Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Una casa en el aire frente a la Casa Rosada como emblema de la crisis habitacional

Foto La Nación
No voy a opinar sobre este evento porque no conozco esta ONG, y tampoco sé acerca de los planes para adquirir estas viviendas. Reproduzco parte de esta nota de Mauricio Caminos para La Nación, por ser la falta de viviendas dignas una problemática importante, y no sólo en Argentina. Dejo el link para que los lectores vean la galería de fotos y lean la nota completa.
¨La Casa Rosada y la jefatura del gobierno porteño tienen desde ayer nuevos vecinos. Es que la ONG Un Techo para mi País Argentina (Utpmpa) instaló en el centro de la Plaza de Mayo una vivienda de madera a 12 metros de altura, réplica exacta de las que construye para familias que atraviesan necesidades habitacionales. La idea principal es llamar la atención sobre la precaria situación en la que viven miles de personas en la Argentina.
"El objetivo de la Casa en el Aire es concientizar y poner en agenda pública la emergencia habitacional que sufren miles de familias e invitar a toda la sociedad a sumarse para cambiar esta situación", detalló a La Nacion Agustín Algorta, director social nacional de Utpmpa.(...)
La Casa en el Aire también servirá como antesala a la próxima construcción de viviendas de emergencia que llevará a cabo Utpmpa en distintos asentamientos del conurbano bonaerense. Entre el 18 y el 20 de junio, se construirán 250 viviendas con la participación de unos 2500 voluntarios. Ayer se construyeron más de 30 viviendas en Salta y Río Cuarto, el próximo fin de semana se levantarán 50 casas en Córdoba y 20 en Misiones, y para diciembre esperan llegar a 2300 en todo el país.
Además, en la etapa de "Habilitación social", la sede de la Capital trabaja actualmente con vecinos de 25 asentamientos en planes de capacitación en oficios, microcréditos, salud y educación, entre otras temáticas. Para 2011 Utpmpa estima entregar 500 créditos y 600 diplomas en oficios.¨

Monday, May 30, 2011

Göbekli Tepe and the rising of civilization and cities

Pillars at Göbekli Tepe. From National
It´s important to remember that in his book ¨The city in history,¨ Lewis Mumford says that one of the reasons for the origin of cities is the human religious meetings, giving as an example a burial ceremony. Though, he doesn´t deny the theory of agriculture. The following excerpts from the article The Birth of Religion, about the temple of Göbekli Tepe, shows us that Mumford was not mistaken.
Göbekli Tepe animals carving. From
Göbekli Tepe. From

