- Alberto CAMPO BAEZA
Alberto CAMPO BAEZA
Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza (1946) was born in Valladolid and grew up in Cádiz, following the movements of his father, a military surgeon. His passion for architecture developed at a young age, influenced by his architect grandfather.
He graduated in 1971 from the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura in Madrid, where he would subsequently become a tenured professor.
His many years of teaching activity also include a number of prestigious universities abroad: the ETH in Zurich and the EPFL in Lausanne; The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; Kansas State University; CUA University in Washington; L’Ecole d'Architecture in Tournai, Belgium; Buffalo University; and the Technische Universität Wien.
"Faithful to the maxim ‘architectura sine luce, nulla architectura est’ (...), his early work was characterized by elementary construction technologies, the search for spatiality with a minimalist flavour connoted, in addition to the fundamental role of light, by essential forms and poor materials." (Treccani).
According to his vision, architecture is an expression of man’s spiritual relationship with space and time rather than a technical exercise.
Regarding the key points of his architecture, Baeza recently identified "simplicity and essentiality (but not minimalism); logic, rationality. Light and gravity. Utilitas, Firmitas, Venustas. Finding in my work the ‘Sibilus Aurae Tenuis’: the murmur of a light breeze." (interview by C. Ezechieli, IoArch, 2019).
Light and gravity, in particular, are unanimously recognized as indispensable and recurring elements of his poetics, able to construct space and time, respectively.
His has designed many residences, now famous, especially in Spain but also elsewhere. These include the Turégano House (1989) and Gaspar House in Cádiz (1992), the de Blas House in Madrid (2000), the Rufo House in Toledo (2009), the Moliner House in Zaragoza (2008), the Olnick Spanu House in Garrison, New York (2008), and the Cala House in Madrid (2015).
The spaces created by Baeza in the new millennium are more expressive and sophisticated, and there is also a more diversified use of materials in this recent work.
Standing out among his public buildings are the headquarters of Caja de Granada (2001), the BIT Center in Inca-Mallorca (1998), the Benetton corporate daycare centre in Treviso (2008), the Museum of Memory of Andalucía in Granada (2010), and the offices of Junta di Castilla y León in Zamora (2012).
The project for the Louvre Museum of Liévin (with Raphaël Gabrion) was named Best Project in the competition of the Premio de Arquitectura Española Internacional 2015.
For the evident evocative ability, two recent projects stand out above all others: the House of the Infinite in Cádiz (2014) and the Domus Aurea in Monterrey, Mexico (2016).
Defined by the architect himself as the "most radical residence we have ever made", the House of the Infinite emerges like a stone platform jutting out over the Atlantic Ocean, in this sense recalling the architect’s previous project Between Cathedrals, also in Cádiz (2009). This elevated horizontal plane, made of Roman travertine, is the main living room of the house. To create the form, Baeza built "a large box with 20 metres of frontage and 36 metres deep (...) under those first 12 metres we excavated two floors in the solid rock to develop the whole living space." Key elements of his architecture, such as light and essentiality, emerge clearly in this residence that becomes a lookout over the sea, in which historical references echo ("The Romans were there a handful of centuries ago (...) the ruins of the Roman fishing factories where they produced garum and built temples to their gods, is just a stone’s throw away. In their honour we have built our house, like an acropolis stone, in Roman travertine").
The Domus Aurea in Monterrey (2016), created with Gilberto L. Rodríguez, is one of the most successful syntheses of his poetics, especially as regards the light-gravity relationship. It could be said that in the Domus Aurea, the statement made by the architect in the book La idea construida (The Built Idea) (1996) is fully accomplished: “(...) light is the only one that is truly capable of winning, of convincing gravity. And so, when the architect appropriately traps light, light perforates the space formed of structures which, however heavy they are, need to hold onto the ground to convey the primitive force of gravity, break the spell and makes that space float, levitate, fly. Santa Sofia, the Pantheon and Ronchamp all offer tangible proof of this extraordinary reality.” A declared homage to Luis Barragàn, the Domus Aurea is characterized by a large gilded wall that becomes the luminous fulcrum of the entire project. In functional terms, the house is divided into three planes. On the ground floor are the most public areas, and continuity to the garden is provided by verandas and shaded areas. On the upper floor, the bedrooms and the living area overlook the lower floor. At the higher rooftop level, the more private areas are located, including the swimming pool. The result is a large white house that emanates and fosters a natural sensation of inner serenity.
In addition to his theoretical manifesto La idea construida (published in 30 languages), his writings include the volume Pensar con las manos (Thinking with your hands) (Ed. Nobuko, Buenos Aires, 2009).
The numerous recognitions of his long career include the Heinrich Tessenow Gold Medal (2013) and the RIBA International Award (2014). In 2019 Campo Baeza was elected as an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.
Alberto Campo Baeza selected works and projects
- Residenza a Mojácar (Spagna), 2018 - in corso
- Grob House (progetto), Zahara de los Atunes, Cadice (Spagna), 2017
- 2017 Int. Book Fair Fil Mexico, Guadalajara (Messico), 2017
- Multi-Sport Pavilion and Classroom Complex - Francisco de Vitoria University (UFV), Madrid (Spagna), 2016
- Domus Aurea (con Gilberto L. Rodríguez), Monterrey (Messico), 2016
- Cala House, Madrid (Spagna), 2015
- House of the Infinite, Cadice (Spagna), 2014
- Offices for the Junta de Castilla y León, Zamora (Spagna), 2012
- Museum of Memory of Andalucía, Granada (Spagna), 2010
- Rufo House, Toledo (Spagna), 2009
- Between Cathedrals, Cadice (Spagna), 2009
- Olnick Spanu House, Garrison, New York (USA), 2008
- Moliner House, Saragozza (Spagna), 2008
- Benetton Nursery, Treviso (Italia), 2007
- Guerrero House, Vejer de la Frontera, Cadice (Spagna), 2005
- SM Group Headquarters, Boadilla del Monte, Madrid (Spagna), 2003
- Caja Granada Savings Bank Headquarters, Granada (Spagna), 2001
- De Blas House, Sevilla la Nueva, Madrid, (Spagna), 2000
- BIT Center, Inca, Mallorca (Spagna), 1998
- Gaspar House, Vejer de la Frontera, Cadice (Spagna), 1992
- Turégano House, Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid (Spagna), 1989 e successivo ampliamento (2011)
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