Disappearances

31/12/1999


In this past decade, the convulsive century of modern adventure has gone about announcing its inevitable termination through the passing away of some of its leading figures: ideologists, builders and chroniclers who wrote a mythical chapter of architectural history. The likes of Berthold Lubetkin, Serge Chermayeff, Alberto Sartoris or Charlotte Perriand were the last of those first Europeans who adopted new forms of expression for a new era, a language of geometric abstraction born out of the alliance of the arts with industry. Among those who knew how to reinterpret that original orthodox credo in the light of other landscapes and other traditions, the Egyptian Hassan Fathy and the Brazilians Roberto Burle Marx and Lucio Costa have joined the obituaries, while Myron Goldsmith, Gordon Bunshaft or Paul Rudolph dropped out of the ranks of disciples of those who emigrated to the United States and helped to spread and transform that modern vocabulary in the lingua franca of the International Style. As for the bright young generation that in the wake of World War II rebelled against the dogmas of the avant-garde and fought to recuperate the by then devalued human dimension of architecture and urbanism, it has lost the Team X members Georges Candilis, Alison Smithson and Aldo van Eyck, as well as Ron Herron, one of the Archigram group, whose death blurred the contours and subdued the colors of an optimistic view of the sixties. The British James Stirling’s brilliant and prolific career was cut short, as was the stubbornly coherent biography of the Italian Aldo Rossi. In their laborious conquest of a modernity that came late to an isolated post-Civil War Spain, architects such as José Luis Fernández del Amo, Alejandro de la Sota, Ramón Vázquez Molezún, José María García de Paredes and Julio Cano Lasso had likewise attained the stature of masters while alive, as had Félix Candela on the other side of the Atlantic, long exiled in Mexico...[+]


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