Monday, July 15, 2013

Michel Rojkind and Victor Legorreta at the RA

This weekend I went twice to the Royal Academy of Arts to the talks of Mexican Architects.  The first talk on Saturday was by architect Michel Rojkind.
It was amazing, I liked very much the friendly and social approach to all of his projects, they are quite innovative and he thinks of people.  He is an excellent story teller and all the public was captured by his talk. He is a people person, and he reflects that in his architecture... the project that impact me the most was the on-site extension of la Cineteca Nacional.
I loved this place since I was very young and used to live in Satélite; as I am a film lover remember driving every weekend there. Later I was lucky enough to live in Coyoacan so I travelled there by bike.  I was very impressed by the fact that Rojkind's project involves the whole area of the Cineteca, he includes the Archives in his plan and leaves the old Cineteca building untouched, giving tribute to the history of this old building.  The new project is an amazing building which connects the old one with the new extension and adds a new big green open area for watching movies outside.  What I loved the most is that he gets rid of the parking area, something I found brilliant, because it was really a pity that such an amazing place was mostly an ugly parking lot.  I admire the courage he had in avoiding the regulations that force you to have certain amount of cars... I think it is time that people in Mexico get used to public transport to arrive to such important centres.

I was really happy to see that such a high quality architecture is taking place in my country.

The second talk, however was not at all inspiring.  This talk was by architect Victor Legorreta. Nevertheless I decided to go to the RA again on Sunday because the talk was going to be opened by Richard Rogers, an architect I do admire.
I have to say that I enjoyed just the beginning when he showed works such as the famous Camino Real Hotel in Mexico City, which is in my opinion one of the most beautiful hotels in the world.  But then he started showing the rest of his work.  Most of them were houses, i.e. villas for really absurd rich people, which show no sensibility at all for the impact those kind of constructions have nowadays in our planet, and even less sensibility to show how these people live in a country like Mexico where most of the population lives in poverty.  All the Mexican components that made Barragán Architecture famous worldwide were used in these opulent houses without the minimum taste at all.  It is absurd and offensive in my opinion the display of all this extravagance and wealth.  And even more offensive that these symbols of Modern Mexican Architecture are used in such bad-taste designs.  I was wondering where was all the beauty and sobriety of the hotel Camino Real left?  All these new buildings were "pastiches", they were of course too showy but the worse thing is that they were so tacky as well!
I wanted to stay for the question time... but then he started showing the things he has done in Qatar and the display of bad taste came to a peak... so we have to leave and enjoy the Sun and see the beauty of the work of El Anatsui, which is covering the facade of the RA for the Summer Exhibition.



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