Juan Navarro Baldeweg
The figure of the German architect, Heinrich Tessenow (1876-1950), is difficult to categorize in a time of avant-garde effervescence. His approach to rationalism was tempered by classicist and regionalist characteristics, in a search for the essence of the discipline. The Foundation which bears his name, along with that of Alfred Toepfer of Hamburg, created the Tessenow Medal in 1963 with the aim of preserving the timeless values related with the finality of architecture. The architect and painter Juan Navarro Baldeweg (1939) is the first Spaniard to receive this prize, which was awarded on 10 September in one of Tessenow’s buildings in the garden city of Hellerau. Installations like The Column and the Weight (1973) and projects like the Casa de la Lluvia or the Conference Center in Salamanca, where he revived Soane’s dome, link his creations with those of previous winners like Peter Zumthor (1989) or Giorgio Grassi (1992). Quite apart from the vocabulary used, the material intensity of the Swiss and the monumental rigor of the Italian reveal the same interest as Navarro Baldeweg’s work for the fundamentals of architecture.