House and Studio of Konstantin Melnikov, 1929, Moscow
Can architecture be abstract?
Alberto Campo Baeza
I don´t like the word ABSTRACT. I prefer the word ESSENTIAL. I think Livio tried to make an essential architecture, better than an abstract architecture. As I try.
I am sending a text, in praise of Livio, about Essential Architecture.
When the Russian architect Konstantin Melnikov decided to build his own house, a fascinating white cylinder in Moscow, he wrote these strong words “As I had become my own boss, I begged Architecture to finally take off her marble dress, to wash the makeup off her face, to show herself as she is NAKED, like a young and graceful goddess. And as befits a true beauty, to renounce being agreeable and obliging” (Konstantin Melnikov. “Na Shchet doma”.1953. Melnikov archives).
SIMPLE is ESSENTIAL it is not ABSTRACT
SIMPLE is LOGICAL it is not CAPRICIOUS
SIMPLE is RATIONAL it is not RATIONALIST
“Clarity is the philosopher’s courtesy”, Ortega y Gasset.
SIMPLE is CLEAR it is not COMPLICATED
SIMPLE is PURE it is not COLD
SIMPLE is DELICATE it is not WEAK
“Je pense l’Architecture, donc je suis un architecte” ,R. DESCARTES + ACB
(I think Architecture, therefore I am an architect)
SIMPLE is TRUE it is not FALSE
SIMPLE is HONEST it is not DECEITFUL
SIMPLE is POETIC it is not PROSAIC
I have been trying for many years to create an Architecture that is essential, logical, rational, clear, pure, delicate, true, honest and poetic. I reject the Architecture that is abstract, minimalist, capricious, rationalist, complicated, cold, weak, false, deceitful and prosaic.
“One is tired of seeing those who pursue the Beauty, Goodness and Truth of things with additional ornaments, knowing that the secret does not lie there. My unforgettable friend J.A. Coderch said that if we assume the ultimate beauty as a wonderful bald head (for instance Nefertiti), then we must have hair by hair ripped out, with the pain of every single tear, one by one. We must painfully pull the hairs out from our works, the ones that prevent us from attaining their simple, simple end”.
This desire of Alejandro de la Sota could be a clear expression of that pursued simple simplicity.
Born in Valladolid, where his grandfather was an architect, but from the age of two, he lived in Cádiz where he saw the Light. He is a Professor in the Madrid School of Architecture, ETSAM, where he has been a tenured Professor for more than 35 years. His works have been widely recognized. From the Houses Turégano and de Blas, both in Madrid, to Gaspar House, Asencio House or Guerrero House in Cádiz, Rufo House in Toledo and Moliner House in Zaragoza. And the Olnick Spanu House in Garrison, New York, the House of the Infinite in Cádiz, and the Raumplan House in Madrid. Or the BIT Center in Inca-Mallorca, the public space Between Cathedrals, in Cádiz, the Caja de Granada Savings Bank and the MA, the Museum of Memory of Andalucía, both in Granada. And a nursery for Benetton in Venice, or the Offices in Zamora for the Regional Government of Castilla y León.