and hope. On the other side of the Atlantic, London was able to replace the Baltic Exchange, a building destroyed by the IRA, with a light and luminous tower, designed and built by Norman Foster for the insurance firm Swiss Re, that soars above the skyline of the City like a peaceful projectile: if the West wants to propose an icon of encounter and healing for the trauma of horror, this at once swift and blunt skyscraper would be a good candidate indeed.

But maybe T. Eliot was right, and the world ends not with a bang but a whimper: not with an explosion, but with a moan. July Early in June, Valencia had a bout of agony and ecstasy. Photograph: David Chipperfield Architects. Valencia lived a summer of ups and downs: from the winds on the sails to the victims in the trains, and from there to the visit from the Vatican. In a matter of days it moved from the euphoria of nautical triumphs to the sense of total defeat caused by the railway ordeal, to then seek volatile consolation in the pastoral voice of a philosophical pope.

In the first weekend of July, twelve boats from five continents took part in the world's oldest competition, for which Valencia had won the bid to be a venue against nearly a hundred other candidate cities. Its over forty deaths switched the city's mood into one of mourning, and not even the mass fervor of the pope's visit the following weekend managed to dissipate the grief of so many desolate families. From to her death in , the French mystic writer Simone Weil wrote a diary that was published posthumously, in fragments, under the title Gravity and Grace: two words that expressed the opposition of the heaviness of the world and the lightness of the spirit, but which also perfectly sum up the contrast between the solemnity of death that strikes as collective tragedy and the frivolity of the media event, be it sport-related or religious, that congregates masses around a spectacle or a message.

Valencia shifted its attention from the immaterial hustle and bustle of breezes and boats viewed from a lookout, to the somber drama of human catastrophe in an underground labyrinth, closing the circle with the ephemeral architectures and winged words of a pious crowd that chose the aerial forms of Santiago Calatrava for backdrop. Gravity and grace are terms that express the changing mood of the city as much as they suit the contradictory nature of the America 's Cup building whose launching party started this week of passions.

The building is formed by four large platforms that rise with sculptural confidence at the end of the dock, extended along the new canal with a parking lot for vehicles and a garden walk that links this landmark to the seafront and the Malvarrosa beach. Here, the gravitas of Chipperfield's work dissolves in the Mediterranean light of the huge cantilevers, clad in a white-enameled steel that makes them look weightless — an impression reinforced by the transparency of the building's main volume and the almost imperceptible glass parapet of its perimeter.

The spacious shaded terraces — the two lower levels for public use, the two upper ones reserved for guests of the organization — are of course the essence of the project. It is there that the main activities of the building happen: receiving visitors and watching regattas by day, parties of sponsors and gatherings of crews by night.

Each of the twelve teams participating in the event has its own base in the port — provisional structures several floors high containing workshops, gyms, dining rooms, offices, shops, and reception areas for guests and the press, outstanding among which is the one Renzo Piano built for Luna Rossa, the Italian ship sponsored by the firm Prada, with its intelligent cladding of recycled sails and a large boutique on the top floor that one gets to by escalator.

But only the Foredeck brings everyone together on neutral ground, and it does so with an ease and elegance that makes it hard to imagine any other project on the spot. The deadlines for design and execution were so tight due to the delays caused by the change of government in Madrid and the attendant political contest for the control of the event that the work has small imperfections in the details and finishes that mortify Chipperfield. This attitude is typical of an architect who is stubborn and demanding when it comes to the material quality of his buildings, and who is obsessively self-critical about his work in general.

Nevertheless, Valencia's Foredeck is proof, precisely, of the force of architectural ideas, the resilience of concept against haste or misunderstandings, because the initial proposal of the slabs in levitation, with terraces in shade and luminous edges that define an abstract geometric sculpture, so persuasively reconciles the functional needs of the lookout with the sculptural needs of the landmark that no small defect or error can damage the result.

Peter's successor delivered his message of consolation. The Fisherman's next visit, by boat, and his next homily, from the sea. June The contrast between the Allianz Arena of Munich and the Olympic Stadium of Berlin illustrates the dilemmas that afflict a country forced to confront contemporary realities with ghosts of the past, but also the tensions that weigh upon a world at once united by spectacle and fragmented by memory. Photograph: Duccio Malagamba.

In Munich , spectacle without memory; in Berlin , memory without spectacle. The two main venues of the World Cup of Germany, where the championship opens and closes, are architectures so opposed one would think them deliberately orchestrated to reveal the two faces of the host country. While the Allianz Arena is light, colorful, and suburban, posed on the landscape like a festive airship, the Olympic Stadium is heavy, grayish and urban, its monumental porticoes rising over a solemn esplanade. Whereas the Munich facility is a new building, clad with the innovative technology of inflatable pillows of ETFE ethyltetrafluoretylene that change color with lighting like a discotheque dance floor, the Berlin work is the remodeling of a historic stadium, one that adds a canopy over the grandstands but otherwise maintains the archaic gravitas of limestone and the axial severity of elemental geometries.

This architectural Jano is of course a portrait of Germany although the two faces may represent the reverse of what they initially seem to , and at the same time offers a built oxymoron that symbolizes the schizophrenic contemporary tension between globalization and identity, spectacle and memory. At first glance, the cushioned, polychromatic globe in Munich is a futuristic, hyper-technological construction that ought to incarnate the optimistic spirit of Angela Merkel's new Germany.

