Africa influenced Europe since 1900, when African Art started to feed the imagination of European artists. In Africa, the link between space and structure is different: they seem to belong to the same order, affecting all kind of forms. Afro Hairs can be considered an act of formal perfection: a same element becomes structure and form...
This idea, to alter some matter by manipulating just single elements, is a constant in every african artistic expresion, and quite spectacular in Music. Architecture should explore this idea: to modell each individual form and then to mix different ones, and not the opposite. A single element can be transformed in something complex, analysing specific spatial condiditons (horizontality, gravity), and new structural configurations (towards flexible materiality and organic spaces). I would not mind a building to be treated like the ladies' hair... but if we extend the idea towards a bigger space... Perhaps we do not search too deeply into other civilisation's roots, which means we are not curious enough... Please, have a look at this houses from the Wambutu people, don't you think their conception is more than modern? What kind of forms could we reach?
Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu Architects 2001 / Picture (fragment) from: "Untouched", The Emotions, © Stax Records (circa 1970, photographer unknonw)
Baptism.of a ship. For a few seconds, when a big ship falls down its long platform to reach the water, it becomes a strange and fantastic thing. It is neither a building (as it was during construction), nor a mobile object, as it just goes down (slow and fast at the same time) following its own weight. It is not a ship yet, as it has no contact with the water, no wheels, no wings... actually, it seems to be a sort of territory in slow motion, out of control, like a prehistoric animal. Then, when the ship touches the water, a huge wave is formed and the monster becomes to float. Now it is like a shell to be adapted, it needs the machinery and the mechanisms to be set... what a different World.
Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2002 / Picture: Baptism of "Almirante Storni", Astilleros AFNE, Argentina. Photo by Pouchulu, 1977.
Bridges always hide something underneath_: that is what scares people's imaginery- This is the Book Fair under Waterloo Bridge, some Saturday afternoon. This magnificent space tells about another dimension, the bottom of the bridge, another reality which people from above ignore. What about the bottom of Architecture? Where is that? Is that a particular space?Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu Architects 2001 / Picture: Waterloo Bridge, London, winter 2002 Photo by Patricio Pouchulu.
Cinema. The notion of architectural space was strongly influenced by films: ideas like "spatial continuity" or "fragmented realities" were developed in films. But there is another aspect: the cinemas themselves. In no other place, neither urban nor suburban a fiction is framed by architecture in such a natural way. You get to the lobby, accepting that you start a trip. Then you keue, understanding that the experience is not so easy. Then in a few minutes you enter a slightly dark room, and you seat (in other words, you let yourself in hands of the space). After realising that you are not alone the light slowly dissapears in favor of the silence and finally the courtains reveal a screen, a mysterious window....
Conscience. This eye is looking at you, Architect. It is saying that you are doing wrong. Did you realised that Architecture could be as beautiful as an eye? Eyes are special: every person has a different spirit, and that spirit is unique, usually reflected in the eyes. I think every piece of architecture should be different. Architecture without a spirit is like an eye without a conscience, it is senseless. Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2001 / picture: Green eye: Picture from "Cokin" (fragment), circa 1981, (photographer unknown)
Donald Duck was developed in the final comic strip format by Carl Barks, following Walt Disney's character. Since 1943 and for more than twenty years, Carl created amazing spaces within sophisticated visual narrations, training the eye of those who followed that world into beautiful concepts of landscape and movement. As a child, I learnt about architectural realities by reading and exploring Carl's stories... Shall we, dear architects, educate the world by designing architecture in such a powerful and simple way? Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2001 / Picture: Frame by Carl Barks, extracted from "Luck of the North", circa 1950, courtesy © Walt Disney Productions.
Dreams is what the Universe is made of. Some artists were aware of this. Jorge Luis Borges knew it. Architecture, then, is a particular representation of those dreams. It is formed by spaces, sounds and sensations, as any dream. But more important: Architecture is made of memories projected into the future. Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2001 / Picture: Hannover World Fair 2000, photo by Pouchulu.
