Friday 30 de September, 2016
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PLOT 32. The August 2016 – September 2016 edition is already available in bookstores and in our virtual store. If you subscribe to the magazine, you have a 20% discount on the price of the cover.

“We can’t ever retain the integrity of the constant flow of information. But certainly, a trip offers a chance to broaden the senses: to smell and hear more vividly, to look and see more intensely, to taste and to touch with greater attention, our body shaking and tense, open to new experiences, can register more data the usual.

[…] Emotion, affection, enthusiasm, amazement, interrogation, surprise, joy and stupefaction, everything blends together in the exercise of what is beautiful and sublime, the change in habits and the differences”.

Michel Onfray, Theory of Travel

Extract from editorial text by Florencia Rodriguez

In the Magazine section of this issue of PLOT we publish a text about the (bi) / (tri) enal phenomenon, followed by the critical text by Rosario Talevi which she criticizes the argentine pavilion. In addition, we present the Andong Hospital in China, designed by Rural Urban Framework (RUF) and the restoration of the Corbera d’Ebre church by the architects Ferran Visozo and Núria Bordas.

In the Practice section we publish the finalist works selected by the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize 2014-2015 (MCHAP). We portray a path through the continent, passing by the Weekend House designed by the brazilian office SPBR, the Campus for the University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) by Grafton Architects and the Pachacamac Museum by Llosa Cortegana Arquitectos in Peru, Tower 41 by Alberto Kalach in Mexico, Star Apartments by Michael Maltzan Architecture and the Grace Farms building by SANAA in the US. The buildings are described by MCHAP’s jury formed by Wiel Arets, Dirk Denison, Stan Allen, Ila Berman, Jean Pierre Crousse and Florencia Rodríguez (PLOT’s editorial director).

Apart from this, we present four buildings from the office Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM): Cayan Tower, Beijing Greenland Center, JTI Headquarters, and the United States Air Force Academy.

In the Theory section we publish a conversation between Deane Simpson and Ciro Najle, in our Out of Time 031, together with three essays: Immersion against image by Guilherme Wisnik, The return of things: contemporary relations between art, architecture and daily life by Gonzalo Carrasco Purull and Pedro Livni. Finally, we present a text by Filippo Poli entitled Dismantling: Portraits of Milan Expo 2015 together with a photographic series that registers the dismantling of the exhibition.




The (bi) / (tri) enal phenomenon. Each year new architecture bienniales or trienniales arise around the world and become a “must stop” for the global academic discipline circuit. What can these exhibitions tell about the actual state of architecture? What is their role in the production of current theory and criticism? Do they have a real transdisciplinary impact? Do they expand the architecture field?

Rosario Talevi, Venice Biennale: a problematic front. The article’s title refers to Alejandro Aravena’s proposal for the Venice Biennale Reporting from the front. Talevi questions which front is Aravena reporting from, which is the battle he is fighting for and she accuses the argentine pavilion for its impossibility to propose an emancipated architecture oriented to the future: “The argentine representation in the Venice Biennales seems to address the curatorial proposals under the imperative of nostalgia and heroism. The construction of stories that recover and reclaim history and ideology, revealing unprecedented relations between past and present, are portrayed as a principal and unavoidable condition to approach the architectonic current production.”

Rural Urban Framework (RUF), Andong Hospital. The first charitative hospital in China presents a wide spiral ramp that secures a good accessibility to every level and generates an open patio in the center with exterior waiting areas. The architects utilized traditional recycled bricks and prefabricated concrete blocks with a variable hole produced with flexible latex moulds.

Ferran Visozo y Núria Bordas, Restoration of Corbera d’Ebre Church. With the aim of maintaining a subtle balance between nature and construction, exterior and interior, typical from the ruins, the project consolidates structurally the existing ruin and builds a new translucid ETFE cover that stops its decline caused by the action of the different atmospheric agents.


Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize 2014-2015 (MCHAP). The prize, organized by the Architecture School of the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), intends to recognize the american continent’s best architecture in a biannual cycle. In this edition the prize is dedicated to the best built work in the years 2014 and 2015 selected by a jury formed by Wiel Arets, Stan Allen, Ila Berman, Jean Pierre Crousse and Florencia Rodríguez.

SPBR, Weekend House. The paulista office SPBR gives to San Pablo metrópolis an extra value as a posible place to enjoy the weekends. Angelo Bucci challenges gravity raising geometrically rigurous volumes, suspended with minimal support points, where he locates the house’s pool with the aim of avoiding the projection of shadows of the neighbouring houses. Jean Pierre Crousse states that the Project “dims the limits between territory, landscape and architecture” and generates a vertical microclimate stratification.

Grafton Architects, University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC). The new campus for UTEC in Lima, Perú, is described by Ila Berman as a complex architectonic megaform that Works simultaneously as a synthetic topography, infraestructural network and urban weave. Taking advantage of the pleasant climate, the architects located the building’s circulation outdoors facilitating the educational and social connections between students and professors and encouraging the relationship with the ocean.

Llosa Cortegana Arquitectos, Pachacamac Museum. The architecture of the Pachacamac Museum aims to refer to the prehispanic architecture. It builds a grammar that inhabits the symbolic-historic landscape and defines the spaces that frame the access to the preexisting sanctuary. The peruvian achitects installed their work as one more layer of stratification in the long process of transformation of the site. Stan Allen outlines that “the success of the museum resides in operating at the landscape scale and capturing spaces and experiences that go beyond the framework of its modest presence”.