However, the impeccable geometrical logic, the exact functional definition and the lightweight insertion in nature make this colorful, pneumatic stadium a masterwork of canonic modernity, and its spectral immateriality the best vaccine against the ghostly viruses of an ominous past. The stone peristyle of Berlin , for its part, barely altered by the new canopy, would seem to express the classicist sensibility of old Germany. But its subjection to the rhetorical monumentality of Hitler's architecture, sacrificing functionality to the ceremonial axis that fractures the grandstands and the roof, makes its historicist traditionalism an anti-classical statement, one which otherwise refrains from questioning the theatrical urbanism of the Nazi period.

This is perhaps the most contemporary attitude in a country that has replaced the embarrassment of guilt with a distracted acceptance, and which after the fall of the Berlin wall has occupied old Nazi buildings — from the headquarters of the Luftwaffe, now turned into the Finance Ministry, or the old Reichsbank, now housing Foreign Affairs — without the scruples or feelings of reticence that formerly plagued Germans when faced with the phantoms of their past. Only by considering this can we understand the naturalness with which they have remodeled the venue of the Olympics, the very place where Leni Riefenstahl filmed Olympia — the propaganda documentary that best presented Nazi ideals and aesthetics — and where Albert Speer put up the same cathedrals of light that had graced the Nuremberg party congress of The dramatic dilemmas of Germany are also in a way those of Europe , and indeed of all nations afflicted by the antithetical impulses of amnesic adaptation to global homogeneity on one hand, and memory-driven defense of historic uniqueness on the other.

This icon lights up like a cushioned beacon, rising in the landscape of highways like a magical abstract landmark that arouses emotional identities and aesthetic emotions in a single stroke. In Berlin, a Hamburg firm with a more technological, corporate profile — which already had stadiums in other German cities in its track record — has remodeled a Nazi emblem without altering its urban presence, limiting its intervention to covering the tiers and introducing elements of a modern sport venue, from comfortable seats to press rooms and VIP boxes, homogenizing its program amenities while limiting symbolic regeneration to informative signs in perimetral porticoes and an interpretation center in the Langemarckhalle, a building shaped like an Egyptian temple located next to the stadium where the Nazis paid tribute to heroes fallen in battlefields.


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Paradoxically it is the more generic project, the one carried out in the more anonymous environment, the one that is ultimately more unique in form and has greater attraction for our society of spectacle. All this while the confrontation with an urban piece overwhelmed by the weight of history ends up in a lethargic trivialization and a docile subjection to memory that harms both its functional quality and its emblematic appeal. For a whole month we were glued to the television screens for these sport battles that for the Nazis were a preparation for war, and which for us are a ritualized combat that replaces military conflict with symbolic warfare.

After all, maybe it is true that spectacle unites us and memory separates us. If this is so, then maybe we should all celebrate the amnesic unanimity of football, and trust that its geometric beauty will protect us from the phantoms that still stir in the historic back room of national quarrels and identity wrestlings. May The city is not a tree. This was the title of the article in which Christopher Alexander explained that urban design cannot come about in a simple process of successive decisions that fork out like branches.

The city is a semi-lattice, he said, and this mathematical term meant that urban form stems from a tangled fabric of choices and chances. Such rejection of the tree pattern was a critique on the technocratic mechanistic order, as well as a defense of the complexity of urban organisms, so the negation of the computer tree paradoxically constituted an affirmation of the biological tree: in its thermodynamic and metabolic dimension, the city is a tree, its growth processes have both the vigor and the fragility of the living thing, and its contrived alterations through pruning and grafting have to be done with a gardener's knowledge and caution.

Faced with the colossal mutation and metastasis of the metropolis, we cling to those slow, vegetal certainties in the same way that we grab hold of the paled memories of childhood, and we rise up in rebellion when the scalpel of the planner approaches the luxuriant, shady heart of the city. When Alexander wrote, the modern certainties had already begun to fade, and the following year they got a definitive slap in the face with the appearance of the mythical books of Aldo Rossi and Robert Venturi, which opened the doors to postmodernity.

This revision centered on recuperating the symbolic monumentality advocated by the historian Sigfried Giedion and on returning to the human scale preached by the critic Lewis Mumford. These were the wickers with which urban design was woven in Harvard in the 50s, a new discipline presented in society in through a famous encounter — remembered half a century later with a monographic issue of Harvard Design Magazine — that Sert, as dean, organized with the purpose of contributing to the revitalization of American urban centers, then physically gutted by transport infrastructures and socially devastated by the exodus of the middle class to residential suburbs.

A participant of that meeting was an architect's wife who was a writer and editor at Architectural Forum but otherwise lacking in college education, who in time became very famous for her successful confrontation with the all-powerful Robert Moses, chief urban planner of New York, on the issue of the Lower Manhattan Expressway, an overpass that would have destroyed her chosen neighborhood, Greenwich Village. The Death and Life of Great American Cities was at once a denunciation of insensitive urban planners and their political patrons, a salute to community participation as an instrument of societal defense against urban outrages, and a preamble to subsequent texts of hers about urban economy from an ethical and organic angle.

A year later Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, and since then, movements for the protection of nature have been in tune with this abrasive activist's efforts to protect the diverse and complex vitality of urban ecology. The protest sparked one of the most impassioned and bitter urban controversies of the recent past.