The Earth is a sphere, but architects ignore it. Most of our architectural knowledge is still based on pre-Euclidian Geometry: what we consider a straight line has been meassured according to the centre of our planet, and it is a perfect curve. Actually, all our buildings are horizontally curved, as well as routes, higways and railways. I would like architecture to react in favor of organic patterns, as they naturally represent the idea of freedom. This idea, as perhaps part of the spirit of an idealistic kingdom, can only be found -as a sort of urban statement- in the way paths and streets are designed in Great Britain. Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2002 / Picture courtesy of NASA, USA © NASA 2000.
Fantasia is a concept from Music we should pay attention to. It is our obligation to dream and to build our dreams. Mario Palanti, contemporary and friend of Sant' Elia, went to Buenos Aires in 1913. He built in Argentina the most amazing surreal stuff. His forms and spaces are sometimes eclectic or neoclassical, always organicist and innovative, like Pasaje Barolo (1923) or this project for a Tempo Votivo (1913). He was perhaps the last Romantic Architect who believed we must leave a lasting message for coming generations. Fantasia: 1. A fanciful composition observing no strict musical form. 2. A medley of various themes, usu. with brilliant varations and embellishments.
Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2001 / Source: Funk & Wagnalls, Standard Encyclopedic Dictionary, 1969. Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2001 / Picture: "Progetto di Tempio votivo alla Pace Universale", © Mario Palanti, circa 1913, from "Prima Esposizione Personale D'Architettura vella Republica Argentina, Arch. M. Palanti", Milano 1917.
This woman has painted her feet's nails in a way that the presence of those images deal with a spatial condition: the ring's tiny flowers point delicacy, the one at the right has an oriental aspect, the others show minimal bluish landscapes, suggesting far lands. Architecture implies more than a short, external visual scenery, it always affects our close spatial surroundings: if you cross this lady on the street and see her feet, you are (by sure) more affected by them than by any building around you. In that moment, what is more important, the lady or the buildings? Those nails have an intention, a background, they have changed her own space and perhaps yours, even if that happend for a few seconds. Architecture needs this quality, the possibility for surprising in a fresh way.
Picture: Nail Art, courtesy of Nailart 2000.
A forest is not just a place, it is a place by definition, like this unique forest in Germany. It is fairly ironical that in order to make architecture we have to destroy nature. Actually, architects are not conscious about this tragedy. That is one of the reasons why our civilisation is still unsecure about Architecture. In that sense, we have a tremendous responsability: to anticipate possible futures but within forests, prairies, rivers, mountains, deserts and valleys. Even future cities should get integrated in possible landscapes.Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2001 / Picture: Forest near Stanbergsee, Bavaria, July 1999. Photo by Pouchulu.
Gestalt is a unique German concept, that describes particular formal conditions that apply in essential things, like this unique forest in Germany. It is fairly ironical that in order to make architecture we have to destroy nature. Actually, architects are not conscious about this tragedy. That is one of the reasons why our new civilisation is still unsecure about Architecture. In that sense, we have a tremendous responsability: to anticipate new possible futures... but within forest, prairies, mountains, deserts and valleys. Even future cities should get integrated there... a new state of Gestalt is waiting to be created. Picture: Forest near Stanbergsee, Bavaria, July 1999. Photo by Pouchulu / Biek.
Our Hands are the most amazing gift of the Universe. While drawing, talking or singing, the hands describe images, movements, stories, creating a rare sense of space. Some people speak with their hands. Sometimes we remember a person because of his or her hands. Painters, sculptors, musicians, dancers, poets, all of them use their hands in a direct relation with the art. What a pitty: Architects are not using their hands anymore... Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2001 / Miriam Makeba's hand. From: record cover (frag) "Miriam Makeba" © Editions Syliphone Conakry, Paris, 1975. Photo: © B. Blin.
Holes are very curious. They produce different and complex reactions in our subconscious. The Universe is composed by mass and holes, every object or thing we know has some sort of holes. There are holes in macro or micro structures, within positive and negative reactions and appear during expansive and contraction movements. Holes are a reaction of mass after some energy's action. Holes have organic and erotic implicances. A stone can be perforated by water or wind. Holes have been studied and re-produced by Anish Kapoor, one of the best contemporary artists. Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2001 / ""Hole 13682". Stone collected in Seven Sisters, South of England, 1997.
