• Juan Almarza Anwandter

That thing we call "sky" appears to be the earth´s “roof”. A huge self-supporting dome, without pillars. This primary interpretation is echoed in the etymology of the word, which refers to the notion of cover. It has a persistent, ever-present character, which means, it is a sort of endless roof, whose only limit is the line of the horizon. A limit that also re-configures itself, endlessly. We may travel a few or a thousand miles, and, strangely enough, the sky is still there, “up”, hovering far above our heads. What seems to change is just its appearance: luminous during the day, dark at night, veiled by passing clouds, dyed in beautiful colours at dawns and sunsets. Somehow, it has no age. Unlike the rest of the entities that surround us, which reflect the passage of time in the form of aging and decay, the sky is timeless. In this sense, it is the closest form of manifestation of what we may designate as "the Absolute". This is a shared attribute with all those things that are regarded by us as heavenly: the sun, the moon, the stars, and divine beings of all sorts. Technology has allowed us to enter the sky´s realm, thus being not anymore the privilege of birds and creatures provided of wings and feathers by nature. But, somehow, it remains an alien medium for humans, an irreducible form of otherness, just like water and the ocean´s unfathomable depths. The ancient myth of Icarus makes the point. Will we ever make of the sky a ground for permanent inhabitation, turning this roof into a soil for digging foundations?

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  • Juan Almarza Anwandter

I must admit that I like weapons, in general, and bows and arrows, in particular. Why? It is such an admirable simple combination of elements, conceived for fulfilling a clear purpose: to hit a target located at a certain distance, with maximum precision. Each component of the system is carefully designed in order to achieve this purpose...nothing is superfluous or excessive. Form, materiality and function are absolutely congruent. This is what elegance means. As an architect, I want to design buildings that follow the same principles. Clear, simple and elegant...like a bow and an arrow.

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  • Juan Almarza Anwandter

I come from Chile, a land in which snow is mostly confined to the Andes, the extreme South and Antarctica. It is not part of our "Lebenswelt", neither plays a main role in the articulation of our cultural landscape. So, experiencing this phenomena is still something rather unusual and extraordinary for me. Somehow I see it with the naive eyes of a kid. Analyzed from this perspective, what appears to be interesting is the fact that snow covers everything. It doesn´t "discriminate", and in this sense it can be related with other natural phenomena, like the sunlight, the rain and the wind. But the main difference is that, although being ephemeral, snow leaves traces, and allows us to leave traces on it as well. It transforms the city into a big white canvas. It also has a particular "tempo": the snowflakes do not simply fall following a linear, gravitational trajectory like a rain drop, but they seem to float, wandering around, so to say. They gradually cover the ground, and paradoxically, make it appear, revealing its presence, which usually goes inadverted. The asphalt is certainly less appealing. Snow blurs limits and distinctions, bringing things back to a primordial state of unified wholeness. Maybe this is why it it communicates a certain sense of peace.

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