The entire spectrum of the media was mobilized, crowds demonstrated in support of the baroness, and the mayor of Madrid withdrew provisionally, delaying decision-making on the project by six months. But the fact is that both the public echo sparked by the baroness's voice of alarm and the denigrating treatment given her remind one of the writer's thorny campaigns in defense of the existing city against the dreams or nightmares of the modern urban planners.

It is not easy to accept a woman without technical credentials daring to challenge so many influential men, bringing together a political mosaic that includes members of the conservative party as well as ecologists or socialists, and galvanizing public opinion against a project endorsed by the refined wisdom of the Porto master, legitimized by a troop of professors, and moved by a well-intentioned determination to reduce vehicular traffic and create a garden where there is now a street.

But the solution adopted so radically distorts the city's lazy lines, and so substantially alters current traffic patterns and distribution of tree clusters that it threatens to turn possible advantages into certain damages, and questions the Hippocratic maxim that architects are always supposed to abide by when doing surgery on the city: primum non nocere. Could our admiration today for Moses, Mumford or Jacobs have been possible when they were fighting one another in the urban trenches?

Or must we wait for the cooling of passions that only time and distance can give? On the Paseo del Prado, a lost and found grove awaits the verdict of public opinion: if the city is a tree, let it be proven there. There is no ecology without economy. Beyond the etymological relationship, which places both sciences on common grounds, transfering its logos and its nomos to the shared oikos of our residence on earth, the green science is inconceivable without the melancholy science. But environmental issues are often addressed skipping through the rough territory of financial issues, ignoring or underrating the fact that most of the decisions which shape the world are taken within that frame.

At least for this reason, the advocates of sustainable architecture and urbanism should always keep in mind the motto that the political strategist James Carville used in Clinton 's campaign during the elections, and that has become a catchphrase in the American debate. Architects talk about sustainability these days not because they have embraced the green creed, but because oil is expensive. This subordination of ideas to facts is not a reprehensible case of opportunism, but a legitimate mechanism of adaptation to a changing world, necessary to ensure the evolutionary survival of social groups and their members.

The Marxian verification that conscience follows experience, rather than the other way around, is undoubtedly a criticism of philosophical idealism, an expression of the self-interested nature of knowledge, and a condemnation of the phantasmagoric and intoxicating character of ideology, but also a timely description of adaptative learning. The current fervor for ecological architecture faithfully reproduces that of the seventies, though with some significant variations. As then, it is triggered by the oil shocks that in and shattered the energy bases of the economy; but unlike what happened in that decade, contemporary green conscience arises — for now — within a context of economic growth and real-estate boom, where the cold war has been replaced by the conflict with a Muslim world lavish in oil and gas reserves, and in a planet that witnesses the emergence of giants such as China or India with colossal demands for energy, while its price does not prevent the buildup of greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

Within this geopolitical context one can of course argue that buildings and cities are responsible for the greater part of energy consumption, because if we add the cost of air conditioning, lighting and transportation to the energy costs of construction — be it of buildings or urban or territorial infrastructures —, any estimation method shall produce a result of over 50 percent.

However, to presume because of this that architects are the inevitable protagonists of the energy dilemmas sparked by the current crisis in its double dimension of shortage and climatic impact is a mirage. The decisions that are going to shape our future will be taken in the field of macroeconomics, against the backdrop of the peaceful or military struggles between states for energy, raw materials and water, and in the absence — at short or mid-term — of a global governance that may settle conflicts or safeguard the system's balance. In this scenario of partially self-regulated instability it is easy to forecast changes in the demographic flows and the forms of occupation of the territory spurred by political or economic mutations, but it would be foolish to speculate on their magnitude and their direction, being part of a panorama of technical and climatic uncertainty.

If compared to the resistant and alternative ingenuity of the solar houses of the seventies, with their post-hippy worship of craftwork, their preindustrial defense of autonomous utopia, and their luddite fascination for everything primitive, the contemporary crop of built sustainability has the inequivocal taste of intricate prosperity, normative bureaucracy and symbolic simulacrum: Robinson Crusoe has been replaced by a technocrat. Sustainable construction is today a roaring field, which has its own fairs and congresses, its own magazines and its own prizes, a field nurtured by the demanding regulations and generous subsidies of governments, and a field that tries to make up for its aesthetic handicaps with rankings, homologations and green tags whose ethical aura can give social legitimacy and public exposure to the authors and the works.

Reinforced by the presence of corporate firms whose green credentials are an extension of their technological sophistication, and by offices that place their work within a more social perspective, this field is today a meeting point between professional bureaucracies and emerging explorations, but still not a disciplinary territory marked by certainties and conventions. And also a revealing symptom of the power of the economic context in which buildings are produced is the fact that The New York Times headquarters on the same site, with Piano as architect and a commitment to environmental responsibility, had to give up the LEED certification when faced with the financial costs of building in the heart of Manhattan.

Economy, along with politics, imposes its iron law upon technical and social choices, setting guidelines with its trends and marking individual and collective life with its cycles. Those of us who graduated in the summer of entered the professional field coinciding with the Arab-Israeli war of that fall, which triggered the first oil crisis, and our initial critical and architectural skirmishes where inevitably conditioned by the climate of concern for energy and the economic standstill caused by the rise of fuel prices; a material and ideological context that would be reinforced in with the Iranian revolution and the second oil crisis, but that would gradually weaken in the following years to later fade away entirely in the second half of the eighties, with the drop in barrel price and the acceleration of economic growth.