An Image is something mysterious. Architecture can be seen, felt and understood through personal suggestions. Our mind ususally creates unnexpected images and spaces. This small stone seems to have some sort of ocean and (perhaps) a ship or an object. Architecture should see this kind of forms while imagining and designing a specific form. Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2002 / Picture: stone collected by Patricia Pouchulu in Misiones, Argentina. Photo from 2002.
IMAGINATION and creativity are the base of good Architecture. It is not easy to do something new, but it is the only way to create a new world. It does not mean to replace everything. I love Classicism, but it is non sense to reproduce the past: we cannot ignore our evolution. We must keep the treasures of our past, and at the same time, to look for new environments, forms, technologies, looking for a new spirit. Do you know that these spheres represent a city? Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2001 / Picture: "Mobile bubbles" Composition and photo by Pouchulu, 2002.
JAPAN always produced elegant, industrious, strong and beautiful objects and images... Their capacity for modelling reality is unique. Impossible to mistake Japanese things: landscapes, cities, costumes, design, paintings... however, due to their excessive, abstract conception of space, they did not integrate the European idea of morphological spaces. This, and the fact that they keep (intact) their need of exploring "outer" natural forces (like British, they live isolated within a limited territory) make them believe that everything can and will change following innovative and new conceptions. This, represented in their astonishing electronic and Anime industries, accelerated our global conscience... but killed the complex, late European sense of Romanticism. Is it possible to intagrete both lines of thinking? We try.
Kew Gardens' Palm House could be considered the first futuristic building and one of the best 10 pieces of architecture ever built. It was designed by Decimus Burton for the Queen's personal Garden and finished in 1848. Still there, in a mint condition, it holds the Tropical Collection of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Every time we go there is an amazing discovery, and endless surprise for our soul; reflecting the sky and the atmosphere, it always looks different... it is not a building: it is a perfect Organism. Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2001 / Picture: Palm House, (Decimus Burton, 1844-48) Kew Gardens, London. Photo by Pouchulu, 1998.
A leave inspires me... as it owns several architectural qualities. When was the last time you had a leave in your hands? Do not missunderstand me, i mean, when was the last time you spent a few minutes with a leave, admiring, inspecting, exploring it...? This leave comes from Paris, not far from Montparnasse. Please have a look at the nerves, going up and down, look the simetry: it is imperfect. Look the windering border, linking small spaces, some of them almost rectangular. Architect: please look at this leave: it might be a plan or even better, I think it is a secret map. Picture: leave collected in Paris by Patricia and Patricio Pouchulu, July 2001.
Legs represent an intriguing part of our body: they are delicate, very strong, active and quite sexy. Human Body could be taken again as our first architectural reference. Beyond classic, old antropomorphic concepts, we must renew our inspiration sources by exploring women's sensuality. Face and hands hold a delicate poetry, but if we pay attention to mayor curves, legs become a unique source of beauty. Dear architect: if you are unable to contemplate the legs of a beautiful woman and, afterwords, get some architectural feedback out of that -including specific morphological concepts- I guess you are lost. Picture: J. Birkin's legs (frag), from "Réalités", Mars 1969. © Réalités, Paris, 1969. (Photographer unknown)
Mushrooms have complementary inner and outer structures and a morphological organisation that shows natural geometrical patterns. Mushrooms evidence singularity, as each one is slightly different from the other; regularity, as there are sort of "prototypes" scattered in thousands of groups; and iregularity (or random) in the way they grow and expand under the forest. However, what interests me more, is the fact that a mushroom is a complete and finished piece of minimal architecture. Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2001 / Picture: "Hongos en el Delta del Tigre", 1994, photo by Pouchulu.
Neon tubes have transformed the perception of time. Buenos Aires -like London- smells like a huge machine, mixed with some strange oil and smoke flavours. This sensation, together with the neon tubes, gives at night a strange sense of urban atmosphere, creating an eternal night. Referring films, B.A. is a noire city, it hides secret architectural stories everywhere, the artificial space is transformed there in something surreal. Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2001 / Record cover (fragment) from: "Tangos Vol. II" , © Ariola Eurodisc, circa 1970 (photographer unknown).
