David chipperfield lives in the present without ceasing to look at the past. The literary critic Harold Bloom, referring to writers’ clash with predecessors, spoke of the ‘anxiety of influences’. But Chipperfield is an architect who can bring out the ideology of Rossi and Tessenow in the sublime schematism of Mies, or, if the place allows (see his house in Corrubedo), in the amiable plasticity of Siza. So in his work there is no clash with masters, but a flexible continuity that also explains his success throughout the geography of globalization.
Today Chipperfield is comfortable working anywhere, so even his own country, marked by the steely technocratic footprint of Foster or Rogers, with both of whom Chipperfield worked after completing his studies, has accepted his austere architecture, which is rigorously geometric but warm, and farther from British tradition than from the material essentialism of Germans or the typological and contextual focus of Latin people.
The new monograph on Chipperfield – overseen by himself and published in Germany – presents his oeuvre under the prism of specialists like Fulvio Irace, Bernhard Schulz, and Luis Fernández-Galiano, and through photos that show the geometric boldness and ascetic materiality of his buildings, but not how they are built. Add to this the non-chronological presentation of projects, which precludes an adequate view of his journey through diverse sensibilities and of his capacity to straddle tradition and innovation, memory, and oblivion.