Alberto Kalach, Tower 41. The tower is located in a strategic point of Mexico City, with views towards the majestic Chapultepec Forest. Stan Allen defines the project as a powerful structural statement: “The plot is a long trapezoid. On the short sides of the plan there are two huge pillars. Elevated from the street level, steel beams extend between the pillars and form a bridge over the urban network below.”

Michael Maltzan Architecture, Star Apartments. The Project por the Skid Row Housing Trust association transformed a one storey comercial building located in Downtown Los Ángeles in a mixed use complex with 102 apartments for homeless people. Florencia Rodríguez highlights how “the office dealt with urban form issues, of fabric reconstitution, of community performance, and extreme functionality”, while at the same time turning it into a spectacular brutalist landmark that praises a socially complex program.

SANAA, Grace Farms. The building for the Grace Farms foundation located in New Canaan, Connecticut, USA, in a vast undulating plot covered with trees, lakes and wetlands, surrounded with calm suburban residences. Wiel Arets states that “the overhanging wooden ceiling works as a guide that invites us to walk through the dispersed interior and exterior programs and provokes the visitor to come back to the site again and again. The building becomes an inseparable part of the landscape and invites the visitors to enjoy the spatial experience of architecture and nature.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). Through an eighty years trajectory SOM has consolidated as one of the most important architecture and engineering office in the world. Their practice accumulates more than 10.000 urban projects, corporate office buildings and financial institutions, sports and transport facilities, educational, residential and commercial buildings located in more than 50 countries. In this edition of PLOT, we included some of their most recent work in which we verify a great obsession for technology, the development of high quality constructive details, structural challenges and a collaborative job between the different technical areas.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Cayan Tower. The dramatic 75 level helicoidal tower located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, presents a reinforced concrete structure of 307 meters high with a hexagonal slab that rotates around a cilindrical nucleus getting to position on its higher área 90 degrees from the base, maximizing the views from each of the 495 apartments.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Beijing Greenland Center. The tower is located in Dawangjing, a new neighbourhood in northeast Beijing, China, whose master plan was also designed by SOM. The 55 levels building, 260 meters high, samples a facade constituted by isósceles trapezoids that work as prisms that capture and refract light.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), JTI Headquarters.The new JTI office building is located in a Geneve district that homes prestigious international organizations. The building’s configuration was dictated by the triangular form of the terrain. In collaboration with Josef Gartner, SOM designed the facade system Closed Cavity Facade (CCF), a courtin wall that responds to the changing climatic conditions while providing exceptional views and maximizing the light input in the working space.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), United States Air Force Academy. Between 1954 and 1962 SOM designed and constructed the United States Air Force Academy in the Rocky Mountains, 2.000 meters high. The master plan guidelines implied that each building would present its own particularity both in the programmatic, its identity and morphology. In 2016 the Center for the Development of Character and Leadership was built, to serve as a place for education and research. The new center is defined by a dramatic pyramidal 32 meters high deformed skylight that admits a great amount of natural light to the building’s interior.


Out Of Time 031. Deane Simpson in conversation with Ciro Najle at the Children Republic in La Plata. Deane Simpson is an architect and urbanist who teaches at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhaguen. The conversation addresses his recent published book Young-Old: Urban Utopias of an Aging Society.

Guilherme Wisnik, Immersion against image. Wisnik describes the present historic period as one of profound paradigm changes that seem to restructure forms of subjectivity. In the architecture field, he outlines the contemporary interest in building skins and the energetic behaviour of buildings, the field conditions and the new formal and programmatic units that evolve from the ruptura in the opposition between different elements such as structure and enclosure, structure and ornament.

Gonzalo Carrasco Purull y Pedro Livni, The return of things: contemporary relations between art, architecture and daily life. Can architecture still be understood as an esthetic event, no matter the ultimate efforts for circunscribing it into a phenomenon halfway between a technical artifact, a consumer good or a mediatic product? Is it still possible to defend the art status of architecture in a contemporary stage dominated by humanitarian, economic and ecological crisis;  and, on the other hand, by the transformation of the discipline in one more service in the actual global economy of the market?

Filippo Poli, Dismantling. Retratos de la Expo Milán 2015. Poli presents a photographic series that registers the dismantling of the Milan 2015 exhibition, questioning the superficial perception and valuation of the exhibition pavilions and criticizing the conception of their production models and use.

See content for other PLOT issues:

PLOT 01 PLOT 02 / PLOT 03 PLOT 04 / PLOT 05 PLOT 06 / PLOT 07 / PLOT 08 / PLOT 09 PLOT 10 PLOT Special Edition Nº2: Constructive details. 1º Unfinished Technological Map / PLOT 11 PLOT 12 / PLOT 13 / PLOT 14 / PLOT 15 / PLOT Special Edition Nº3: Constructive details. 2º Unfinished Technological Map/ PLOT 16 / PLOT 17 / PLOT 18 / PLOT 19 / PLOT 20PLOT 21PLOT 22PLOT 23PLOT 24PLOT 25PLOT 26PLOT 27PLOT Special Edition Nº5: Landscapes of the unstable / PLOT 28 / PLOT 29 / PLOT 30 / PLOT 31 PLOT Special Edition Nº6: Constructive details. 3º Unfinished Technological Map

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