One night more than fifteen years ago (we were both still active), I had a bad dream: I had to write an obituary for Andrés Perea and was pressed for time. The stress eventually woke me up and I was much relieved. Arriving at School, the first person I came across was Andrés himself. I told him about the nightmare and confessed that the ensuing sense of relief was more out of not having to write an obit than due to his being alive and well. Taking the hit, instead of striking back with an offer to write mine, he urged me to fulfill the assignment when the time came.
What follows may seem unusual for a eulogy, but I know that Andrés would not have put up with hypocritical schmaltz on what great friends we were or boundless praise for his work as a teacher and architect, so I have tried not to fall afoul of his trust.
We were the same age and were schoolmates, if not classmates, and pursued similar career paths. We coincided constantly for all kinds of reasons, and were sometimes (rarely) of the same mind
I especially remember the time the two of us sat – he as treasurer, I as secretary – on the Board of Governors of the Institute of Architects in the mid-1970s, in difficult cohabitation with Javier Carvajal as dean until his replacement by Antonio Vázquez de Castro (endorsed by Perea, the one who knew him best at the time).
All of us are more or less slaves of the person we have made of ourselves, and depending on our capacity for self-criticism, we more or less believe in our creation. But Andrés gave the impression of absolute belief in his person, which inhabited a world that was black and white, with no tinge of gray.
He had no opinions but irrefutable certitudes, and no students but disciples, whom he fiercely defended in examination boards and competition juries. Extraordinary faith in himself led him to propose his actual oeuvre as theme for a doctoral thesis, and when the proposal was rejected (with unnecessary cruelty), he resolved not to seek further ascent on the academic ladder, and kept his word, remaining an associate professor until retirement.
He leaves an exceptionally vast and varied body of works, among which I especially admire two because of what they say of his undeniable capacity to feel architecture, beyond what one might expect from such a personality: the Hospital of Maudes, with its scrupulous respect for Antonio Palacios; and the Galician City of Culture in Santiago de Compostela, where he carried out to the very end the suicidal task of making Eisenman’s drawings buildable, with a fidelity rather in excess of what they deserved. Sorry for not elaborating more on his work, but his death leaves me with a void. Had I had another bad dream, this time I would have delivered on time.