This situation has been maintained since, with no further frights than that produced in by the ephemeral invasion of Kuwait by Iraq , with the oil reaching in prices lower than those of In the last seven years, however, the barrel price has increased sevenfold.

With more optimism of the will than pessimism of the mind, the green agenda is presented as a renewed secular ethic, but often becomes rather an instrument of political correction in the public relations of governments, institutions or companies. Oblivious to the political or economic context of environmental decisions or perhaps meekly resigned to impotence when faced with the titanic forces that shape our world, the green tag ends up becoming an alibi that endows with the patina of good intentions architecture and urbanism, two activities that cannot be easily separated from the violence they exert over nature.

Construction always uses non-renewable resources and increases the world's entropy. Architects have a faustic pact with excess, so they only surrender to the green syndrome when economy enters recession, and then become advocates of zero growth, austerity and renovation, to later return to messianism and big dreams as soon as consumer confidence recovers. During the present period of transit, with expensive fuels and a booming economy, sustainable architecture is no more than a cocktail of trivial technology that combines thermal sensors, heat pumps and solar panels with old-time recipes on natural lighting and ventilation, orientation and solar protection or thermal insulation and inertia.

But if bad comes to worse, all this sweet fantasy will give way to the real dilemma: to build or not to build? Because in the end the only ecological architecture is that which is never built, and the only green architect is the one who refuses to increase the planet's entropy.

Meanwhile, us architects have a transparent rather than vested interest in economic growth and in the boom of construction and public works. April Photographs: Cordon Press; Marc Ritchie. Marbella has undergone an exorcism. With the dissolution of the City Council and the imprisonment of those responsible, political and judicial Spain tries to drive away the all too familiar demons of speculation and corruption, expel the evil spirits of the healthy body of a young democracy. But Marbella is really the extreme case of a common disease: the penal pathology may reach its worst there, but the symptoms are everywhere.

As much the coasts as the edges of cities, and even rural areas that up to now have been intact, are suffering a historic mutation driven by the economic boom and the new demands that come with it. Because of the pain we feel at the thought of the accelerated disappearance of natural landscapes, we tend to describe this process of colonization in medical terms like infection or metastasis. But this impetuous growth can also be interpreted as a result of the vitality of a prosperous and hedonist society that multiplies its needs and desires with impulsive impatience.

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The territory is always a physical picture of the culture that has molded it and, whether we like it or not, Spain's new landscapes accurately reflect what we are today: well-off, smug and vulgar. The suicide cells of September 11 were under the command of Mohamed Atta, who had gone to the Arab world's oldest architecture school, in Cairo as had Hassan Fathy, Egypt's leading architect, an advocate of neo-vernacular construction at the service of the poor, against western modernity , and gone on to earn a degree in urban planning from Hamburg's TUHH — a young polytechnic university whose dean of urban planning, Dittmar Machule, a defender of traditional schemes, had taken part in refurbishing the ancient Syrian city of Aleppo — with a thesis on the conflict between Islamic town planning and modernity.

This makes one wonder if the objective of the terrorist attack may have been not only political, but also architectural. A similar conclusion can be extracted from Eyal Weizman's analysis of the politician Ariel Sharon as an architect, when the writer explores the geometry of the occupation of the West Bank from the viewpoint of the intersection of power, security, and urbanism, showing to what extent military strategy, the geopolitics of protection, and the architecture of territories are inseparable. Five years after , the catastrophic clash of the skyscraper and the airplane has rendered high-rise construction more costly, and commercial aviation more troublesome.

But the expansive wave of the event has done more harm on the ground than on the sky, and the chain of Islamist bombs that has opened cracks of panic from Madrid to Bali has shaken the architecture of globalization less than the discredit that a bellicose empire has brought upon itself.

This empire has proven itself as impotent in guaranteeing security and establishing democracy in Muslim countries as it has shown itself incapable of filling the tragic void of Ground Zero — bogged down as it is in a marasmus that is more real estate-related than civic — with an architectural sign of confidence and hope. On the other side of the Atlantic, London was able to replace the Baltic Exchange, a building destroyed by the IRA, with a light and luminous tower, designed and built by Norman Foster for the insurance firm Swiss Re, that soars above the skyline of the City like a peaceful projectile: if the West wants to propose an icon of encounter and healing for the trauma of horror, this at once swift and blunt skyscraper would be a good candidate indeed.

But maybe T. Eliot was right, and the world ends not with a bang but a whimper: not with an explosion, but with a moan. July Early in June, Valencia had a bout of agony and ecstasy. Photograph: David Chipperfield Architects. Valencia lived a summer of ups and downs: from the winds on the sails to the victims in the trains, and from there to the visit from the Vatican.

In a matter of days it moved from the euphoria of nautical triumphs to the sense of total defeat caused by the railway ordeal, to then seek volatile consolation in the pastoral voice of a philosophical pope. In the first weekend of July, twelve boats from five continents took part in the world's oldest competition, for which Valencia had won the bid to be a venue against nearly a hundred other candidate cities.

Its over forty deaths switched the city's mood into one of mourning, and not even the mass fervor of the pope's visit the following weekend managed to dissipate the grief of so many desolate families. From to her death in , the French mystic writer Simone Weil wrote a diary that was published posthumously, in fragments, under the title Gravity and Grace: two words that expressed the opposition of the heaviness of the world and the lightness of the spirit, but which also perfectly sum up the contrast between the solemnity of death that strikes as collective tragedy and the frivolity of the media event, be it sport-related or religious, that congregates masses around a spectacle or a message.

