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Alexandrine Years



Invalidating the idea that the times we are living are unconducive to criticism, and heralding the discipline’s future, Luis Fernández-Galiano has published Alexandrine Years. The two-volume bilingual book compiles a good part of the weekly pages that the architect and writer prepared for the newspaper El País from 1993 to 2006, and whose titles – ‘The Age of Spectacle’ and ‘Time of Uncertainty’ – refer to the splendor and convulsion experienced by architecture and society during the last seven years of the 20th century and the seven first of the 21st.

The unique character of the interests of Fernández-Galiano – whose sensitivity and language have brought architecture to general audiences for years – were highlighted by Norman Foster at the book launch held on 19 February at Ivorypress. The author and Foster were accompanied up front by another Pritzker laureate, Rafael Moneo, who made a thorough presentation of what the articles meant for the architects of those ‘Alexandrine years,’ and praised the author’s sharpness as a witness of his times, as well as his masterful writing.

The author in turn chose to focus on the architectural order that composes the tomes, from the modulation of contents to the geometric mesh that organizes each page, associating the texts with the images, greater in number here than in the original newspaper layout. All these elements suggest the idea, mentioned by Foster, that the book is a “musical score.” As for the enigmatic title, Fernández-Galiano explained it both from the angle of Alexandrine verse meter and from that of the crepuscular nature of our time, which evokes for him the Hellenistic period.

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