“Alberto Kalach is without a doubt the most outstanding architect not only in Mexico, but, I would dare to say, in the American continent today.”
These were the words of the architect and editor Miquel Adrià said prior to the presentation of the book “Alberto Kalach. Architecture Workshop X” (Arquine, 2022), a detailed copy with the work of the man born in Mexico City in 1960 and responsible for omnipresent works when talking about the architecture of contemporary Mexico.
Presented over the weekend at the Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso by Adrià himself and Alberto Kalach, the issue includes the entire deck of work letters by the Mexican architect, with great works such as the “José Vasconcelos” Library of Mexico and the unmistakable building orange of Reforma 27, the Casa Wabi, studio in Oaxaca of the plastic artist Bosco Sodi; the Reflection Space on the Monterrey campus of Tec de Monterrey, the headquarters in Mexico of the kurimanzutto gallery or the dozens of houses immersed in the natural context, the community projects, houses of culture and studios in peripheral and natural areas of our country.
“Yet architect Like Alberto, it is difficult to read him for his style, for his tendency or for always repeating the same idea, but rather he is a constant creative, audacious, proactive generation of projects”, introduced the director of Arquine and added that in the copy, more that in the result, emphasis is placed on the creative process.
For his part, Kalach declared: “it took us a long time to decide to make the book because the books need to say something and not just reproduce photographs of the buildings that are there. There is nothing more eloquent than seeing the building itself (…) the drawings as a whole show a thought process, an experimentation, and I think that is what is valuable about the book. The drawings show how ideas evolve and transform from work because architecture is a trade”.
Gardens that invade houses
All this process of synthesis that resulted in a material of 472 pages in large format, which was seasoned with texts by Pete Cook, Hernán Díaz Alonso, Fernando Fernández, Carlos Jiménez, Juan Palomar and Eduardo Vázquez Martín, as well as by Adrià themselves. and Kalach, required five years of work.
On the issue of collective housing, the director of Arquine pointed out, “where anyone would say that everything had already been said, we see in Alberto’s projects that this is not the case, that many times he manages to break that almost typological blockade of collective housing, especially all of the minimum housing, thought no longer in square meters, but thinking in cubic meters”.
Another of the distinctive features of the anthologized architect’s work, Adrià pointed out, are the gardens with a house or, he corrected on purpose, of the gardens that invade houses, as well as the diverse vertical essays.
“The book aims to be consistent with the work of the person who publishes it, that it be neither very formal nor very terse, but rather that it responds to the sometimes spontaneous way of Alberto Kalach’s work, in which there is never a finished work, but rather it is the project that may come later, the one that will best express your ideas. The object had to reflect Alberto’s way of working”, concluded Adrià.
About the Pritzker 2022
Kalach was asked about last week’s Pritzker Prize ruling in favor of Burkinabe architect Francis Kéré, the first African and black man to win the world’s top award for architecture.
“Architecture has always tried to respond to social problems. Although there are some architects that are a little more exaggerated and grandiloquent, it seems to me very correct that architectures that do have the same quality and the same poetics as much more expensive and extravagant architectures are also rewarded. However, there are others like that of the architect Kéré, who, with very few elements and resources, achieves beautiful and functional spaces”.
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