Alison Smithson received from Axel Bruchhauser the fascinating commission of making a storage room for the witch's broom. Near the tops of the trees, a small cottage was set on pillars that rest, in turn, on a slight slope that descends to a river crossed by a bridge that hangs from the witch's house. Its tiny interior is designed to see the river, behind the house, look down and see the forest floor, and look up and see the canopy formed by leaves and sky.
Although, unfortunately, in many cases it is contradicted by reality, it appears difficult to understand the practice of architecture if it is not to contribute to building a better world. This commitment requires starting each new project with a creative process that allows us to move from intentions to reality, so that, by means of this complex path, a solution will arise that responds to what is necessary and results in a transcendent work.
To a large extent, a better world is not possible without reflection and reflection is not possible without distancing yourself from reality to understand it; if observation is too near-sighted, we will end up only paying attention to particulars. However, the more we move away, the more details are lost, which allows us to perceive the existence of an invisible and diffuse structure that supports our proposals. If we continue to distance ourselves, we feel that this shell is also part of an even more abstract and intangible skeleton. Access to these enclaves, if only for a moment, is to penetrate a vague and unfocused universe in which time and the specific features of each place are diluted. It is probably in these fuzzy spaces where we come to recognize the attitudes and proposals of others and discover affinities that a close look does not allow; I would even say that their imprecision makes them ideal to ask oneself questions and make the commitments that should guide our decisions.
Making room for reflection is not easy in the culture of immediacy in which we are immersed, but achieving gives us the opportunity to open a window into the unknown, into the vastness that, as we are reminded by Gaston Bachelard in his book Poetics of space, dwells within us, "is linked to a sort of expansion of being that life represses and caution stops, but begins again when we are alone. As soon as we become immobile, we are elsewhere; we are dreaming in a world that is immense. The immensity is the movement of motionless man."
Pressured by excessive noise and information, it is vital to have a protective shelter; an essential requirement for patient search. If this search is necessary, and in my opinion it is, how to imagine the ideal space to exercise reflection, that redoubt of maximum freedom from which we project ourselves from the outside? How to imagine the shelter that provides the necessary calmness to think of a more just and united world and, therefore, make it a better place?
I do not intend to forget the other shelters, those that urge us whenever there are famines, wars or natural disasters, and which we often forget as soon as they are no longer news; however, only through the first is it possible to provide the appropriate response required by the second.
Antonello da Messina devised one of these places to accommodate St. Jerome Church Father and translator of the Bible into Latin. Jules Verne gave us his proposal De la terre à la lune. Alvar Aalto built Nemo propheta in patria with a similar intent and Le Corbusier spent the last days of his life in the paradigmatic Cabanon. They all have in common their smallness and it is probably this feature that made Alison Smithson open the window of the room to store the witch's broom to the vastness of the forest, Antonello da Messina open his to the vastness of the refined Italian landscape, Alvar Aalto to open his to the vastness of Finnish lakes, Le Corbusier to open his to the immensity of the Mare Nostrum, and Jules Verne to open his to the overwhelming immensity of the infinite universe.
ETSA Sevilla: 22/10/2009
ETSA Sevilla: 22/10/2009 - 25/11/2009 EA U. Francisco Victoria MADRID: 01/12/2009 - 18/12/2009 EA U. Europea MADRID: 15/02/2010 - 11/03/2010 ETSA VALLADOLID: 15/03/2010 - 28/04/2010