¨Known as Göbekli Tepe (pronounced Guh-behk-LEE TEH-peh), the site is vaguely reminiscent of Stonehenge, except that Göbekli Tepe was built much earlier and is made not from roughly hewn blocks but from cleanly carved limestone pillars splashed with bas-reliefs of animals—a cavalcade of gazelles, snakes, foxes, scorpions, and ferocious wild boars. The assemblage was built some 11,600 years ago, seven millennia before the Great Pyramid of Giza. It contains the oldest known temple. Indeed, Göbekli Tepe is the oldest known example of monumental architecture—the first structure human beings put together that was bigger and more complicated than a hut. When these pillars were erected, so far as we know, nothing of comparable scale existed in the world.
At the time of Göbekli Tepe's construction much of the human race lived in small nomadic bands that survived by foraging for plants and hunting wild animals. Construction of the site would have required more people coming together in one place than had likely occurred before. Amazingly, the temple's builders were able to cut, shape, and transport 16-ton stones hundreds of feet despite having no wheels or beasts of burden. The pilgrims who came to Göbekli Tepe lived in a world without writing, metal, or pottery; to those approaching the temple from below, its pillars must have loomed overhead like rigid giants, the animals on the stones shivering in the firelight—emissaries from a spiritual world that the human mind may have only begun to envision.
Archaeologists are still excavating Göbekli Tepe and debating its meaning. What they do know is that the site is the most significant in a volley of unexpected findings that have overturned earlier ideas about our species' deep past. Just 20 years ago most researchers believed they knew the time, place, and rough sequence of the Neolithic Revolution—the critical transition that resulted in the birth of agriculture, taking Homo sapiens from scattered groups of hunter-gatherers to farming villages and from there to technologically sophisticated societies with great temples and towers and kings and priests who directed the labor of their subjects and recorded their feats in written form. But in recent years multiple new discoveries, Göbekli Tepe preeminent among them, have begun forcing archaeologists to reconsider.
At first the Neolithic Revolution was viewed as a single event—a sudden flash of genius—that occurred in a single location, Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in what is now southern Iraq, then spread to India, Europe, and beyond. Most archaeologists believed this sudden blossoming of civilization was driven largely by environmental changes: a gradual warming as the Ice Age ended that allowed some people to begin cultivating plants and herding animals in abundance. The new research suggests that the "revolution" was actually carried out by many hands across a huge area and over thousands of years. And it may have been driven not by the environment but by something else entirely.(...)Most of the world's great religious centers, past and present, have been destinations for pilgrimages—think of the Vatican, Mecca, Jerusalem, Bodh Gaya (where Buddha was enlightened), or Cahokia (the enormous Native American complex near St. Louis). They are monuments for spiritual travelers, who often came great distances, to gawk at and be stirred by. Göbekli Tepe may be the first of all of them, the beginning of a pattern. What it suggests, at least to the archaeologists working there, is that the human sense of the sacred—and the human love of a good spectacle—may have given rise to civilization itself.(....)
As important as what the researchers found was what they did not find: any sign of habitation. Hundreds of people must have been required to carve and erect the pillars, but the site had no water source—the nearest stream was about three miles away. Those workers would have needed homes, but excavations have uncovered no sign of walls, hearths, or houses—no other buildings that Schmidt has interpreted as domestic. They would have had to be fed, but there is also no trace of agriculture. For that matter, Schmidt has found no mess kitchens or cooking fires. It was purely a ceremonial center. If anyone ever lived at this site, they were less its residents than its staff. To judge by the thousands of gazelle and aurochs bones found at the site, the workers seem to have been fed by constant shipments of game, brought from faraway hunts. All of this complex endeavor must have had organizers and overseers, but there is as yet no good evidence of a social hierarchy—no living area reserved for richer people, no tombs filled with elite goods, no sign of some people having better diets than others.(...)
—archaeologists had discovered settlements dating as far back as 13,000 B.C. Known as Natufian villages (the name comes from the first of these sites to be found), they sprang up across the Levant as the Ice Age was drawing to a close, ushering in a time when the region's climate became relatively warm and wet.The discovery of the Natufians was the first rock through the window of Childe's Neolithic Revolution. Childe had thought agriculture the necessary spark that led to villages and ignited civilization. Yet although the Natufians lived in permanent settlements of up to several hundred people, they were foragers, not farmers, hunting gazelles and gathering wild rye, barley, and wheat. (...)
And increasingly, archaeologists studying the origins of civilization in the Fertile Crescent are suspicious of any attempt to find a one-size-fits-all scenario, to single out one primary trigger. It is more as if the occupants of various archaeological sites were all playing with the building blocks of civilization, looking for combinations that worked. In one place agriculture may have been the foundation; in another, art and religion; and over there, population pressures or social organization and hierarchy. Eventually they all ended up in the same place. Perhaps there is no single path to civilization; instead it was arrived at by different means in different places.¨
3D rendering of Göbekli Tepe. From
From National, article by Charles C. Mann
Read more about the temple:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

From the Burial of Rats (old Paris)

¨Leaving Paris by the Orleans road, cross the Enceinte, and, turning to the right, you find yourself in a somewhat wild and not at all savoury district. Right and left, before and behind, on every side rise great heaps of dust and waste accumulated by the process of time.
Paris has its night as well as its day life, and the sojourner who enters his hotel in the Rue de Rivoli or the Rue St. Honore late at night or leaves it early in the morning, can guess, in coming near Montrouge—if he has not done so already—the purpose of those great waggons that look like boilers on wheels which he finds halting everywhere as he passes.
Every city has its peculiar institutions created out of its own needs; and one of the most notable institutions of Paris is its rag-picking population. In the early morning—and Parisian life commences at an early hour—may be seen in most streets standing on the pathway opposite every court and alley and between every few houses, as still in some American cities, even in parts of New York, large wooden boxes into which the domestics or tenement-holders empty the accumulated dust of the past day. Round these boxes gather and pass on, when the work is done, to fresh fields of labour and pastures new, squalid hungry-looking men and women, the implements of whose craft consist of a coarse bag or basket slung over the shoulder and a little rake with which they turn over and probe and examine in the minutest manner the dustbins. They pick up and deposit in their baskets, by aid of their rakes, whatever they may find, with the same facility as a Chinaman uses his chopsticks.
Paris is a city of centralisation—and centralisation and classification are closely allied. In the early times, when centralisation is becoming a fact, its forerunner is classification. All things which are similar or analogous become grouped together, and from the grouping of groups rises one whole or central point. We see radiating many long arms with innumerable tentaculae, and in the centre rises a gigantic head with a comprehensive brain and keen eyes to look on every side and ears sensitive to hear—and a voracious mouth to swallow.
Other cities resemble all the birds and beasts and fishes whose appetites and digestions are normal. Paris alone is the analogical apotheosis of the octopus. Product of centralisation carried to an ad absurdum, it fairly represents the devil fish; and in no respects is the resemblance more curious than in the similarity of the digestive apparatus.
Those intelligent tourists who, having surrendered their individuality into the hands of Messrs. Cook or Gaze, 'do' Paris in three days, are often puzzled to know how it is that the dinner which in London would cost about six shillings, can be had for three francs in a café in the Palais Royal. They need have no more wonder if they will but consider the classification which is a theoretic speciality of Parisian life, and adopt all round the fact from which the chiffonier has his genesis.
The Paris of 1850 was not like the Paris of to-day, and those who see the Paris of Napoleon and Baron Hausseman can hardly realise the existence of the state of things forty-five years ago.
Amongst other things, however, which have not changed are those districts where the waste is gathered. Dust is dust all the world over, in every age, and the family likeness of dust-heaps is perfect. The traveller, therefore, who visits the environs of Montrouge can go go back in fancy without difficulty to the year 1850.¨

