21 mar. 2014

Small is big

Small. Thoughts and Projects. Carl Turner Architects
Carl Turner
Artifice, 2013

Incluso en los años que corren, estamos tan acostumbrados a las grandes monografías de proyectos osados y fotografías deslumbrantes que llama la atención la visión arquitectónica modesta y sincera que proponen algunos autores. Uno de ellos es Carl Turner, cuya pequeña oficina londinense hace bandera precisamente de lo pequeño. | Even in the current years, we are so used to big monographs with daring projects and dazzling photographs that it is striking the modest and sincere architectural vision proposed by some authors. One of them is Carl Turner, whose small London office boasts with the smallness.


Carl Turner Architects es una oficina fundada en 2006 que aporta al panorama arquitectónico la frescura de una actitud dialogante y desacomplejada frente a los problemas espaciales y constructivos contemporáneos. Sus proyectos, pequeños y poco numerosos hasta la fecha, destacan por una aproximación modesta a la vez que ambiciosa. En sus propias palabras, su obra podría calificarse de low cost, high impact architecture.

Por su manera de trabajar, casi se podría definir a la oficina como una Spatial Agency (de acuerdo con el término propuesto por Nishat Awan, Tatjana Schneider y Jeremy Till). Su participación en los proyectos va más allá de su papel como técnicos o diseñadores; habitualmente plantean su intervención desde las fases de definición del encargo (del que son responsables en muchas de sus obras). En este sentido, la recesión económica de los últimos años ha podido determinar en cierta medida su actitud, reconsiderando la escala o el coste de los proyectos, a la vez que el propio papel de las oficinas de arquitectura.

Una de las mejores aportaciones de la oficina es su reconsideración de algunos conceptos heredados y, en ocasiones, prostituidos. Es el caso de “sostenibilidad”, que redefinen así: Legibility, flexibility, durability, affordability. If a building is successful in these terms, it can be considered “sustainable” in a wider sense (or maybe just good architecture).

Small. Thoughts and Projects demuestra que su obra no es solo el reflejo de una situación contextual, sino que su actitud se refuerza, se construye y se alimenta de las interesantes reflexiones que acompañan a los proyectos. No se trata de una intelectualización de su arquitectura, que podría resultar pedante; todo lo contrario, se propone un diálogo transparente que ayuda a comprender las decisiones tomadas en cada momento.

En el libro, publicado por Artifice, se presentan diferentes intervenciones de Carl Turner Architects distribuidas en contextos urbanos, suburbanos y rurales, y descritas a través de los pensamientos que les han dado origen. La combinación es atractiva y el libro, pequeño pero intenso, es un buen testimonio de una manera honesta de hacer arquitectura.

David H. Falagán
Carl Turner Architects is an architectural office founded in 2006 that brings to the architectural panorama the coolness of an open and uninhibited attitude on contemporary space and building problems. Their projects, small and not numerous so far, are distinguished by a modest while ambitious approach. In his own words, his work could be described as low cost, high impact architecture

 According to the way they work, we could almost define the office as a Spatial Agency (according to the term proposed by Nishat Awan, Tatjana Schneider and Jeremy Till). Their participation in the projects goes beyond their role as technicians or designers; they usually pose their interventions from the steps of defining the commission (of which they are responsible in many of their works). In this sense, the economic recession of recent years could have determined to some extent his attitude, reconsidering the scale or cost of the projects, as well as the proper role of the architectural offices. 

One of the best contributions of the office is their reconsideration of some inherited, and sometimes prostituted, concepts. This is the case of "sustainability" that they redefine like this: Legibility, flexibility, durability, affordability. If a building is successful in these terms, it can be considered “sustainable” in a wider sense (or maybe just good architecture)

Small. Thoughts and Projects shows that their work is not only a reflection of a contextual situation, but their attitude is reinforced, is constructed and feeds on insightful reflections that come with the projects. There is not an intellectualization of their architecture, which could be pedant; quite the contrary, it is proposed a transparent dialogue which helps to understand the decisions taken at any time. 

Different interventions by Carl Turner Architects, distributed in urban, suburban and rural settings, and described through the thoughts that have originated them, are presented in this book, published by Artifice. The combination is attractive and the book, small but intense, is a good testimony in an honest way of making architecture.