For the opening in Madrid of the headquarters of Arquia, at Tutor 16, sixteen architects of different generations, Spaniards and foreigners alike, were called upon to reflect on the current situation of the discipline. Each one of them submitted a synthetic text in the form of a letter, and the missives were read aloud in two sessions to stimulate debate between speakers and the public. The first part of this collective stocktaking of the profession took place on 30 November 2022. The figures gathered then were Rafael Moneo, Juan Navarro Baldeweg, Antonio Ortiz, Jacques Herzog, Eduardo Souto de Moura, Carme Pinós, Fuensanta Nieto, and Emilio Tuñón, architects born before 1960, and their epistles appeared in Arquitectura Viva 250. The second was held on 5 October 2023, and on this occasion the participants were Benedetta Tagliabue, Farshid Moussavi, Andrés Jaque, Roger Tudó, Bjarke Ingels, Izaskun Chinchilla, José María Sánchez, and María Langarita, all born after 1960.
The guiding thread for the two-part forum drew from the name of the street, Tutor, which refers to Agustín Argüelles, the lawyer, politician, and diplomat who tutored Queen Isabella II and lived in London as protegé of Lord Holland, an aristocrat whose children had in turn been tutored by a contemporary of Argüelles, the writer José María Blanco White, who in 1822 published his Letters from Spain. Two centuries later, these ‘Letters from Madrid’ pay tribute to two liberal minds whose lot it was to experience exile, and reformulate the question that, also two hundred years ago, Heinrich Hübsch raised in an essential work, In welchem Style sollen wir bauen?
Pondering now on what architecture to promote, we present the eight essays through which the participants of the second session composed their answers.