Geological Architecture in the Global Age

Barry Bergdoll 

Like the dramatic landscapes of the Canary Islands, Fernando Menis’s buildings – many a long time in gestation from commission to final completion – seem to have been conceived in an eruption of creative energy and then honed over time by forces that subtly shape design and materials alike. In the poetry of its primordial forms Menis’s architectural vocabulary has evolved over more than thirty years in dialogue with the volcanic landscape of his native Tenerife. Dominated by the third largest volcano in Europe but almost everywhere commanding views to the vast open expanses of the Atlantic Ocean, Tenerife is the very crucible out of which Menis has crafted what might be called a modern geological architecture. His buildings, his parks and landscape designs, are themselves almost natural objects, extracted, or so it appears, from the geological strata and monoliths of the islands, and then sculpted by forces of wind and water – as well as program and technologies of construction – before coming into new conversations with imported materials – steel or metal panels – brought into these islands at the crossroads of European travel for centuries. Politically Europe’s southern and westernmost point, the archipelago basks in the sharp light of this latitude at the edge of the Tropics, one face turned towards the nearby African Coast, the other towards the New World...[+]

Included Tags: