Globalization and its Discontents
The century bids farewell with the death of van Eyck, the inaugurations of the Reichstag and the Kursaal, and Eisenman’s project for Santiago de Compostela.
The century bids farewell with the death of van Eyck, the inaugurations of the Reichstag and the Kursaal, and Eisenman’s project for Santiago de Compostela.
The beginnings of modernity crystallizing in the crucible of the Bauhaus form part of a mythical history that has created ‘the tradition of the new’.
Across the atlantic, the Modern Movement became the International Style. The artistic and social Utopia that a group of young European architects had conceived in the twenties gave rise, in post-Depression America, to what would be the 20th century’s
The reconstruction of Barcelona’s Liceo is an indicator of the Catalonian cultural climate, and of the difficulty of reconciling the tradition with the new.
The project to extend Madrid’s Prado Museum faces the risk of interfering with a key neoclassical building and its historical urban setting.
ON UNA CONFIGURACIÓN dominada por los ras-gos excepcionales de su enclave geográfico, San Sebatian has always been dominated by the extraordinary features of its geography, but in many ways owes its current physiognomy to the coast wall that led to
In a marginal area of Barcelona, where the Ensanche (19th century urban enlargement) begins to fray, a large, imprecisely shaped plot of land reduced a possible dialogue with the place to a succinct soliloquy. The parcel was the result of the fusion
To face the sport challenges of the new millennium, Seville’s Real Betis football club decided to carry out a radical renovation of its facilities in the folkloric quarter of Heliópolis. While maintaining the lines of the original ground plan, it was
With the idea of reviving the huge urban impulse sparked by Expo 92, Seville attempted to use another event of international repercussions – the 2004 Olympics – as an engine to transform the city. In support of the candidacy, the Olympic Ring Society
The Montiliví campus, south of Gerona’s old quarter, imposes its rational grid on alandscape of gently rolling hills and extensive forests. The new school of law sciences is set up on one of the resulting parcels, with the intention of minimizing its
The campus of Espinardo has an unfinished look, with the remaining features of a rural environment such as an unaltered topography, faraway views, and positionings unconditioned by neighboring constructions. On a parcel situated between the general c
In Sanctiago de Compostela, the years of St. James (when the feast has fallen on a Sunday) can be tracked down through the architectural works that the city’s different administrations have carried out to celebrate the ephemeron, and the ‘Burgo de la
The weight the tourist industry carries in the Canaries often works to the detriment of other, less profitable but equally necessary activities. To draw attention to an educational life on the rise, the University of Las Palmas has invited teams of a
In recent years Madrid has undergone notable growth along its entire eastern front. Perhaps affected by this, San Fernando de Henares is experiencing an unprecedented impulse in terms of municipal activity. As a symbol of such takeoff, the authoritie
The huge military boost that Cartagena underwent in the 18th century remains evident in the great constructions that dominate the city’s encounter with the sea. The Royal Arsenal, the Antigones barracks and the Artillery Park are just three of the op
Concieved as an alternative to the outcropping of private institutions, one able to compete with them from the public sector, Pompeu Fabra University was also born with a decidedly urban outlook. From its Rambla, Plaça de la Mercé and Francia Station
Formed by successive additions carried out since the sixties, the Picasso Museum of Barcelona goes unnoticed in the intricate urban tissue of the quarter of Ciutat Vella. With their frameworks intact – marked by the fragmented contour of the party wa
Physically bound to the city’s foundational moments, the presidential seat of the regional government constitutes a starting point for the the Canarian capital’s historic center renewal. Conceived as an emphatic interlocking of fractured basalt and c
In the undifferenciated context of a recently urbanized zone, almost directly in front of the locality’s new railway station, this parish center is conscious of its role as an urban landmark. Unable to compete in mass with the six-story apartment blo
Operating more and more independently on Madrid’s periphery, Pozuelo de Alarcón has expanded in parallel to the growth of its services and infrastructures. In a residential zone to its south, a plot of land bordered by three roads and an apartment bl
Madrid has a rugged topography and the southeast section of the municipal territory is one of its lowest points. This is perhaps why the area has traditionally been chosen as a dumping site for metropolitan wastes. Within the plan to rationaliz
Guarding Barcelona from its south tip, Montjuïc has served as the physical support for the city’s most far-reaching events of the past century. Site of the reproduction of traditional Spanish architecture for the Pueblo Español at the 1929 Universal
Part og Barcelona's industrial periphery, this sector of Mollet del Vallés will be another major access into the city once the planned changes in the traffic system are carried out. Set in a frontier territory whose urban conditions have yet to be de
Topography and toponymy seem to marry in Finisterre to define a place predestined to be a scene of sorrow. On this cape of the ‘Costa de la Muerte’ (Coast of Death) – where the Romans thought the world to end – a plot of land exposed to the tempests
Against the general tendency in a region marked by the exodus of people from countryside to city, Villamuriel de Cerrato has seen its population multiplied by ten since the seventies, when an automobile factory was installed within its municipal lim
The road hotel inexorably falls under the emergency sort of architecture that all national highways provide on the way, halfway between local color and the Venturian experiment, but the new motel in Irún’s Integrated Transport Center resists this ste
Resembling the growth rings of a tree, Madrid’s circular roads register the way the capital has expanded in the past decades, and with this, the evolution of residential architecture. If the M-30 highway was where the first municipal administrations
On the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, just a block away from the bay of Algeciras, a residual piece of land long used as a parking lot was chosen as the site of a new social housing development. Diagonally facing a school playground, the oper
On the outskirts of Seville, forming part of a rural nucleus that has been absorbed by the expanding city, San Jerónimo is a shantytown where the urban fabric frays to meet the declining surrounding territory. As if to stress this boundary character
The August 1999 issue of Dialogue asked: “Will we ever have a Bilbao in Taiwan?” The Taipei-based journal dedicated its cover to the fractured forms of Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum, and printed the question mark of its Forum over a photograph of
The architecture of a Europe that is at present launching a new single currency vacillates between Dutch subversion and Swiss minimalist rigor.
The dwelling is the territory of formal experiments: in Holland and Japan, high demographic density is at times accompanied by high artistic density.
Moneo’s rigorous auditorium stands before Bofill’s jovial theater in an area of Barcelona that wishes to define itself through cultural buildings.
Europe offers prizes to its architects while an atrocious war is fought elsewhere on the continent: the maiden abducted by the bull is embraced by death.
Reconstructed by the British architect Norman Foster, the new Reichstag is the solemn, optimistic and amiable symbol of the Berlin Republic.
Instead of pursuing urban planning understood as little more than real-estate development, towns should care more for the civility of their public spaces.
Houses continue to be an architectural laboratory and an indicator of social mutations; several of the most influential are put on exhibit at the MoMA.
The centenary of the birth of Eduardo Torroja recalls the life and work of the most important figure of modern Spanish engineering.
A Madrid exhibition explores forms of collaboration between architects and artists through five examples in European cities.
The elections in Catalonia choose not only individuals, but also ideas about regional planning, town development and urban design.
The last years of Franco’s rule devastated the Spanish landscape, and a quarter of a century after his death, democracy has not yet been able to stop the process.
Following the competition for its extension, Madrid’s Reina Sofía will be a museum in its present building and an art center in its planned addition.
The death of Dutch master Aldo van Eyck brings the end to a polyphonic biography that renewed modernity from an anthropological viewpoint.
The British architect Norman Foster will receive the Pritzker Prize in the city that welcomes his most recent work, the renovation of the Reichstag.
Rafael Moneo has finished the auditorium and convention center of San Sebastián, formed by two leaning glass cubes on the edge of the ocean.
American architect Peter Eisenman is the winner of the international competition to design the Galician City of Culture in Santiago de Compostela.
Norman Foster On June 7, shortly after his remodeled Reichstag was inaugurated, Norman Foster received the Pritzker Prize in the same city of Berlin. For two consecutive years, therefore, the award granted by the owners of the Hyatt hotel chain has r
Fumihiko Maki Fumihiko Maki is finally a prophet in his own land. Having capped the Pritzker Prize and the UIA Gold Medal simultaneously in 1993, the most moderate of the Nipponese moderns has been decorated with the Praemium Imperiale by the Japan A
Barcelona The field’s oldest existing award, the gold medal that the Royal Institute of British Architects hands yearly to persons linked to architecture, has broken a tradition of over a century by distinguishing the merits of a city, Barcelona. Det
Ricardo Legorreta In the context of its last congress, held in Beijing, the International Union of Architects laureled the Mexican Ricardo Legorreta with its gold medal, a distinction that has since 1984 singled out 'service to man and society throug
Frank Gehry On February 6, Frank Gehry received the gold medal of the American Institute of Architects, joining personages like Jefferson, Wright and Kahn in a hall of fame heretofore inexplicably inaccesible to one of the most popular American archi
David Chipperfield The Brit David Chipperfield is the recipient of this year’s Heinrich Tessenow Medal, created by Hamburg’s Alfred Toepfer Foundation to acclaim figures of architecture, industrial design and the teaching of both. In itself a declara
Kunsthaus de Bregenz In March, from the Bauhaus in Weimar, the year’s continental capital of culture, a jury that included Dominique Perrault, Oriol Bohigas and Wilfried Wang announced the winner of the sixth annual Mies van der Rohe Award for Archit
Santiago Calatrava In the end of May, in what he has described as a ‘succession of miracles,’ Santiago Calatrava was almost simultaneously named doctor honoris causa by the University of Lund, Sweden and winner of the Prince of Asturias Prize for the
Faculty in La Coruña and Station in Córdoba Two buildings – one in Galicia and the other in Andalusia – share the National Prize for Architecture, bestowed every two years by Spain’s Council of Architectural Institutes in conjunction with the M
Viviendas en Gerona y Alcoy The modest architecture of social housing is 1999’s resounding winner of the Fomento de las Artes Decorativas Awards. An apartment block by Arcadi Pla in Gerona and a residential development by Manuel de Solà-Morales in th
Luis Peña Ganchegui With a professional biography inexorably linked to the city of San Sebastián, Luis Peña Ganchegui received the Antonio Camuñas Award, granted since 1985 by the so-named Madrid foundation to acknowledge a Spanish architect’s overal
Biblioteca municipal de Tarrasa Organized jointly by the Ministry of Public Works, the Council of Architectural Institutes, the University of Alcalá and Menéndez Pelayo International University, the fifth Biennial of Spanish Architecture selected 21
(1920-1999) Death must have caught Colin Rowe by surprise while yearning for the Palazzo Massimo, Cornell University’s Rome headquarters where this Brit by birth and American by naturalization chose to take up residence since retiring in 1991. Traine
(1927-1999) On August 16, complications resulting from a minor operation put an end to the life of Ton Alberts, the Dutch architect whose biography lived up to the ‘courage to dream’ he asked of all. This motto is also present in his architecture, wh
(1918-1999) When Aldo van Eyck passed away without warning at the start of the year, he was a vital octogenarian. Yet we will always associate his name with infancy. The playgrounds he designed while employed at the public works office impregnated wi
(1943-1999) The sober pragmatism of Estanislao Pérez Pita, who succumbed to cancer in October, has helped characterize Madrid’s architectural scene of the past 25 years. Both a Madrid native and a 1969 graduate of its architecture school, with Jeróni
(1905-1999) With the passing away of Ignazio Gardella dies the generation of Italian architects whose careers were launched in the cradle of the Mussolini regime. Born in Milan in 1905, Gardella studied architecture in his hometown’s polytechnical un
(1903-1999) As a culmination to a life that has stretched in parallel with the 20th century, Charlotte Perriand has left to us her memoirs, a vivid testimony of the most significant events of the first moderns. Her first design, the ‘Sous le Toit’ ba