Organic objects and spaces have been surrounding us since ever. A need for abstract statements has changed our perception towards dry spatial languages, like certain extremist Rationalism. Minimalism is the best expression of boring stuff. Architects must get some inspiration by analysing natural organisations and structures.
Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2001 / Picture: Water Sculpture (bottom) by Giulia Kosice, from Pouchulu's personal collection.
Production. Architecture could be produced as a plane; most of its components should be made in different factories and then mounted, like a plane. In that sense, every part becomes cheaper and more sophisticated, as it is individually controlled. Some attemps have been done in recent years. However, the appeareance of this kind of objects still reminds of an ordinary building, and they do not represent yet a new formal state. Picture: Pre-production Aircraft -Concorde 01- Engine ground test, picture from: "Concorde" © Aerospatiale France & British Aircraft Corporation, 1970.
WOMEN represent the Quintessence of life and the epitome of beauty. The delicate skin of women is one of the strongest existencial concepts: a conjunction of many meanings, attraction, sensuality and protection. Everything that surround us has some sort of skin, including our bodies and thoughts, they are covered by many types of skin, a link between a misterious interior, and our perception. Architecture -in spite of recent useless attemps of destroying the idea of materiality, becomes real only... if a skin or veil protects it, setting inner and outer states. Perhaps we might find, in the details of that woman's hand, a complete Universe... Picture: Woman's hand (frag) Copyright © Uwe Ommer 1995, from "Black Ladies", courtesy of Venedikt Taschen.
A red Rose, symbol of life, represents all the main concepts a new essential architecture should have: a strong visual impact; simple structure; irregular, non-geometrical organisation; morphological contrast against close external environments; integration with analog organisms; flexible formal evolution; a relatively fixed-home place; a renewable lasting time and some unforgettable detail, perhaps even the smell... who knows. Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2001 / Picture: "Rosas Rojas, Verano del 2000" Photo by Susanne Biek.
Saturn is a fascinating territory. As most of our planets, it can be considered an architectural statement. This picture shows how it was seen in the early forties. In those years we used to see it from one point of view only. However, nothing changed in the basic concept we have today of it. A simple combination: the sphere is surrounded by a flat ring. It is obvious that Architecture has lost its syntesis. Wright imagined the Guggenhaim, Le Corbusier saw his Ronchamp: they knew this quite well. We need to explore new formulas, but they must be simple. Architectural forms have no reason to be unclear or unnecesarily complex. Saturn is there to inspire us. Picture: Astronomie -Les Astres - L'Universe, Larousse © Augé, Gillon, Hollier-Larousse, Moreau et Cie, 1948.
Shells are the most interesting natural expressions of a possible structural Architecure. A shell is not only beautiful, it is strong, simple, it covers endless typologies. Shells have a revolutionary concept for developing a form that is structural and superficial at the same time. They have organic borders, a very well kept inner -sacred- space. Every shell shows as well direct traces of Architecture: the shell of the picture once was the home of an organism which was integrated in it, as we are with our contemporary spaces. Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2002 / Picture: Shell collected by Pouchulu in the south of Brazi, 1997. Photo from 2002.
Ships are architecture, but perfect. They do not depend on the architect's humor; they are thought and designed following the rules of Poseidon and the water. The structure is clear and rational; the surfaces are soft and the machinery is designed and built following logical procedures. The whole mobile building (that is what any ship is) includes minimal, functional rooms, communicated by stairs and corridors. Architecture should add the beauty and the function of a ship, plus an asymetrical sense of space.
Freedom, that is what a ship implies: but it is not just a form, it is an attitude of respecting the sea, the wind and the ocean. Architecture has to become part of the future, instead of being just a medium for destroying nature. Architecture needs a new spirit. Picture: The Dutch fleet preparing to set sail (frag) attributed to Adam Silo (1674-1760) Christies's catalogue, 1989.