Paris - This engraving shows the French capital hemmed in by city walls, but instantly recognisable thanks to the Ile de la Cite, which straddles the Seine. The cartouche on the right describes the city as "most flourishing", boasting an "excellent university and a stupendous church of Notre Dame". From
Paris´ rats at display. From
From The Burial of Rats. By Bram Stoker. 1914
Read the full story/book:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

2011 Buckminster Fuller Challenge. Architecting the future

Architecting the Future:

June 8-10, 2011

Revealing the 2011 winner is part of a three-day series of events featuring finalists, special guests, members of our esteemed jury, and our colleagues from the BFI community.
Wednesday June 8th, from 6-8pm
More information:

Friday, May 27, 2011

The ¨shotgun¨ houses of New Orleans

Patty Gay, executive director of the Preservation Resource Center, takes us to the Irish Channel (a historically working-class neighborhood between the Mississippi River and the tawny Garden District) to explain this simple but adaptable, practical but occasionally flamboyant style of house.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

LAPD Motor Transport Division + Main Street Parking John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects

This render doesn´t show the cars crowding the street, it looks weird, but nice anyway
See the dull buildings in the perspective. Still the cars are absent, but believe me, usually there is only a few walking in this street.

If there is a design that´s difficult to resolve when we think of aesthetics, it´s parking structures. In my city, Buenos Aires, they are built underground because we don´t have earthquakes. In California, most parkings structures are built above ground, as earthquakes are continuously shaking the cities.
Old parkings in Los Angeles are really awful, grey monsters spread everywhere. There´s a colorful one in Santa Monica, my favorite up till now that I´ve seen this project. I´m anxious to see the bright green panels, and I hope it´s not just an illusion for the night.
From architectural record:

¨The historic core of Downtown L.A. is on the upswing. Neglected commercial properties and prewar buildings abandoned during the latter half of the 20th century are being converted into residential lofts and art galleries, and St. Vibiana, the city’s former cathedral, which was damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, has been restored and renovated into an elegant event space. Needless to say, the community was less than welcoming when they got wind of the LAPD’s plans to build a vehicular parking and maintenance facility on Main Street, the burgeoning Gallery Row, adjacent to the revamped church.
Taking their cues from the area’s cultural vibe, JFAK employed a whimsical combination of materiality, color, transparency, and light to minimize the impact of the 300,000-square-foot, five-story concrete structure. And although the architects incorporated an 800-car employee garage in addition to a mechanics shop, car wash, and refueling station for official vehicles, the program is subliminal.¨
Keep on reading:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mitología y fundación de un pueblo o ciudad

Rómulo y Remo. Google images
¨Conforme a la interpretación tradicional, la cultura había nacido al producirse en Grecia el paso "del mito al logos", es decir, la sustitución de la mentalidad mítica y mágica por la racionalidad de la filosofía y la ciencia. En el siglo XX, se estaba describiendo el giro inverso: una crítica al "logos" occidental, que tenía mucho de vuelta al mito. Claro que el mito que se recupera entonces no es lo que un "logos" excesivamente seguro de sí mismo había imaginado que es: una aleación caprichosa de fantasías coloridas y sugerentes, pero completamente irracionales. Se descubre, por el contrario, que hay una verdad en el mito.(....)Esos cuentos folklóricos sobre héroes que realizan grandes hazañas o se enfrentan a monstruos legendarios no respetan la lógica, pero son racionales, bien que su racionalidad no es científica sino artística. Como el arte, los mitos seleccionan sus ingredientes de entre lo plural y fragmentario del mundo y, transformando el azar en necesidad, crean con ello la ficción de un orden significativo y unitario que integra lo meramente circunstancial de la experiencia humana en un todo comprensivo y legitimador. Por eso son siempre usados para explicar la fundación de una ciudad o de un pueblo, y por eso en el interior de nuestra conciencia flota también la mitología de nuestra identidad personal, satisfaciendo en nosotros la demanda de narraciones y colaborando con la obligada construcción narrativa de la realidad.¨
Javier Goma Lazon. Para El País.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Majorelle gardens in Marrakech, Morocco