Valencia shifted its attention from the immaterial hustle and bustle of breezes and boats viewed from a lookout, to the somber drama of human catastrophe in an underground labyrinth, closing the circle with the ephemeral architectures and winged words of a pious crowd that chose the aerial forms of Santiago Calatrava for backdrop.

Gravity and grace are terms that express the changing mood of the city as much as they suit the contradictory nature of the America 's Cup building whose launching party started this week of passions. The building is formed by four large platforms that rise with sculptural confidence at the end of the dock, extended along the new canal with a parking lot for vehicles and a garden walk that links this landmark to the seafront and the Malvarrosa beach. Here, the gravitas of Chipperfield's work dissolves in the Mediterranean light of the huge cantilevers, clad in a white-enameled steel that makes them look weightless — an impression reinforced by the transparency of the building's main volume and the almost imperceptible glass parapet of its perimeter.

The spacious shaded terraces — the two lower levels for public use, the two upper ones reserved for guests of the organization — are of course the essence of the project.

Christopher Walken

It is there that the main activities of the building happen: receiving visitors and watching regattas by day, parties of sponsors and gatherings of crews by night. Each of the twelve teams participating in the event has its own base in the port — provisional structures several floors high containing workshops, gyms, dining rooms, offices, shops, and reception areas for guests and the press, outstanding among which is the one Renzo Piano built for Luna Rossa, the Italian ship sponsored by the firm Prada, with its intelligent cladding of recycled sails and a large boutique on the top floor that one gets to by escalator.

But only the Foredeck brings everyone together on neutral ground, and it does so with an ease and elegance that makes it hard to imagine any other project on the spot. The deadlines for design and execution were so tight due to the delays caused by the change of government in Madrid and the attendant political contest for the control of the event that the work has small imperfections in the details and finishes that mortify Chipperfield.

This attitude is typical of an architect who is stubborn and demanding when it comes to the material quality of his buildings, and who is obsessively self-critical about his work in general.

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Nevertheless, Valencia's Foredeck is proof, precisely, of the force of architectural ideas, the resilience of concept against haste or misunderstandings, because the initial proposal of the slabs in levitation, with terraces in shade and luminous edges that define an abstract geometric sculpture, so persuasively reconciles the functional needs of the lookout with the sculptural needs of the landmark that no small defect or error can damage the result. Peter's successor delivered his message of consolation. The Fisherman's next visit, by boat, and his next homily, from the sea.

June The contrast between the Allianz Arena of Munich and the Olympic Stadium of Berlin illustrates the dilemmas that afflict a country forced to confront contemporary realities with ghosts of the past, but also the tensions that weigh upon a world at once united by spectacle and fragmented by memory. Photograph: Duccio Malagamba. In Munich , spectacle without memory; in Berlin , memory without spectacle. The two main venues of the World Cup of Germany, where the championship opens and closes, are architectures so opposed one would think them deliberately orchestrated to reveal the two faces of the host country.

While the Allianz Arena is light, colorful, and suburban, posed on the landscape like a festive airship, the Olympic Stadium is heavy, grayish and urban, its monumental porticoes rising over a solemn esplanade. Whereas the Munich facility is a new building, clad with the innovative technology of inflatable pillows of ETFE ethyltetrafluoretylene that change color with lighting like a discotheque dance floor, the Berlin work is the remodeling of a historic stadium, one that adds a canopy over the grandstands but otherwise maintains the archaic gravitas of limestone and the axial severity of elemental geometries.

This architectural Jano is of course a portrait of Germany although the two faces may represent the reverse of what they initially seem to , and at the same time offers a built oxymoron that symbolizes the schizophrenic contemporary tension between globalization and identity, spectacle and memory. At first glance, the cushioned, polychromatic globe in Munich is a futuristic, hyper-technological construction that ought to incarnate the optimistic spirit of Angela Merkel's new Germany.

However, the impeccable geometrical logic, the exact functional definition and the lightweight insertion in nature make this colorful, pneumatic stadium a masterwork of canonic modernity, and its spectral immateriality the best vaccine against the ghostly viruses of an ominous past. The stone peristyle of Berlin , for its part, barely altered by the new canopy, would seem to express the classicist sensibility of old Germany.


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  • But its subjection to the rhetorical monumentality of Hitler's architecture, sacrificing functionality to the ceremonial axis that fractures the grandstands and the roof, makes its historicist traditionalism an anti-classical statement, one which otherwise refrains from questioning the theatrical urbanism of the Nazi period. This is perhaps the most contemporary attitude in a country that has replaced the embarrassment of guilt with a distracted acceptance, and which after the fall of the Berlin wall has occupied old Nazi buildings — from the headquarters of the Luftwaffe, now turned into the Finance Ministry, or the old Reichsbank, now housing Foreign Affairs — without the scruples or feelings of reticence that formerly plagued Germans when faced with the phantoms of their past.

    Only by considering this can we understand the naturalness with which they have remodeled the venue of the Olympics, the very place where Leni Riefenstahl filmed Olympia — the propaganda documentary that best presented Nazi ideals and aesthetics — and where Albert Speer put up the same cathedrals of light that had graced the Nuremberg party congress of The dramatic dilemmas of Germany are also in a way those of Europe , and indeed of all nations afflicted by the antithetical impulses of amnesic adaptation to global homogeneity on one hand, and memory-driven defense of historic uniqueness on the other.