The idea of "Skin" is one of the basic, strongest and oldest existencial concepts: everything we know, including our bodies and thoughts, is covered by some sort of skin. When we think of something we first imagine... the external appeareance, a link between a misterious interior and our perception. Architecture -in spite of recent attemps of destroying the idea of skin, becomes real by protecting spaces... with some sort of skin or veil.Perhaps we might find, in the details of that woman's hand, a complete Universe... Picture: Woman's hand (frag) Copyright © Uwe Ommer 1995, from "Black Ladies", Copyright © Venedikt Taschen Verlag GmbH 1997.
A Toy is a piece of Architecture. There is no big difference between a small model and the one-to-one actual object. We coud say, more precisely, that our imagination does not need the exact machine, space or building to understand it as real: Architects are like children, we cannot distinguish a model or maquette from the actual-sized object. For basic considerations such as design, shape, proportion, style, colours, the car shown above fulfills all the requirements; Even more: you can have it in your pocket, something difficult to do with the big one. Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2002 / Picture: Volkswagen 1600 TL, Matchbox, Series No 67, © Matchbox, England. Pouchulu's personal collection. Photo from 2002.
A TREE is an organism and a form that ennounces an essential space. It always becomes a piece of architecture by itself. This tree moves its branches like a hand, trying to capture the air or the sky; it is the home of birds and insects, and, while taking the picture, it was transformed in a piece of Architecture: it moved our imagination towards a different space. Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2001 / Picture: "Dual Tree", close to Starnberger See, Germany. Photo by Pouchulu and Susanne Biek, spring 2000.
The Birth of Venus is an architectonical statment: a birth is taking place in the coast, the Sea has offered a miracle; she appears standing, she is being introduced to the World. But a single element appears somehow abstract: the shell. The organic form becomes the main place in the act; it is an altar, a hand. Pure piece of architecture, the shell becomes a space. I believe architecture has to recover the sense of foundation. The shell is not only bringing her to the World: it has modified the sense of the painting. It is detached from all the characters and elements of the picture. Like any architectonical space, it certainly agrees on its condition of medium. And it is even more legal -as a piece of architecture- than any other ordinary building, as it cannot exist without Venus. The shell becomes a symbol of logical geometry: in other words, it suggests the idea of civilisation. Picture: "The Birth of Venus" (frag), by Sandro Boticelli (circa 1480), Courtesy Galeria Ufizzi, Florencia.
The WIND affects Architecture much more than we imagine, but somehow we reject to accept it. A plane is designed by the wind. This Concorde's original testing model in the wind tunnel (picture) inspires me since ever. Future forms will be strongly modelled by the elements. Wind, water, sand... Lines will tend to be simple and elegant, like the invisible traces of a dancer's body, floating in the air. Only then Architecture can recover from useless formal chaos. Picture: Wind tunnel test, Concorde 01, picture from: "Concorde" © Aerospatiale France & British Aircraft Corporation, 1970.
The XILOPHON is an instrument that has added a different, fresh sound in our sensibility. Its sounds are like drops of space touching warmth water... Sometimes Architecture does the same: we found a reflection or a texture following a trees's movement or -if we stand for a while- we see a shadow playing with the Sun. A possible future Architecture should act as a Xilophon, transforming our perception of reality into unknown, beautiful Worlds. Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2001 / Picture: "Snow in the Dark" (fragment) Photo by Pouchulu, Munich Winter 1999.
Yellow is an extraordinary color, it pops up our imagination, bringing a fresh and light perceptive condition. Architecture usually ignores yellow spaces and objects, but we generally admit yellow in machines (tools, cars, etc). Plants change their green into yellow and red in autumn or spring. Can you imagine a building that changes its appeareance all over the year? Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2002.
Zone. We are surrounded by hidden realities. Architecture has to push towards unknown knowledge zones, perceptive, visual, conceptual, technological... it depends on us to go further into the future or to get stuck in the past. A zone is waiting for you to be filled by your utopias and dreams.
Copyright © Patricio Pouchulu 2001 "La Gota Azul", Photo by Pouchulu, 2001.
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