Balance del año
Summary of the Year
La globalización y sus descontentos
Globalization and its Discontents
La tradición de lo nuevo, de la Bauhaus al Guernica
The Tradition of the New, from the Bauhaus to the Guernica
La tradición y lo nuevo, del Liceo al Prado
The Tradition and the New, from the Liceo to the Prado
Adela García-Herrera y Marta García
1999, una antología de consenso
1999, An Anthology of Consensus
Kursaal, San Sebastián Kursaal, San Sebastián
Auditorio de Música, Barcelona Auditorium, Barcelona
Estadio de fútbol, Sevilla Football Stadium, Seville
Antonio González Cordón
Estadio olímpico, Sevilla Olympic Stadium, Seville
Antonio Cruz & Antonio Ortiz
Facultad de Derecho, Gerona Law Faculty, Gerona
Aranda, Pigem & Vilalta
Facultad de Economía y Empresa, Murcia Economics and Business Faculty, Murcia
Carbonell, Moreno, Jurado & Sánchez
Facultad de CC. de la Comunicación, Santiago Communications Faculty, Santiago
Edificios universitarios, Las Palmas University Buildings, Las Palmas
Juan Navarro Baldeweg
Ayuntamiento, San Fernando (Madrid) Town Hall, San Fernando (Madrid)
Juan Carlos Sancho & Sol Madridejos
Universidad Politécnica, Cartagena Polytechnical University, Cartagena
Martín Lejarraga & Francisco Ruiz-Gijón
Biblioteca universitaria, Barcelona University Library Barcelona
Lluís Clotet & Ignacio Paricio
Ampliación del Museo Picasso, Barcelona Picasso Museum Extension, Barcelona
Gobierno Canario, Santa Cruz de Tenerife Government Headquarters, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Artengo, Menis & Pastrana
Centro parroquial, Collado-Villalba (Madrid) Parish Center, Collado- Villalba (Madrid)
Ignacio Vicens, José Antonio Ramos & Mª de los Ángeles Hernández
Centro de salud, Pozuelo de Alarcón, (Madrid) Health Center, Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid)
Javier Frechilla, Carmen Herrero & José Manuel López-Peláez
Planta de tratamiento de residuos, Madrid Refuse Treatment Center Madrid
Iñaki Ábalos & Juan Herreros
Paisaje con figuras
Landscape with Figures
Jardín Botánico, Barcelona Botanical Garden, Barcelona
Carlos Ferrater, José Luis Canosa & Bet Figueras
Parque público, Mollet del Vallés (Barcelona) Public Park, Mollet del Vallés (Barcelona)
Cementerio civil, Fisterra (La Coruña) Civil Cemetery, Fisterra (La Coruña)
Cementerio, Villamuriel de Cerrato (Palencia) Cemetery, Villamuriel de Cerrato (Palencia)
Gabriel Gallegos & Juan Carlos Sanz
Hotel de ruta, Irún (Guipúzcoa) Roadside Hotel, Irún (Guipúzcoa)
Roberto Ercilla & Miguel Angel Campo
Conjunto residencial en la M-40, Madrid Housing on the M-40 Highway, Madrid
María José Aranguren, José González Gallegos, Enrique Herrada & Marta Maíz
Bloque residencial La Línea (Cádiz) Residential Block, La Línea (Cádiz)
Viviendas en San Jerónimo, Sevilla Housing in San Jerónimo, Seville
José Morales & Juan González Mariscal
Un año en el mundo
A Year in the World
El terremoto y la terapia
Tremor and Therapy
Doce meses y cuatro estaciones
Twelve Months and Four Seasons
El año en doce edificios
The Year in Twelve Buildings
Los premios y las pérdidas
Distinctions and Disappearances
The third millenium began in Seattle on the 4th of December 1999. Many awaited it at Greenwich, under the huge tent that Richard Rogers built on the Meridian, in uneven competition with the Pacific atolls where the time zones situate the change of date, and in disdainful indifference to the computer chaos augured by the somber omens of the millennium bug. Nevertheless Y2K overtook the calendar, and first laid bare its political countenance and fractured social landscape in the incubator of the approaching future: the city that is home to Boeing, Microsoft and Amazon, where a coalition of poor countries, trade unionists and NGOs questioned before the world the inexorable trend toward globalization. In the cradle of grunge, Starbucks and Frazier, a popular revolt of a kind unheard of since the sixties brought on the failure of the World Trade Organization’s Millennium Round, cracking the armor plating of single market, single society and single thought. Convoked by the Internet and coordinated by mobile phones, Seattle demonstrators confronted Robocop policemen in an at once archaic and futuristic conflict that portends the coming century’s political debate between globalization and its discontents.