Majorelle gardens, Marrakech, Morocco. Picture by Alamy

Jacques Majorelle is born in 1886 in Nancy (France). In 1919 he settles in Marrakech to continue his career of painter, where he acquires a ground which was going to become the Majorelle garden. Since 1947 he opens his garden's doors to the public. Following a car accident, he returns to france, where he dies in 1962. in 1980 Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent repurchase the garden and restore it.
Majorelle gardens. Picture from
Majorelle gardens. Picture from
Contrasts, the colors, the light games seem go out of one of the pictures of Jacques Majorelle. It was one of the more important collectors of plants of his era, and this is in this spirit than enlarges itself from day to day the flore of the garden. Plants of the five continents are exposed in an enchanting framework. This that was the workshop of Jacques Majorelle, inspiration place and of contemplation, shelters today the magnificent art collection Islamic of Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent. The originality of these places lies in the combination of a luxurious végétation and architectural elements allying sobriété and traditional aesthetic Moroccan. The power of the blue Majorelle participates in the freshness impression and of quiétude.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Trozos y Trazos. Relato urbano de Sandra Fontecilla

Barrio histórico en Chile. De
Un trocito de cielo me acompaña, el poste del alumbrado público ya está encendido, sin embargo, resulta aún innecesario, así como lo es por ahora, cubrirse de la suave brisa marina.
Es el norte de Chile, en un barrio costero indeterminado. Muros separan distancias breves entre casa y casa, vehículos incansables transitan. Los rostros de los paseantes no se miran, somos todos extranjeros, visitantes ocasionales que persiguen olas intentando grabarlas en su mente y cuerpo, para que perduren en los sentidos durante el largo y tedioso año en la capital.
Repentinamente todo sonido molesta. La ciudad me es ajena desde hace muchos años. Recorriendo el sector por las noches en largas y quedas caminatas, he observado cómo cada propietario intenta diferenciarse de la seguidilla de construcciones similares, realizadas claramente con fines de lucro y no buscando calidad de vida. Cada cual lo hace, sea con mansardas de madera que imita las naturales del sur o con ampliaciones de material ligero, pero más ostentosas que las casas mismas; así también, pisos altos con terrazas de estilos variopintos. En tan solo un pasaje -espacio menor a una calle- se encuentra de todo, esto es, la confusión mental de miles de seres humanos expresada en lo material y concreto de sus “creaciones”.
El estrato social no hace grandes distinciones en esta tendencia. He visto dicha realidad aplastante en barrios acomodados y pujantes. La diferencia está en que mientras más recursos tiene el dueño, más es la asesoría de ingenieros, arquitectos, diseñadores y un sinfín de nuevas especialidades, surgidas del mismo afán consumista que nos atraviesa a todos.
Desde los mozos años de juventud, disfrutaba de paseos similares con algún enamorado. El ver cómo cada quién hacía uso –y muchas veces abuso- de lo que era su propiedad privada, siempre me ha producido especial fascinación. Me gusta la diversidad, mas junto a ella, mis requerimientos estéticos exigen armonía y la adecuada distribución de los espacios. Entonces surge una contradicción que atraviesa todas las áreas de mi vida: por un lado el rechazo a lo acomodaticio y a la monotonía y, por otro, la necesidad de equilibrio. Pero tal vez este último se halla, precisamente, en el desajuste necesario a la norma, establecida como válida universalmente para todos. Todo depende, eso sí, de la azarosa elección de cada cual y de los recursos utilizados.
Hoy paseo por esta ciudad en horas que los habitantes de la misma ya moran el interior de sus construcciones, mas dejan una huella -como todos nosotros en cada cosa por nosotros creada- de su concepción del mundo a través de ellas.
Bellavista, un barrio en Chile. De
Barrio Lastarria en Chile. De
Conozca a la autora Sandra Fontecilla:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Shots from the video Pigs, by Pink Floyd

If pigs could fly....

