A Box is a Box is a Box

Luis Fernández-Galiano   /  Source:  El País
31/12/1999


Here come the boxes. After the formal feast of the eighties, architects rubbed ash on their foreheads and pencils. Now, with the following decade more than halfway through, the effects of such penitential discipline begin to be felt in a geometric flowering of essential boxed that has its most radical base in German Switzerland. Plain and exquisite, these minimalist manifestos are medicinal. Yet their rough hermetism and extreme abstraction risk making them unfathomable to the public at large.

Modern orthodoxy advocated simplicity, efficiency and laconism. Born of difficult interwar experiences and globally accepted by the fifties, modern architecture soon encountered opposition on account of its frugality. The revisions of the sixties led to the populistic and contextual efforts of the seventies, and these in turn to the insufferably confusing din of the eighties. After the intoxication of postmodern historicist references, and the cruel nightmare of sharp-pointed deconstructivism, a hangover of sobriety and abstraction seemed inevitable. Cold-skinned boxed represent this cautions and curative alternative. The geometric reductionism of boxes emerges as a Protestant reaction to the Catholic loquacity of figurative postmodernism, which swept cities with a cheap scenography of columns, arches and pediments...[+][+]


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