The House: The Waken Desire

“An old house, a shadowy porch, tiles, a crumbling Arab decoration, a man sitting against the Wall, a deserted Street, a Mediterranean tree: this old photograph touches me: it is a quite simply there that I should like to live.” 
                   
Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida.

Architecture is frequently photographed, a way to describe the building. But photographs cannot neutrally translate space into two dimensions, the camera modifies the shape and proportions of the space around. The lens also isolates a small part of a complex environment that the creator manipulates in order to obtain an image that responds to the concept s/he wants to communicate. This studio will explore the relationship between architecture and photography, their relevance in its capacity to construct visual representations and imaginations focusing on one of the most important spaces: the house.

Photographs of Modern Architecture established their position as a “transparent” medium of representation and a powerful communication tool. However, architects such as Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe used to carefully selected the frame, avoid the use of human scales, and finally, to airbrush the photographs of their projects in order to show a more aesthetic image. They use to erase distracting elements such as ornamentation or cover surfaces in order to create more sharp geometries. The more striking modifications were the elimination of the context or references of the sites.

The actual image of architecture hasn’t changed from those of the beginning of last century. We have reached the point where we design through perfect Photoshop files. Our aesthetics values had changed focusing in the 2D image rather than the material and sensorial qualities of the space. The studio aim is to examine critically the statement of the contemporary architectural image, and the imaginary that mass media, social networks and advertisements have established about housing. Through photographs students will design the contemporary idea of housing, a space that should be habitable and not just appealing.

A field trip to Mexico City is tentatively planned to visit iconic buildings of Mexican architecture, such as constructions by Luis Barragan, Juan O’Gorman and Mario Pani.