    This icon lights up like a cushioned beacon, rising in the landscape of highways like a magical abstract landmark that arouses emotional identities and aesthetic emotions in a single stroke. In Berlin, a Hamburg firm with a more technological, corporate profile — which already had stadiums in other German cities in its track record — has remodeled a Nazi emblem without altering its urban presence, limiting its intervention to covering the tiers and introducing elements of a modern sport venue, from comfortable seats to press rooms and VIP boxes, homogenizing its program amenities while limiting symbolic regeneration to informative signs in perimetral porticoes and an interpretation center in the Langemarckhalle, a building shaped like an Egyptian temple located next to the stadium where the Nazis paid tribute to heroes fallen in battlefields.

    Paradoxically it is the more generic project, the one carried out in the more anonymous environment, the one that is ultimately more unique in form and has greater attraction for our society of spectacle. All this while the confrontation with an urban piece overwhelmed by the weight of history ends up in a lethargic trivialization and a docile subjection to memory that harms both its functional quality and its emblematic appeal. For a whole month we were glued to the television screens for these sport battles that for the Nazis were a preparation for war, and which for us are a ritualized combat that replaces military conflict with symbolic warfare.

    After all, maybe it is true that spectacle unites us and memory separates us. If this is so, then maybe we should all celebrate the amnesic unanimity of football, and trust that its geometric beauty will protect us from the phantoms that still stir in the historic back room of national quarrels and identity wrestlings. May The city is not a tree. This was the title of the article in which Christopher Alexander explained that urban design cannot come about in a simple process of successive decisions that fork out like branches.

    The city is a semi-lattice, he said, and this mathematical term meant that urban form stems from a tangled fabric of choices and chances. Such rejection of the tree pattern was a critique on the technocratic mechanistic order, as well as a defense of the complexity of urban organisms, so the negation of the computer tree paradoxically constituted an affirmation of the biological tree: in its thermodynamic and metabolic dimension, the city is a tree, its growth processes have both the vigor and the fragility of the living thing, and its contrived alterations through pruning and grafting have to be done with a gardener's knowledge and caution.

    Faced with the colossal mutation and metastasis of the metropolis, we cling to those slow, vegetal certainties in the same way that we grab hold of the paled memories of childhood, and we rise up in rebellion when the scalpel of the planner approaches the luxuriant, shady heart of the city. When Alexander wrote, the modern certainties had already begun to fade, and the following year they got a definitive slap in the face with the appearance of the mythical books of Aldo Rossi and Robert Venturi, which opened the doors to postmodernity.

    This revision centered on recuperating the symbolic monumentality advocated by the historian Sigfried Giedion and on returning to the human scale preached by the critic Lewis Mumford. These were the wickers with which urban design was woven in Harvard in the 50s, a new discipline presented in society in through a famous encounter — remembered half a century later with a monographic issue of Harvard Design Magazine — that Sert, as dean, organized with the purpose of contributing to the revitalization of American urban centers, then physically gutted by transport infrastructures and socially devastated by the exodus of the middle class to residential suburbs.

    A participant of that meeting was an architect's wife who was a writer and editor at Architectural Forum but otherwise lacking in college education, who in time became very famous for her successful confrontation with the all-powerful Robert Moses, chief urban planner of New York, on the issue of the Lower Manhattan Expressway, an overpass that would have destroyed her chosen neighborhood, Greenwich Village.

    The Death and Life of Great American Cities was at once a denunciation of insensitive urban planners and their political patrons, a salute to community participation as an instrument of societal defense against urban outrages, and a preamble to subsequent texts of hers about urban economy from an ethical and organic angle.

    A year later Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, and since then, movements for the protection of nature have been in tune with this abrasive activist's efforts to protect the diverse and complex vitality of urban ecology. The protest sparked one of the most impassioned and bitter urban controversies of the recent past. The entire spectrum of the media was mobilized, crowds demonstrated in support of the baroness, and the mayor of Madrid withdrew provisionally, delaying decision-making on the project by six months.


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    • But the fact is that both the public echo sparked by the baroness's voice of alarm and the denigrating treatment given her remind one of the writer's thorny campaigns in defense of the existing city against the dreams or nightmares of the modern urban planners. It is not easy to accept a woman without technical credentials daring to challenge so many influential men, bringing together a political mosaic that includes members of the conservative party as well as ecologists or socialists, and galvanizing public opinion against a project endorsed by the refined wisdom of the Porto master, legitimized by a troop of professors, and moved by a well-intentioned determination to reduce vehicular traffic and create a garden where there is now a street.

      But the solution adopted so radically distorts the city's lazy lines, and so substantially alters current traffic patterns and distribution of tree clusters that it threatens to turn possible advantages into certain damages, and questions the Hippocratic maxim that architects are always supposed to abide by when doing surgery on the city: primum non nocere. Could our admiration today for Moses, Mumford or Jacobs have been possible when they were fighting one another in the urban trenches? Or must we wait for the cooling of passions that only time and distance can give? On the Paseo del Prado, a lost and found grove awaits the verdict of public opinion: if the city is a tree, let it be proven there.

