Casa Huarte: José Antonio Corrales y Ramón Vázquez Molezún. El concepto de lo experimental en el ámbito doméstico

Information about the Thesis

Abstract

The Huarte House (1966) will be analysed as a domestic experiment – that is how the Huarte’s conceived it, putting their faith in the architects – that synthesized the principles from the projects of the first phase of the work of Jose Antonio Corrales (1921-2010) and Ramón Vázquez Molezún (1922-1993): built landscape, modified topography, heavy and rooted base, light, floating roof and abstraction in composition. The experimental house of the 20th century was associated with small nuclear families of at the most a couple and two children. The Huarte House belongs to a group of non-recognised experimental houses of a larger size -and more unconventional familial settings- that lent themselves to greater functional, spatial and interpersonal complexity than their smaller counterparts. The Huarte House represented a turning point in the careers of Corrales and Molezún, capping a first phase that includes their most prominent work: the Institute at Herrera de Pisuerga (1965), the Residence at Miraflores (1958) and the Brussels Pavilion, in its Belgian (1958) and Spanish (1959) version. The project for the Huarte house anticipated strategies which they would apply to later projects: dynamism of the horizontal plane, diagonal visuals, and tangential entrances. It was also the culmination of the evolution of a type of house that Corrales and Molezún had started to investigate ten years earlier. Between 1956 and 1961 they designed four houses (Ramírez Escudero House, Álvarez Mon House, Gómez Acebo House and Cela House) that anticipated the solutions applied and perfected in the Huarte House. Corrales believed that if life was contradictory architecture should be so too. The Huarte House is complex and contradictory. Corrales and Molezún homogenised the project under a bold and attractive image of intersecting volumes. The project appears emphatic thanks to skilful tectonic manoeuvres that conceal the many complexities and contradictions so that they become imperceptible. These manoeuvres confound the image of the house. Under its ceramic blanket of vernacular reminiscences (a mixture of Castilian house and Nordic architecture) lies a technologically advanced piece of architecture. The thesis is organised in four chapters named ‘processes’ in reference to their sequence in the development of the research. These processes are: descriptive process, analytic process, interpretative process and poetic process. After the necessary and introductory descriptive process, the main body of the thesis, which encompasses the analytical, interpretative and poetic processes, develops the argument for incorporating the Huarte House into the experimental category. The thesis addresses the characteristic concepts of a house, from the general to the more specific, divided in four groups: composition, volume and space; the patio: architecture and landscape; the garden: building the horizon and eurythmy: spirit and matter. Molezún was convinced that to get to know a work of architecture it was necessary to draw it. The Huarte House is redrawn in its three main phases: the executive project (march 1965), the finished house (november 1966) and its actual state (2012). The study and analysis centers on the built house, as the actual tri-dimensional manifestation of the project. The graphic documentation of the present state of the house has never been published before and has been made possible by numerous visits to the House facilitated by Jesus Huarte’s daughters who are the current owners. This documentation allows us to determine any alterations of the constructed work and derive the necessary modifications to bring the house back to its original state. The Huarte House is a unique work, one of five single family homes registered by the International Docomomo. Its future is uncertain. It is currently uninhabited and up for sale. The Huarte family has more than delivered on the mission to safeguard its patrimony. It is important to defend its place as a key work of Spanish architecture of the 20th century and so avoid it being forgotten and abandoned.

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