The Smithsons’ Dreams
The dream of Paradise: with this phrase Nieves Fernández Villalobos synthesizes the experimental quest of one of the most exceptional couples of the history of architecture, Alison and Peter Smithson, a quest which had its paradigm in the ‘House of the Future’. As the author says, it is surprising that the key should be in a late-medieval painting of an hortus conclusus, chosen by Alison as an icon of contemporary domestic paradise.
The book is of interest in particular for young people seeking new paths in architecture, removed from the spectacular, locked up in experimental sobriety, longing for paradise around a small garden that is not only the heart of the house, but also a metaphor of the necessary dialogue between architecture and nature, and also the motor of non-stop research on new ways of inhabiting. Seriousness and research make for a narration that the author composes brilliantly, building on her profound knowledge of the characters and their domestic work.
Bound to become a reference, the book reads as an interesting hybrid between architecture and design. The information provided proves that the author is comfortable in both fields, so closely linked in the second dawn of modernity that they explain many contemporary processes.
In troubled times, a look at the work of modern architects who looked to the future with enthused but critical eyes is key to understanding a past future we have yet to reach but our situation won’t let us. But some small edens may still be a saving grace.