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Farewell to Rafael Iglesia

From the Margins

Ana María Rigotti 

The amazing and much awarded Rafael Iglesia, born in Rosario, Argentina, has left us at the age of 63. Brilliant and incisive, profound and ironic, prone to take risks, he maintained his sharp and sly gaze up to the very end, even through a heartrending fight for continued life. It is easy to enumerate the numerous honors he received in the course of his career. They include second prize in the Mies van der Rohe Award for Latin American Architecture (2000), a mention in the 12th Biennial of Architecture (Santiago, Chile, 2002) for his House on a Cliff; an award at the 4th Iberian-American Biennial (Lima, 2004) for his Amusement Park, the selection of his exemplary Altamira as one of the world’s nine most influential apartment buildings (Vienna, 2009), and, shortly before he died, an honorary doctorate degree (Asunción, 2015). But it’s less easy to put on record the fine artisanship of his words and his inventions. Working from provocation, he built as if the only starting point were a zero or a defiant concept of Deleuze or Derrida. Iglesia was a nomade, an architect with no career, no paths, no rules of art, no restraints, only the temporary limits that his existential questioning imposed. We bid goodbye, hence, to a most worthy representative of that generation which managed to address Latin America beyond the usual dichotomies between native and imported, unselfconsciously embodying the productivity of the telluric, the tactile, and the tectonic imagined by Frampton to resist the banality of the cultural industry from the edges.?

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