      There is no ecology without economy. Beyond the etymological relationship, which places both sciences on common grounds, transfering its logos and its nomos to the shared oikos of our residence on earth, the green science is inconceivable without the melancholy science. But environmental issues are often addressed skipping through the rough territory of financial issues, ignoring or underrating the fact that most of the decisions which shape the world are taken within that frame.

      At least for this reason, the advocates of sustainable architecture and urbanism should always keep in mind the motto that the political strategist James Carville used in Clinton 's campaign during the elections, and that has become a catchphrase in the American debate. Architects talk about sustainability these days not because they have embraced the green creed, but because oil is expensive. This subordination of ideas to facts is not a reprehensible case of opportunism, but a legitimate mechanism of adaptation to a changing world, necessary to ensure the evolutionary survival of social groups and their members.

      The Marxian verification that conscience follows experience, rather than the other way around, is undoubtedly a criticism of philosophical idealism, an expression of the self-interested nature of knowledge, and a condemnation of the phantasmagoric and intoxicating character of ideology, but also a timely description of adaptative learning.

      The current fervor for ecological architecture faithfully reproduces that of the seventies, though with some significant variations. As then, it is triggered by the oil shocks that in and shattered the energy bases of the economy; but unlike what happened in that decade, contemporary green conscience arises — for now — within a context of economic growth and real-estate boom, where the cold war has been replaced by the conflict with a Muslim world lavish in oil and gas reserves, and in a planet that witnesses the emergence of giants such as China or India with colossal demands for energy, while its price does not prevent the buildup of greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

      Within this geopolitical context one can of course argue that buildings and cities are responsible for the greater part of energy consumption, because if we add the cost of air conditioning, lighting and transportation to the energy costs of construction — be it of buildings or urban or territorial infrastructures —, any estimation method shall produce a result of over 50 percent. However, to presume because of this that architects are the inevitable protagonists of the energy dilemmas sparked by the current crisis in its double dimension of shortage and climatic impact is a mirage.

      The decisions that are going to shape our future will be taken in the field of macroeconomics, against the backdrop of the peaceful or military struggles between states for energy, raw materials and water, and in the absence — at short or mid-term — of a global governance that may settle conflicts or safeguard the system's balance. In this scenario of partially self-regulated instability it is easy to forecast changes in the demographic flows and the forms of occupation of the territory spurred by political or economic mutations, but it would be foolish to speculate on their magnitude and their direction, being part of a panorama of technical and climatic uncertainty.

      If compared to the resistant and alternative ingenuity of the solar houses of the seventies, with their post-hippy worship of craftwork, their preindustrial defense of autonomous utopia, and their luddite fascination for everything primitive, the contemporary crop of built sustainability has the inequivocal taste of intricate prosperity, normative bureaucracy and symbolic simulacrum: Robinson Crusoe has been replaced by a technocrat.

      Sustainable construction is today a roaring field, which has its own fairs and congresses, its own magazines and its own prizes, a field nurtured by the demanding regulations and generous subsidies of governments, and a field that tries to make up for its aesthetic handicaps with rankings, homologations and green tags whose ethical aura can give social legitimacy and public exposure to the authors and the works.

      Reinforced by the presence of corporate firms whose green credentials are an extension of their technological sophistication, and by offices that place their work within a more social perspective, this field is today a meeting point between professional bureaucracies and emerging explorations, but still not a disciplinary territory marked by certainties and conventions. And also a revealing symptom of the power of the economic context in which buildings are produced is the fact that The New York Times headquarters on the same site, with Piano as architect and a commitment to environmental responsibility, had to give up the LEED certification when faced with the financial costs of building in the heart of Manhattan.

      Economy, along with politics, imposes its iron law upon technical and social choices, setting guidelines with its trends and marking individual and collective life with its cycles. Those of us who graduated in the summer of entered the professional field coinciding with the Arab-Israeli war of that fall, which triggered the first oil crisis, and our initial critical and architectural skirmishes where inevitably conditioned by the climate of concern for energy and the economic standstill caused by the rise of fuel prices; a material and ideological context that would be reinforced in with the Iranian revolution and the second oil crisis, but that would gradually weaken in the following years to later fade away entirely in the second half of the eighties, with the drop in barrel price and the acceleration of economic growth.

      This situation has been maintained since, with no further frights than that produced in by the ephemeral invasion of Kuwait by Iraq , with the oil reaching in prices lower than those of In the last seven years, however, the barrel price has increased sevenfold. With more optimism of the will than pessimism of the mind, the green agenda is presented as a renewed secular ethic, but often becomes rather an instrument of political correction in the public relations of governments, institutions or companies.

      Oblivious to the political or economic context of environmental decisions or perhaps meekly resigned to impotence when faced with the titanic forces that shape our world, the green tag ends up becoming an alibi that endows with the patina of good intentions architecture and urbanism, two activities that cannot be easily separated from the violence they exert over nature. Construction always uses non-renewable resources and increases the world's entropy.

      Architects have a faustic pact with excess, so they only surrender to the green syndrome when economy enters recession, and then become advocates of zero growth, austerity and renovation, to later return to messianism and big dreams as soon as consumer confidence recovers. During the present period of transit, with expensive fuels and a booming economy, sustainable architecture is no more than a cocktail of trivial technology that combines thermal sensors, heat pumps and solar panels with old-time recipes on natural lighting and ventilation, orientation and solar protection or thermal insulation and inertia.

