El Carmen: Rodriguez-Acosta
Author: Rafael Moneo Photographs: Francisco Fernández Fundación Rodríguez-Acosta, Granada, 2001
The discovery of an album of photographs in which José María Rodríguez-Acosta captured for posterity, between 1916 and 1928, the successive phases of the building of his carmen, and the possibility of collating these images with drawings achived in the Granada foundation named after him, have inspired me to explore, once again, an exceptional work of architecture. Aware of the complexity of the material, I will try to examine the parts played in the building of the carmen by its architects on one hand, and by the client on the other, the painter José María Rodríguez-Acosta. One must consider that he was already a man in his prime when construction of his studio-house began, and that he had chosen the site after painstaking reflection. When in 1913 he decided on this rugged terrain, practically an escarpment between the callejón Niños des Rollo and the street called Aire Alta, he envisioned a singular construction that would make his studio a lookout over the city. Indeed the choice of site was just another deference to the Alhambra, as the painter deliberately stayed clear of what in those days was Granada's pride and most coveted, up-market zone, the Grand Vía. It seconded the initiative taken by the Duke of San Pedro who, keen on boosting the city's tourist industry, had commissioned the architect López Otero to build the Hotel Alhambra Palace just a stone's throw away from where Rodríguez-Acosta would be having his carmen.