Out of the Box is a research and exhibition project created by the CCA to increase access and dissemination of its acquisitions by making materials available for research, discovery and public presentation while the archive is still in the process of being catalogued. Iñaki Ábalos and Juan Herreros donated the archive of their firm to the CCA in 2012. The archive represents their built works, alongside other activities such as curatorial projects, teaching and extensive writings. Collectively, these three Out of the Box exhibitions will introduce new readings of the work of Ábalos & Herreros, revealing their significance within the field of architecture today.
“Landscapes of the Hyperreal: Ábalos & Herreros selected by SO – IL”
July 23 – September 13
Canadian Centre for Architecture
1920, rue Baile
LANDSCAPES OF THE HYPERREAL
Landscapes of the Hyperreal explores the role of collage not only as a form of representation but as a means of production in the work of Ábalos & Herreros. Working in the 1980s during a period shaped at the end of the Franco regime, Ábalos & Herreros focused their attention on peripheral landscapes rather than developed urban areas, redefining the sites with new programmatic interests. These sites included waste and recycling centres, sports and recreation sites, harbours, highways and airports. Ábalos & Herreros appropriated and transformed references from a wide variety of architectural and visual art sources to create representations of a new type of built landscape.
According to curators Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu (SO – IL), “Ábalos & Herreros generated a number of architectural characters: the shed, the double tower, the environmental structure, the machinic device and the pattern. They introduced these characters again and again in various proposals to populate, animate and activate new contexts, from the derelict industrial harbour of Bilbao to the undeveloped rural area of Valdemingómez.” Through their collages and realized projects, Ábalos & Herreros aimed at creating hyperreal landscapes, a hybrid situation of natural and artificial elements.
The exhibition presents a selection of six landscape projects through three principal kinds of documents: site panoramas, photomontages and experimental graphic works. Masterplans illustrating the final designs are also included. The exhibition features projections of reference documents that were important to the work of Ábalos & Herreros and that illustrate five typologies used in their landscape projects. All documents in the exhibition are part of the physical and digital archives of the Ábalos & Herreros fonds at the Canadian Centre for Architecture.
A carpet covers the floor of the exhibition, as an installation on which transparent vitrines display the selected archival material. This carpet, a work inspired by German artist Gerhard Richter’s 1025 Farben carpet used in the design of an exhibition by Ábalos & Herreros for the Third Biennial of Spanish Architecture and Urbanism (Madrid, 1996–97), is here reinterpreted by SO – IL in a new colour scheme. The graphic design for the exhibition was developed by Jonathan Hares.
ÁBALOS & HERREROS
Iñaki Ábalos and Juan Herreros established their office in Madrid in 1984, working together until 2008. As practicing architects, theorists and educators, they continuously opened up a new architectural discourse and defined a language that not only reflected the transformations in the political, social and economic structures of the modernizing country in the post-Franco era, but that also demonstrated a growing interest in technological optimism.
The eclectic nature of their work allowed them to develop a large vocabulary of references, building typologies and construction techniques as deployed in the Plaza Castilla Masterplan (1986– 1987), the Usera Public Library (Madrid, 1994– 2003), and the Recycling and Urban Waste and Recycling Plan of Valdemingómez (Madrid, 1996–1999). Their research and professional work overlapped in part with their teaching at ETSAM (Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid) and their different appointments at American universities such as the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, the Illinois Institute of Technology, the Harvard Graduate School of Design and Princeton University. Research, publications, curatorial work and professional activities were all complementary aspects of their practice. Notable examples include the 1992 publication Técnica y arquitectura en la ciudad contemporánea, 1950–1990 (translated into English in 2003 as Tower and Office) and the 2000 exhibition on Cedric Price’s Potteries Thinkbelt (Madrid, 2000), designed by Ábalos & Herreros and curated by Juan Herreros.
Since 2008 both architects have continued their architectural practice independently, building from the legacy of their collaboration. Juan Herreros is currently Chair Professor of Architectural Design at Madrid School of Architecture, a Full Professor at the GSAPP of Columbia University and founding partner of estudio Herreros, a Madrid-based architecture practice operating worldwide. Iñaki Ábalos is Chaired Professor at ETSAM and Chair of the Department of Architecture at the Harvard GSD and co-founder of Ábalos+Sentkiewicz, an international architecture office based in Madrid and Cambridge (US).
Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu (SO – IL) is a Brooklyn-based architecture office founded by Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu in 2008. The firm has received many distinctions, such as the Young Practices Award (American Institute of Architects) and the Emerging Voices Award (Architectural League of New York), for its work at various scales ranging from residential and cultural projects to master plans. SO – IL has produced numerous art-related projects for institutions such as the Guggenheim Museum, Frieze Art Fair, the Stedelijk Museum, the New Museum and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), in addition to an installation at the Shenzhen Biennale (2011).
Florian Idenburg graduated from the Delft University of Technology and was an Associate at Japanese firm SANAA from 2000–2007. He was formerly a visiting lecturer at Princeton University and is currently Associate Professor of Practice at the Harvard GSD. Jing Liu received a Master of Architecture from Tulane University after studying in China, Japan and the United Kingdom. She has taught at Columbia University, Syracuse University and Parsons The New School for Design.
Out of the Box: Ábalos & Herreros examines the work of contemporary architects still active in the field today. This allows for a different research strategy in which Iñaki Ábalos and Juan Herreros themselves, as subjects of study, can also play an important role as respondents to the different curatorial perspectives. Furthermore, their participation in this research contributes to an ongoing oral history of their own archive. A public symposium organized around an encounter between Iñaki Ábalos and Juan Herreros and the guest curators of this series of exhibitions is scheduled for Saturday 12 September 2015.
The Out of the Box initiative is part of the CCA’s long-term objective to open its archives to critical investigations through exhibitions, publications and debates while the archive is in the process of being fully catalogued.
As CCA Director Mirko Zardini explains: “The CCA aims to foster discussion and dialogue in an international research-oriented context. This intense research activity is fueled to a great extent by our growing Collection, one of the world’s foremost holdings of publications and architectural design documentation whose guiding purpose has always been to make comprehensive and integrated bodies of material available for advanced, interdisciplinary study.” Since 2012, the CCA Collection has been enriched through several donations, including the Álvaro Siza fonds, the Pierre Jeanneret fonds, the Victor Prus fonds, and a major addition to the Gordon Matta-Clark archives and the Cornelia Hahn Oberlander fonds.
The CCA is an international research centre and museum founded in 1979 on the conviction that architecture is a public concern. Based on its extensive Collection, the CCA is a leading voice in advancing knowledge, promoting public understanding and widening thought and debate on architecture, its history, theory, practice and role in society today. The CCA offers a unique environment dedicated to the study and presentation of architectural thought and practice, where the work of Ábalos & Herreros can now be studied in the context of the other existing international archives of Peter Eisenman, Arthur Erickson, John Hejduk, Gordon Matta-Clark, Cedric Price, Aldo Rossi and James Stirling among others.
News source: Isabelle Huiban. Head of Press Relations. Canadian Centre for Architecture.