      But if bad comes to worse, all this sweet fantasy will give way to the real dilemma: to build or not to build? Because in the end the only ecological architecture is that which is never built, and the only green architect is the one who refuses to increase the planet's entropy. Meanwhile, us architects have a transparent rather than vested interest in economic growth and in the boom of construction and public works. April Photographs: Cordon Press; Marc Ritchie. Marbella has undergone an exorcism. With the dissolution of the City Council and the imprisonment of those responsible, political and judicial Spain tries to drive away the all too familiar demons of speculation and corruption, expel the evil spirits of the healthy body of a young democracy.

      But Marbella is really the extreme case of a common disease: the penal pathology may reach its worst there, but the symptoms are everywhere.

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      As much the coasts as the edges of cities, and even rural areas that up to now have been intact, are suffering a historic mutation driven by the economic boom and the new demands that come with it. Because of the pain we feel at the thought of the accelerated disappearance of natural landscapes, we tend to describe this process of colonization in medical terms like infection or metastasis. But this impetuous growth can also be interpreted as a result of the vitality of a prosperous and hedonist society that multiplies its needs and desires with impulsive impatience.

      The territory is always a physical picture of the culture that has molded it and, whether we like it or not, Spain's new landscapes accurately reflect what we are today: well-off, smug and vulgar. The uncontainable advance of asphalt, just like the real estate bubble itself, is not only a product of corruption or greed. It comes from a social demand for first and second homes that low interest rates and lifelong mortgages have made financially accessible, and that unanimous motorization and the new transport infrastructures have made geographically accessible.

      Everywhere, this spread of cement and brick arouses the same contradictory reaction: on one hand, despair at the destruction of the environment; on the other, frenzied acquisition of seaside apartments or houses in the low-density developments of urban peripheries. To begin with, the low density of this urban environment pushes all activity to the large commercial centers that serve to finance the costs of urbanization, but privatize the collective domain and leave residual public spaces exposed to vandalism. But at the same time, the conventional developments of row houses or low-rise blocks of apartments that form the greater part of the new compounds are uniformly spacious and functional in design, and carried out with a very reasonable degree of material quality.

      They are homogeneous in their lifeless, self-withdrawn triviality, yet solid, well-equipped and luminous. Those of us who write in newspapers are in general too old and too elitist to understand that the indifferent anomy of these new urban landscapes do not make them any less desirable, that their abysmal visual mediocrity does not in any way decrease their market value, and that the absence of collective activity in them is not as important to the home buyer as the quality of window frames or the tiling of floors.

      Urban life has been replaced by suburban life, a way of occupying space and time that also characterizes all the recent developments on the coasts. These new forms of relating to one another and consuming are for many an additional attraction. Never mind if there is no street life; there will be life in a commercial center, around a community swimming pool, or in a backyard barbecue party.

      Millions of Spaniards have with their mortgages voted for the faded suburbanity of the peripheries and for the massive vacational colonization of the coastline. Both are expressions of economic prosperity, but also of a political democracy that gives governing capacity to municipalities that are powerless in the face of the colossal forces that shape the territory. They may be routinely greedy and occasionally corrupt, but these forces feed on the freedom to choose of real estate buyers, and the landscapes they have shaped faithfully portray the Spanish society of democracy.

      The carballeira , a spot in the woods presided by a monumental granite table where neighbors come together for communal celebrations, is a space of archaic poetry that evokes the popular fiesta and the sacred mystery, but also speaks of the frozen time of the village and the stifling rigidity of superstition and habit. The isles of the estuary, the location of an old lazar house and jail, stand out for their melancholic nature and the romantic splendor of their essential constructions, but in this lost world of ashlars and lichens that the architect barely touches with accents of glass, beats an ominous past of illness, punishment and isolation.

      In contrast with the trivial, ostentatious landscapes of Marbella , the aching beauty of these faded places beckons to us with the magnetic force of the abyss of time. But if we look straight and without the moist veil of aesthetic emotion, we will realize that the new landscapes of narcissist prosperity portray us more accurately than those exact traces of the past, which are preserved only like insects in amber. Hypocritical reader, Marbella is all of us. The Bank of Spain has wrapped up its monumental headquarters at the Plaza de Cibeles by closing up the square with a corner built by Rafael Moneo: a project that so respects the language of the original building that it will go unnoticed by nearly everyone, an admirable exercise in subordination to context.

      Coinciding with its th year of existence, the institution holds an exhibition presenting the enlargement project and the entries to the competition that gave rise to it. It is harder to go unnoticed than to attract attention. And at the Plaza de Cibeles, at the symbolic heart of the Spanish capital, little less than impossible. So faithfully does the addition take up the lines of the preexisting construction, that the distracted gaze will simply assume it was always there. Naturally, the essential lesson of this small work of Moneo is that one need not use the language of our times to expand a historic building.

      Heroic modernity established this lesson beyond doubt. To question this dogma of the 20 th -century avant-gardes is to scandalize the defenders of modern orthodoxy, who will probably raise their fists in several directions. For a start, they will point out that the project came about through a competition held back in , and that it therefore goes by the postmodern revisions then in vogue — subsequently discredited — instead of addressing contemporary concerns. Finally, they will stress that the extension rises on so small a piece of the city block taken up by the Bank of Spain that it cannot possibly aspire to offer a modern counterpoint, that it can do no more than complete the preexisting through imitation.

      But none of this is entirely true. The competition is indeed remote in time. Suffice it to remember that the central bank has seen four governors since.



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