random thoughts on architecture history theory and criticism

the other hulks: aml’s a-z of latin american concrete

i was very annoyed this morning to find “the incredible hulks: jonathan meades’ a-z of brutalism’ in my feed. the post links to an article promoting a new tv series about brutalism which, disclaimer, i haven’t seen. what annoyed me is admittedly a minor point. of course, mr. meades is writing about english brutalism, and it is fine that it should take center stage. his a-z includes several other english-speaking countries (the usa, canada, australia), as well as several other european countries and as far as i can find, one asian example by little-known architect kenzo tange /irony in japan. perhaps this might have been well enough, if not for meades’ zapotec (see, for z). i understand he must have needed a z to complete his alphabet, but i couldn’t help but read it as the only gesture towards latin america. and as an architecture historian that works on twentieth century latin america, this hurts. apologies in advance to africa and asia (i don’t think one japanese building is enough, no), but i’m going to step up for my area of study and offer an alternative a-z of latin american brutalism (or, as i’d rather title it, of concrete. reyner banham did his best, but the term covers a broad range and i like to be precise). here, without much research and basically done in a couple of hours of procrastination, is my own gimmicky alphabet (yes, i’ve cheated a lot with the names and last names, but you get the point: there are many wonderful examples. now you can go google them). i’ll try to add some links in the coming days, but for now i’ve tried to point to some specific works.


Arquitetura nova, students of vilanova artigas that contested his collaboration with the military dictatorship. works combined brazilian return to vernacular rough materials with paulista school affinity for concrete.


lina Bo Bardi. italian architect relocated to brazil. see masp, sesc pompeia.


eduardo Catalano. argentinian architect, works include the school of architecture in buenos aires and the student center at mit.


emilio Duhart, chilean architect, work includes the cepal (santiago, 1960-66).


Eladio dieste. preferred brick but was a master of concrete shells and vaults also.


sergio Ferro, of architetura nova. challenged the work of niemeyer and artigas as implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) complicit with the economic politicies of the military dictatorship.


carlos Gómez Gavazzo. uruguayan architect and urban planner, professor and historian.

H, see parque cultural valparaíso (valparaíso, 2011).


flávio Império, paulista architect part of arquitetura nova.


Julio vilamajó. uruguayan architect, a modernist that transitioned from loosian-style house to the early brutalism of his school of engineering (designed 1936, built 1945-53).


juscelino Kubitschek. brazilian politician, mayor of pampulha and president of brazil that promoted the building of brasilia, full of brutalist and other modern works.


rino Levi, paulista architect. see edificio da fiesp (completed after his death, são paulo, 1979)

rodrigo Lefèvre, paulista architect part of arquitetura nova.


MMM roberto, the firm of brothers mauricio, marcelo, and milton roberto. modernists, really, but i couldn’t resist the triple m.

paulo Mendes da rocha, brazilian architect, several projects. i like the mube and the st. peter chapel, both in são paulo.


Nelson bayardo. see urnario no. 2 (montevideo, 1961).


ruy Ohtake, brazilian architect. see hotel unique, são paulo.


mario Payssé reyes, uruguayan architect. see edificio de la cancillería uruguaya with perla estable, carlos peluffo, nayla laxalde, and marcelo payssé (buenos aires, 1978)

mario Pani, mexican architect. see unam (1950-53) and housing at tlatelolco (1964).


antonio Quintana, cuban architect. see edificio girón (habana, 1967).


affoso eduardo Reidy, architect of pedregulho (1947) and the mam (1954-1967) at rio.

pedro Ramírez vásquez, mexican architect. see museo de antropología and museo del caracol (mexico city, 1961).


Sepra, partners with clorindo testa in the bank of london. stands for sánchez elía, federico peralta ramos and agostini.


clorindo Testa. argentinian architect, designed the bank of london and the national library, both in buenos aires.


Unctad III y centro cultural metropolitano, original building by covacevic, gaggero, echenique, medina, and gonzález (santiago, 1972) in the government of salvador allende. repurposed by the pinochet dictatorship into edificio diego portales, repurposed again in the government of michelle bachelet as the gam (centro cultural gabriela mistral) by architect christian fernández.


Vilanova artigas, são paulo architect and pedagogue of the paulista school.


amancio Williams. see casa del puente, 1943-45.


enrique Xavier de anda alanís, mexican architect and historian of twentieth century architecture in mexico! (i needed an x—unfair though because I could start a whole new category of latin american architecture historians).


Y extra chromosome most latin american architects seem to have, due to historiographic problems having to do with secondary position women were often relegated to. latin american female architects do exist though, they are behind several of the main architects named here but their names are often relegated to secondary positions and difficult to find.

enrique Yáñez de la Fuente, mexican architect, see hospital adolfo lópez mateos (mexico city 1968) [ht Luis Carranza!]


abraham Zabludovsky and teodoro gonZález de león, mexican architects. see museo tamayo de arte contemporáneo (mexico city, 1979-1981).

ps. you will note there are other centers here: argentina, brazil, mexico, uruguay. this list reproduces these tendencies more than i would like, but this is a blog post. these are the things i’ll try to correct in my career as a historian.


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2013-14 ACSA Awards

I am very happy that my article, “Prisoners of Ritoque: The Open City and the Ritoque Concentration Camp” has been selected for the JAE Scholarship of Design Award, as part of the 2013-14 ACSA Awards. This piece was so difficult and challenging to write, particularly for the parts that did not go into it–the stories of pain and suffering caused by the dictatorship. I am also very fortunate to have gotten detailed responses to the piece by Chilean colleagues, including architect Miguel Lawner, a prisoner himself at the camp. It has been a privilege for me to have him read my attempt to capture this complicated history. Finally, as the piece was in production I got to visit both the Open City and what little remains of the Ritoque concentration camp. You can see those images here. Many thanks to Josefina de la Maza and Germán Heufemann who made it possible. You can download the article here.

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