¨You radiate cold shafts of broken glass.
You're nearly a good laugh,
Almost worth a quick grin.
You like the feel of steel,
You're hot stuff with a hatpin,
And good fun with a hand gun.
You're nearly a laugh,
You're nearly a laugh
But you're really a cry.¨

Friday, May 20, 2011

CALL FOR PAPERS: 65th Society of Architectural Historians. Annual Meeting 2012

Members and friends of the Society of Architectural Historians are invited to submit abstracts by June 1st for the thematic sessions listed below. All abstracts must reflect the theme of the sessions, which cover topics across all time periods and architectural styles with an international scope. Interdisciplinary papers are encouraged. Some topics include: epistemology of architectural history, architectural representations, material in architectural history, topographies, Medieval architecture, Modern architecture, architecture and privilege, Gothic architecture, landscape architecture, institutional architecture, built environments, architecture and economics/capital, and shrinking cities. Date: April 18-22 2012

Ttitles of the paper sessions below:
Read more:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Call for architectural visualisations of 10 dimensional space

Submission Guidelines
This project is a laboratory for ideas and the imagination. If you are interested in participating in this experiment please fill out the application information and return by email. You will then be notified as to how to proceed.
Collaborations between artists and scientists are encouraged. All applicants will need to do the necessary research into physics theory. All final visual design solutions will be submitted as PDF files. Three finalists will be chosen from all submissions. This is the first exploratory stage of the project. There is no honorarium at this time, nor any fees.

Hyper-Public Symposium. Harvard University

Hyper-Public: A Symposium on Designing Privacy and Public Space in the Connected World // June 9-10, 2011 // Harvard University

Hosted by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society
Technology is transforming privacy and reshaping what it means to be in public. Our interactions—personal, professional, financial, etc.—increasingly take place online, where they are archived, searchable, and easily replicated. Our activities in the physical worlds are digitized by the ubiquitous cameras operated by store-owners, government agencies and our friends, who post and tag pictures of us. We share our location both deliberately, via social media updates, and inescapably, via our location-aware telephones.
Discussions of privacy often focus solely on the question of how to protect privacy. But a thriving public sphere, whether physical or virtual, is also essential to society. The balance of social mores and personal freedom in these spaces is what makes cooperation and collective action possible.
Design reflects a society’s beliefs about private and public life. A city with welcoming parks, plazas and verandas expresses a public culture – and one where blank garage-door walls line empty streets does not. Yet design is also an agent of change. New media are our new public forums and the design of their interfaces affects what people reveal, wittingly or not. Design is essential in making legible the line between private and public, and in showing people the significance of the information they are revealing. Most importantly, in an era in which technology is collapsing the boundaries that maintained our privacy, we must understand how design can promote tolerance. For as our world becomes more public, it is only with heightened tolerance that we can maintain the freedom we value in privacy.
This symposium will bring together computer scientists, ethnographers, architects, historians, artists and legal scholars to discuss how design influences privacy and public space, how it shapes and is shaped by human behavior and experience, and how it can cultivate norms such as tolerance and diversity.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Metropol Parasol by arch. Jürgen Mayer. In Sevilla, Spain

Photo: Turismo de Sevilla
The Metropol Parasol sweeps majestically up out of the Plaza de la Encarnacion in Seville, Spain. The world's largest wooden structure, it was completed only last month.
Marcia Argyiades writes:
"The exceedingly developed infrastructure aids in triggering the movement at the square, thus transforming it into a hive of activity – a social and cultural hub where both residents, visitors and tourists can gather under the architecturally motivating "crown-like waffle"."
Metropol Paraosol Picture by Fernando Alba
Metropol Paraosol Picture by Fernando Alba
Project: Metropol Parasol
Redevelopment of Plaza de la Encarnacion, Seville, Spain
Function: archeological site, farmers market, elevated plaza, multiple bars and restaurants
Site area: 18,000 square meters
Building area: 5,000 square meters
Total floor Area: 12,670 square meters
Number of floors: 4
Height of the building: 28.50 meters
Structure: concrete, timber and steel
Principal Exterior: timber and granite
Principal interior material: concrete, granite and steel
Designing period: 2004-2005
Construction period: 2005-2011
Building/Cost: 90 Million Euro
El Metropol Parasol, conocido popularmente como las Setas de la Encarnación es una estructura de madera, la más grande del mundo, ubicada en la céntrica plaza de la Encarnación de la ciudad de Sevilla, en la comunidad autónoma de Andalucía (España). Tiene unas dimensiones de 150 x 70 metros y una altura aproximada de 26 metros, y fue el proyecto ganador del concurso abierto por el Ayuntamiento de Sevilla para llevar a cabo la rehabilitación de la plaza en la que se ubica; su diseñador fue el arquitecto berlinés Jürgen Mayer.
Las obras comenzaron el 26 de junio de 2005, con un coste estimado de 50 millones de euros, y atravesaron serias dificultades hasta 2010. Una vez solventadas y tras haber elevado el coste del proyecto hasta los 86 millones de euros, fue inaugurado el 27 de marzo de 2011, después de que su incremento económico, su aspecto y su ubicación hubiesen provocado una fuerte polémica durante su construcción.1
Debido a su estructura, que tiene forma de hongos, es conocido popularmente como las Setas de la Encarnación. Sus instalaciones albergan un mercado con locales comerciales y de restauración, una plaza de espectáculos, un mirador y el museo Antiquarium.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Estancia Los Cerrillos, de Juan Manuel de Rosas

