10 Spanish Architect's Maquettes

April 7 – May 21, 2011


Opening in the presence of the participating studios, April 7, at 8pm.

From April 7 to May 21, 2011 Michel Soskine (Madrid) will present a selection of 10 contemporary scale models by Spanish architects. Both for its strong artistic expression and their capacity for synthesis and analysis of the project, these models represent the living link between art and architecture.

All participating architects share a strong plastic side as a complement to the architectural practice:

- AMID·cero9. Cristina Diaz Moreno and Efren Garcia Grinda
- Andrés Jaque Arquitectos.
- Blanca Lleo
- Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue · EMBT.
- Mansilla + Tuñón
- Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos
- Picado de Blas Arquitectos

The model is by definition a three-dimensional scale test of a reality to be constructed. This reality, not yet subdued to future regulations or facilities required at the actual building, provides a freedom that makes the model a perfect field of study, experimentation, dream and playground. 

With the architectural maquette the idea of the project becomes a reality. Through the scale model it is established a physical, intellectual and emotional relationship with the project. New technologies and three-dimensional graphics, though very useful tools, have only confirmed models as the only instrument to capture the true essence of the project.

Since ancient times models have accompanied the architectural practice, more as a souvenir of certain monuments or major buildings. It is this tangible aspect what has contributed to the endurance of the model as a necessary language, no only in the architect's creative process,  but also as in his communication with both team and client.

The English term model (derived from Italian modello), hold spatial values on its definition. In fact, in Spanish and French “maqueta” or “maquette” contain a purely sculptural sense. Sculptures evocative of architectural spaces and architects who model their buildings show this permeable and contagious relationship between sculpture and architecture.

Materials such as steel, glass and concrete (which revolutionized architecture at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) continue to enrich it with new forms. New materials are arriving, releasing load-bearing walls, pushing towards new spatial breakthroughs. In Contemporary models, more and more behaving like habitable sculptures, these developments have been translated with analogue forms and materials, introducing the value of emotion or the ability to thrill. They have achieved an artistic status independent from the project they represent. 
This wealth of architectural concepts, shapes, materials and colours is well reflected in the 10 models displayed at this exhibition: 
·      Balsa wood and paper make up the organic forms of the model by Miralles Tagliabue · EMBT for the Museum of the painter Zhang Da Qian in Sichuan (China, 2010).

Simple materials articulate a sensitive and expressive project, evocative of the cheerful nature in which it is integrated. Conceived to house the works of the legendary 20th c. Chinese master painter and to reveal his personal and artistic relationship with Pablo Picasso.

The project brings together the cultural essence of East and West, past (tradition) and future (cultural and industrial development in the area).  

·      Mansilla & Tuñon scale models for the Visigothic Art Museum of Toledo (Spain, 2010) and the Museum of Cantabria (Spain, 2003), both contained in boxes, combine imagery of the project with materials such as cardboard and neutral wood. Opening these boxes is looking out to different and stimulating universes.

·      The Toledo Museum takes Visigoth architecture references, ranging from a modern minimum of elemental architectural notions, to vernacular, balanced and sustainable values. With its fragmentary volume it articulates a dynamic territory.

·      The Museum of Cantabria is inspired by the surrounding mountains, with their uneven but similar profiles. The building is to display the hidden geometry of nature, somewhat like an invented geography. A regular tissue made of irregular trapezoids configures an open system of large skylights.

Also by Mansilla + Tuñon, the Energy Dome of Garray in Soria (Spain, 2008) delicately combines the white cardboard opacity with the acetate transparency. The model is an abstract representation of the relationship between interior and exterior spaces. It is a modular device capable of structuring the different program scenarios. 

·      The Hospice of The Floating Entertainments (2008) by Andres Jaque, gives the show a playful side, a childhood reference, in transition between these organic models and those made of materials such as resins (Blanca Lleo’s),  foil (Amid’s) or lit methacrylate (Nieto Sobejano / Picado de Blas).

Jaque combines balsa wood with polyurethane foam in two heights: an overview of the project and a the amplified detail of the stair on a secondary level, playing with delightful lightness with scales, amusing materials and space.

·      A network of pink foil covers like a skin the model by AMID.cero9 (Cristina Diaz Moreno and Efren Garcia Grinda). The Cherry Blossom Pavilion (Valley Jerte, Spain 2008) is vibrant in colour, material and shape, resembling a large cherry crowning the Jerte, changing colour as the valley does throughout the seasons. A mirror in the base allows to look out the inner dome. The model is as festive as the building itself, conceived to accommodate blossom festivities and other popular celebrations. The smart geometry of each tile triangle is assembled to the organic shape of the dome, similar to a cave where light enters freely.

·      Green and blue resins characterize the set of models by Blanca Lleó around the Bioclimatic Tower Project (Madrid, 2006). She understands the maquette as a toy model of architecture, evoking somehow the world of Gulliver in Liliput.

·      The Center for Contemporary Creation of Cordoba (Spain, 2010) by Nieto Sobejano Architects is a model marked by the sophisticated beehive-like dome, matched by the articulation of the lattice like facade. It responds and links to the site and the distant memory of Hispano-Muslim culture latent in Cordoba. Light plays a crucial role in shaping the space and comes from the interior of the model.

·      Picado de Blas Architects also bring light to their model of the Campus Court Deanery in Madrid (Spain, 2007). Approaching the model as a game, with its modulated parts, game board, instructions and box. All parts are removable, like in a lego meccano, and they could hold infinite different positions within the open worked cylinder.

The translucent qualities of the methacrylate (black, green, pink and white) are optimized with the interior lightning. Each piece conforming the three-dimensional puzzle is seductive per se by weight, temperature and cleanliness values.