Under the sign of globalization, 1999 saw the energetic boom of the American economy dampening the debut of Europe’s single currency, the timid recovery of Japan and the vigorous breakthrough of China, while the decomposition of Russia and the old socialist bloc was sprinkled with Balkan and Caucasian wars, Latin America swayed to the populist temptations of Chiapas or Chávez, and sub-Saharan Africa continued to fall in a black hole of misery and AIDS. And in this torn world (where, ten years after the disappearance of the Berlin wall, military, economic and cultural leadership is entirely in the hands of a single power, which even serves as a reticent venue for challenges to its hegemony such as that staged in Seattle), architecture still had its most stimulating experimental laboratory in Europe. Nourished by the polarization between Swiss and Dutch, European architecture wrote the year’s most brilliant chapters. American architects with a greater cultural and artistic vocation continued to come to the old continent for the receptive environment they do not alwaysf ind in the United States, and the most relevant debates of American universities revolved around European episodes such as situationism or Team X: exercises on historical memory to which Weimar’s turn as culture capital contributed the inevitable revision of the legacy of the Bauhaus, that fountainhead of modernity we still feed on.
If we were to group the issues in seasons, winter would rightfully go to the Dutch, for whom Aldo van Eyck’s death in January was an incentive to look back on a career that had its heyday in the iconoclastic decade of the sixties, and whose rupture with the modem sclerosis of the CIAM inspired a hedonistic subversion that has stretched on to today’s epigones of Koolhaas, van Berkel or MVRDV, that form the pragmatic and surreal Rotterdam school, one of the poles of the European debate. The other pole is still in Basel, the city of Herzog & de Meuron, who wrapped up the year with an impressive handful of new buildings, and hometown of Peter Zumthor, who in March received the Mies van der Rohe Prize.
Spring would be Britain’s, with Norman Foster obtaining his long merited Pritzker, and perhaps also a bit Berlin’s, because the completion of the Reichstag and the German Parliament’s transfer to its new seat in April coincided with the announcement of the Pritzker winner, who would later receive the trophy in this same emblematic venue. May saw the Spaniard Santiago Calatrava, who had competed with Foster for the Reichstag project, obtaining the Prince of Asturias Prize. But the contest for honors would finally culminate during this season in favor of the Brit, who in June was bestowed the title of Lord by Queen Elizabeth II.
The star of the summer would be a masterwork of Rafael Moneo, San Sebastian’s Kursaal, which opened in time for municipal elections and was officially inaugurated in the hectic posh summer of the Guipuzcoan resort city, where its unstable volumes are a reminder of the still unresolved tribulations of the Basques. But in July alarms rang as well in Madrid, thanks to the demolition of Miguel Fisac’s Jorba laboratories, a concrete tower whose playful volumes had symbolized the optimistic spirit of the sixties, sparking a polemic about the preservation of the modern heritage – a particularly pressing issue in a city that neglects the conservation of the canopies of its horse racetrack, the best remaining work of the engineer Eduardo Torroja, a master of concrete whose centenary was celebrated in August.
That same month announced the results of the competition for the Galician City of Culture in Santiago de Compostela. The New Yorker Peter Eisenman carried the day with an extraordinary topographic project that resounded through all of autumn, its impact totally drowning the three major Madrid contests of the season, won by Lamela (Telefónica), Cano (Royal Collections) and Nouvel (Reina Sofía Museum). Eisenman – whose master, the British Colin Rowe, passed away in November in Washington, D.C. – thus follows the European footsteps of his compatriot Gehry, who gave Bilbao his finest work and in 1999 finished a colossal office complex in the German city of Düsseldorf. And while the Galicians celebrated the Xacobeo with an avant-garde project, the Catalans held fiercely disputed regional elections in October, in time for which came a reconstructed Liceo, a new auditorium by Moneo, and a RIBA Gold Medal for Barcelona’s complacent torso.
But in Spain not all was good news, and December closed with the end of the ETA truce, after a fourteen-month impasse in in terrorist actions, resituating the Basque Country in a convulsive landscape unworthy of the Guggenheim and the Kursaal. While the wounds of Ireland healed up, and the progress of peace-making in Palestine allowed Aznar to spend Christmas Eve with Arafat in Bethlehem, the sores of Kosovo and the splintered fracture of Chechnya remained open, undermining the perpetual peace of the global market with the demagogy of facts. A placid peace broken in Seattle by a Woodstock of solidarity determined to remind the world that the greater part of humanity is marginalized by the economic market, the political market and the symbolic market; marginalized by liberal capitalism, representative democracy and the media; and marginalized, too, by that phenomenon of culture and spectacle we are used to call architecture.
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