Seeking Intersections: Architecture and (Sub) Urbanism in Argentina, Exhibition in Rhode Island, USA

Exposición sobre la obra de dos estudios de arquitectos argentinos -Rohm-Ibarlucia y KLM Kelly-Lestard-Maldonado- en la Escuela de Roger Williams de Arquitectura, Arte y Preservación Histórica, Rhode Island, EE.UU.

At the Roger Williams School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation, Rhode Island, USA.

An Architecture that seeks creative, simple, and specific ideas.
An Architecture, both realized and not realized, grounded in order, modulation, spatial exploration and material textures.
An Architecture based in constructive creativity, never understood as fashion (or mimesis).
An Architecture that searches for specific responses to each site and place.
An Architecture that merges, contrasts, modifies and transforms contexts (some times known yet often, anonymous contexts).
An Architecture that attempts to integrate materials, geometry and nature.
An Architecture that opens up fantasy, memory, time, and meaning.
An Architecture that attempts to use air, light, wind and rain as elements for design.
An Architecture understood as function and program, while at the same time as presenting mysterious and refined spatial qualities.
An Architecture capable of resisting chaos and confusion, presenting ideas and constructing spaces of singular qualities.
An Architecture that can be apprehended through movement and through time.
An Architeture understood as a complex artistic action, permitting multiple readings and interpretations.
An Architecture that, as point of departure of a shared path, cannot be conveyed through images, as it is an architecture that can only be comprehended through the expericence of the work itself.

The exhibition is about the work of two argentine architects who are about to turn forty. At this stage in our lives and careers, it was interesting to reflect upon our production and exercise the synthesis necessary for this kind of show. Seeking Intersections refers to the necessity for diversification our local reality instigates, and to our acceptance of the challenge this diversification entails.
What are the particularities of professional work in Argentina? Like most countries in Latin America, government instability and economic crises have produced cyclic (8/10 year) processes of euphoria followed by deep recession in work conditions. This has almost prevented the emergence of large offices and generated a tendency by relatively young, recently graduated individuals to conform small firms that can sustain themselves with fewer commissions, personnel, and less infrastructure. We belong to this species of professional that tries to deal with a tough reality by keeping a connection with Academia, pursuing personal investigation projects and intending to diversify commissions through competitions and directed job searches.
In Argentina, where the more prestigious academic institutions have been traditionally run by the state, full academic dedication is presently practically impossible due to low wages and the condition of ‘budgetary emergency’ acquired by some of the Schools, like the one of Architecture an Urbanism of the University of Buenos Aires. Aspects like the difficulty of concretion suffered by work derived from competitions and urban design commissions in general, as well as the fact that practically all public space necessities are resolved internally by municipal employees, have rendered larger scale work progressively inaccessible. In spite of this situation we have persevered in maintaining our teaching positions and in the search for work possibilities within the urban realm, considering the interaction between urban and architectural projects fundamental in the configuration of the contemporary metropolis.
This condition has also produced a decline of the figure of the architect in collective conscience, firstly because of the limited notion of the architect being ‘the one who projects houses’, secondly because architects have silently accepted that role due to the difficulties the reality we described has generated. In this process Architecture loses integrity as a profession in relation to the superficiality of its production that is geared towards the minorities that can pay for a design. Conversely, the architect‘s figure is also downgraded as he is considered the provider of a luxury few can afford rendering his services progressively unnecessary for the majority of society.
Seeking for intersections between professional practice, academic work and personal investigation interests is what we have found to be an alternative to surpass the pressures and irregularities of our local reality. The mix that is generated through these crossings is what be believe sustains originality, interest and excitement in our work as architects.

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