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  • Foto del escritorJuan Almarza Anwandter

Actualizado: 23 feb 2022

What is the meaning of “style”? In formal terms, it corresponds to a certain set of compositional attributes that distinctively characterize any form of artistic expression. Thus, we speak of the style of Rafael, as something different from the style of Botticelli. But, in colloquial language, we also use the term as an adjective: “She looked so stylish!”, “He did it with style!”. What does the concept mean in such contexts? Roland Barthes gives us an interesting answer. Inspired by the spectacle given by the Spanish “toreros” (bullfighters), he says: “And what is style? it is to turn a difficult act into a graceful gesture, it is to introduce a rhythm in fatality. It is to be brave without disorder; it is to give what is necessary the appearance of freedom.” Certainly, a beautiful definition. Understood in this sense, conscious volition is a precondition for style. Therefore rocks, clouds and trees may have shapes, but not “style”. They are ruled by necessity and fatality, in a deterministic sense. Entities with a higher level of complexity like animals (in particular beasts of prey), exhibit traits of style in their predatory strategies. It is in human beings where the concept of style can reach a peak of manifestation - in the conscious confrontation with death. I am planning to write a short book on this interesting subject...

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  • Foto del escritorJuan 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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  • Foto del escritorJuan 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 a bow and an arrow.

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