Estancia Los Cerrillos. Foto de Walter Pontalti
Reproducción del artículo de Silvia Long-Ohni, para La Nación, sección Campo:

Fue lento y duro el avance de los españoles sobre la pampa hacia el sur de la incipiente Buenos Aires. Allá, en cercanías del Salado, la situación era siempre de riesgo, pues los malones asolaban las estancias desde que éstas comenzaron a surgir, a comienzos del siglo XVIII.
Para dificultar los arreos de ganado, en 1760, el rey aprobó el despliegue de guardias militares más allá de la originaria línea de fortines. Pero sólo en 1776 el gobernador Vértiz dio cumplimiento a la ordenanza y dispuso la construcción de cinco puestos de avanzada que fueron matriz de actuales poblaciones.
El teniente coronel Francisco Juan Betvezé estableció el fortín de la Guardia de San Miguel del Monte Gárgano, nombre dado por el cerro napolitano en que San Miguel se apareció para señalar una gruta con forma de iglesia, más tarde convertida en lugar de peregrinación. En 1778 amparaba un pequeño caserío sobre la orilla norte, cerca de la boca del arroyo Totoral. La población era de ocho familias, pero otras se sumaron pronto y el 18 de noviembre de 1789 se informaba al virrey la construcción de una capilla: esa fecha sirve hoy para memorar la fundación de San Miguel del Monte.
En 1820, los socios Juan Manuel de Rosas, Juan Nepomuceno Terrero y los hermanos Luis y Manuel Dorrego, compraron a don Julián del Molino Torres la estancia Los Cerrillos, situada a pocos kilómetros de allí, verdadero fuerte, además, protegido por fosos y cañones. Allí levantó Rosas su rancho famoso y dio vida a un importante centro ganadero y agrícola, dotado nada menos que con 60 arados.
Rosas era meticuloso y quiso que hubiera una policía de campaña; ese mismo año con más de cien de sus peones y los de varios estancieros más creó un cuerpo de milicianos que se conocería como "Los Colorados del Monte". De todo eso hoy quedan dos presencias: una es ese escuadrón reaparecido en Monte como formación simbólica en 1979 y al que en 1994 se admitió como guardia de honor del gobernador de la provincia. La otra, ese célebre rancho de Rosas, único exponente en pie de sus pertenencias, cuidado durante más de un siglo por la familia Bemberg, que había llegado a ser propietaria de Los Cerrillos. Es una típica construcción bonaerense de su época; el techo consta de un entramado tipo bambú, con espadaña y atado con tientos de cuero de potro. Tiene paredes de barro y paja, de unos 45 cm de espesor y la planta es de tipo "chorizo", con cuatro habitaciones sucesivas.
Luego de un acuerdo con Otto Bemberg para remover la edificación, en 1987 se la trasladó los 30 kilómetros que distaban de Monte y se la emplazó en el solar que ocupó la primitiva Guardia, en la intersección de las calles Belgrano y Rosas. El edificio fue extraído de cuajo y asentado sobre tres vigas de concreto de 25 metros de largo y ocho cruzadas de 8 metros; para el traslado usaron un carretón de 120 ruedas, sobre el que se lo puso con criques hidráulicos: fue el primer traslado de una construcción de adobe hecho en América del Sur.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Flash. By Italo Calvino

