An Eclectic Panorama

Chronicle of Transition

David Cohn 

Spanish architecture is in a state of transition. No strong trends dominate the current moment. Movements such as Swiss minimalism and the Dutch post-pop avant garde have had their day. What more can they offer us? The argument for post-functional subjectivity and the dematerializing influence of digital media have been thoroughly absorbed. And as for the heralded new generation, most of its members are caught up in a correct professionalism, while the best of its more radical set have moved on from overwrought theorizing and graphics to the hard and sobering language of building, a transition in which the polemical thrust of their previous positions has been diluted and even overtaken, leaving them in a new and potentially promising territory of action that is as yet tantalizingly difficult to classify – a prime case in point is Eduardo Arroyo’s splendid Football Stadium in Baracaldo. The general situation has returned to what the critic can only describe, in defeat, as “an eclectic panorama,” echoing Ignasi de Solà-Morales’ 1986 survey for New York’s Urban League. But under the surface of this placid confusion, tectonic plates are shifting, building up tension, preparing for a cataclysm. Or are they? Are we at a decisive moment of change and renewal? The potential for such a shift is in the air, indeed, it may already be underway. It only remains to be seen if a group can emerge with the sufficient courage, vision, talent and authority to have a decisive impact on the course of events... [+]

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