Image from
It happened one day, at a crossroads, in the middle of a crowd, people coming and going.
I stopped, blinked: I understood nothing. Nothing, nothing about anything: I didn’t understand the reasons for things or for people, it was all senseless, absurd. And I started to laugh. What I found strange at the time was that I’d never realized before.
That up until then I had accepted everything: traffic lights, cars, posters, uniforms, monuments, things completely detached from any sense of the world, accepted them as if there were some necessity, some chain of cause and effect that bound them together.
Then the laugh died in my throat, I blushed, ashamed. I waved to get people’s attention and ‘Stop a second!’ I shouted, ‘there’s something wrong! Everything’s wrong! We’re doing the absurdest things! This can’t be the right way! Where will it end?’
People stopped around me, sized me up, curious. I stood there in the middle of them, waving my arms, desperate to explain myself, to have them share the flash of insight that had suddenly enlightened me: and I said nothing. I said nothing because the moment I’d raised my arms and opened my mouth, my great revelation had been as it were swallowed up again and the words had come out any old how, on impulse.
‘So?’ people asked, ‘what do you mean? Everything’s in its place. All is as it should be. Everything is a result of something else. Everything fits in with everything else. We can’t see anything absurd or wrong!’
And I stood there, lost, because as I saw it now everything had fallen into place again and everything seemed natural, traffic lights, monuments, uniforms, towerblocks, tramlines, beggars, processions; yet this didn’t calm me down, it tormented me.
‘I’m sorry,’ I answered. ‘Perhaps it was me that was wrong. It seemed that way. But everything’s fine. I’m sorry,’ and I made off amid their angry glares.
Yet, even now, every time (often) that I find I don’t understand something, then, instinctively, I’m filled with the hope that perhaps this will be my moment again, perhaps once again I shall understand nothing, I shall grasp that other knowledge, found and lost in an instant.

China. Image from
The Flash. In the book Numbers in the Dark and Other Stories by Italo Calvino. USA 1995. P. 9-10

Friday, May 13, 2011

Masdar Institute. Abu Dhabi. By Foster and partners

" The global financial crisis has derailed construction all over the world — even in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates. But certain megaprojects continue to march ahead, though with tighter budgets, more pragmatic goals, and less ambitious schedules. One such project is Masdar City, in Abu Dhabi. In 2007, the government-owned Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company chose a consortium led by London-based Foster + Partners to design the master plan for the 2.3-square-mile development it touted as the world’s first zero-carbon city. Originally slated for completion by 2016, plans for Masdar included housing, cultural institutions, educational and research facilities, and space for tenants focused on the development of advanced energy technologies.

“Masdar is still a compact, high-density, mixed-use development, with well-integrated public transport and a street design that enforces walkable communities and neighborhoods,” says Jurgen Happ, a Foster associate partner.
The planning principles that Happ cites are evident in the first piece of the development — 680,000 square feet of a 3.7 million-square-foot campus designed by Foster for the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. Occupied since November, the completed portion of this graduate-level university dedicated to the study of sustainability comprises a laboratory, a library, and student housing.
Masdar Institute’s campus combines high-tech materials and technologies, like ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) cladding for the laboratory buildings, with features that take their cues from the region’s vernacular, such as glass-reinforced concrete mashrabiya screens that shield the residential buildings’ balconies."

Masdar officials envision that the city will cover 2.3 square miles, as depicted in this rendering, and have a daytime population of 90,000 by 2025.
Excerpts from the article by Sona Nambiar and Joann Gonchar, AIA.
All pictures downloaded from

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

El sepulcro de San Pedro en el Vaticano

Tumba de San Pedro, Vaticano. Copyright Ray Williams Jr
Basílica de San Pedro en el Vaticano. Imagen de
Reproduzco debajo el interesante artículo de Mariano de Vedía para La Nación, acerca de la tumba de San Pedro dentro de la basílica del mismo nombre, y agrego otros datos ilustrativos:
La Basílica de San Pedro esconde en su interior una máquina del tiempo, que conduce a los orígenes más entrañables de la historia cristiana. Las excavaciones iniciadas en los tiempos del papa Pío XII, entre 1939 y 1958, permitieron reconstruir el camino al corazón de la Iglesia: el lugar donde fueron depositados los restos del apóstol San Pedro, víctima de la persecución de Nerón, en el año 67 de nuestra era.
Hoy ese sitio puede visitarse, en grupos reducidos, y a medida que se desciende en un trayecto serpenteante, rodeado por sepulturas paganas y cristianas de los primeros dos siglos de la era cristiana, es inevitable sentir un impacto interior tan profundo como el silencio y los secretos que guardan los muros que sobrevivieron a los tiempos.
Por tradición, siempre se supo que en el siglo IV, en la colina vaticana, sobre el sitio donde se había colocado la tumba de Pedro, en medio de un cementerio en las afueras de Roma, el emperador Constantino había construido una basílica en agradecimiento a su conversión al cristianismo, luego de que una cruz se le apareciera en el cielo y lo ayudara a triunfar en la batalla de Majencio, en el año 312.
Todavía vivían en ese tiempo descendientes de los cristianos que habían acompañado a los apóstoles y conocían el lugar donde había sido sepultado Pedro y al que muchos iban a venerar.
Tan identificada tenía Constantino la sencilla y austera sepultura que la hizo proteger con una urna funeraria, conocida como Trofeo de Gayo, luego sellada con un muro rojo, para evitar que fuera afectada por eventuales represalias y filtraciones de agua. Ese signo indicaba que allí se encontraba alguien digno de ser venerado.
La basílica de Constantino construida sobre ese tesoro perduró durante doce siglos, hasta que fue demolida para levantar la actual Basílica de San Pedro, en el siglo XVI. Bajo el templo, todo quedó cubierto de tierra, hasta que las excavaciones de Pío XII permitieron reconstruir el sendero a las primeras tumbas y localizar la sepultura de Pedro.
Tras remover más de 50.000 metros cúbicos de tierra, los arqueólogos recuperaron 22 sepulturas y descifraron inscripciones muy significativas en los muros, como las que señalan "Petros eni" ("Pedro está aquí") y otros signos llamativos, como la letra P con tres rayas horizontales que forman el dibujo de una llave.
La sepultura se encuentra justo debajo del Altar de la Confesión, que señala el nivel de la basílica constantiniana en la actual Basílica de San Pedro, y por encima de ella está el imponente Baldaquín de Bernini, que custodia no sólo el altar donde hoy celebra el Papa, sino el origen más estremecedor de la era cristiana.
Sepulcro de San Pedro. Foto bajada de
De la página he leído sobre el arqueólogo jesuita que identificó la tumba:
El Padre jesuita Antonio Ferrua, arqueólogo que identificó la tumba y las reliquias del Apóstol San Pedro bajo la Basílica vaticana.
El P. Ferrua encabezó las excavaciones arqueológicas de la Basílica de San Pedro, desde 1944 hasta 1949, por encargo del Papa Pío XII, y bajo su liderazgo se encontró la cripta auténtica y los “graffiti” que disiparon toda posible duda sobre la ubicación de la tumba de San Pedro en la colina vaticana.
Por cuenta del mismo Papa, el P. Ferrua dirigió también la reconstrucción de la basílica de San Lorenzo, gravemente dañada por los bombardeos sobre Roma del 19 de julio de 1943.
Durante más de cincuenta años, el sacerdote jesuita se desempeñó como catedrático del Pontificio Instituto de Arqueología Cristiana; y desde 1948 fue conservador del Museo Sacro de la Biblioteca Vaticana.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Orange Cube in Lyon, France

"Completed last fall, the 67,640-square-foot building, which contains a ground-floor furniture showroom and offices above, is perched on a river’s edge in a converted industrial zone in Lyon, France. Surrounded mostly by gray, modern structures, the six-story box, with its conical gashes and pulsating orange veil, is the life of the party.
On any given day, you’ll find locals and tourists alike gathering outside the building, studying its unusual features and snapping photos.

It’s a brazen work of architecture for any city, particularly Lyon. While one of the most progressive industrial centers in the 19th century and home of the visionary urbanist Tony Garnier (1869-1948), Lyon has become fairly subdued in recent decades. The city has, however, embarked on various endeavors to boost its cosmopolitan character. In the 1990s, it opened Cité Internationale, a 37-acre mixed-use project by Renzo Piano. More recently, it set out to redevelop a run-down harbor district dominated by warehouses. It is here, in the new “Lyon Confluence” district — so named because it occupies the tip of a peninsula where the Saône and Rhône rivers meet — that the Orange Cube enlivens the landscape.
In January 2006, Jakob + MacFarlane won a competition to design the building that would become the Orange Cube. No tenants were lined up at the time; the brief simply called for an eye-catching structure on a half-acre site. “The idea was to have a competition, get iconic buildings, and, through this interesting architecture, get someone to pay for it all,” explains MacFarlane. The building’s first two floors had to accommodate cultural programming, while the upper levels would house offices. The brief also stipulated that the building envelope not fill the entire site, that it have a certain amount of negative space.
That last requirement inspired the architects to create a box pierced by three large voids oriented toward the water. “The most obvious solution, from our point of view, was to take the negative space and treat it as a cutout from the whole,” says MacFarlane. “It seemed like a good of way of making something interesting out of the project.”
Excerpts from:
Article by Jenna M. McKnight
All pictures from


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