Thursday 13 March 2008, 18:00
Auditorium SG, EPFL
As part of the exhibition Julius Shulman, photographer
The camera constructs too
“Architecture and photography are more partners than rivals. The spread of the photographic image may have weakened the pedagogical intimidatory function of buildings, but at the end of the day a placid mutual accommodation has been reached. If Gurenberg’s revolution and the engraving raised by the possibility that these media would take over the communicative role of architecture, the fact is that the Vitor Hugo’s prophecy for Notre Dame – ceci tuera cela – has been belied by the facts; the mechanical reproduction of texts and images through engravings or photography has been able to substitute for the reprsentative function of buildings, which, on the contrary, have entered into resonance with the multiplication of their images to transform a potential rival into a virtual accomplice. Perret’s engraving did not compete with the granite pile of El Escorial; on the contrary, they brought about the worldwide dissemination of its lines and consolidated the fame of Juan de Herrera as author of the monastery, at the expense Juan Batista de Toledo. Likewise, Palladio’s prestige and influence was based more on his Quatro Libri, whose precepts are illustrated by his villas, than on the buildings themselves that doted the Venetian plain. And the stubborn fascination with the Seven Wonders of the ancient world is inconceivable without their popularisation in prints, which played the role of iconic minting that todaxy is entirely the task of photography.” (…)
Luis Fernández-Galiano (1950) is an architect, professor at the School of Architecture of Madrid’s Universidad Politécnica and editor of the journals AV/Arquitectura Viva. A member of the Royal Academy of Doctors, he has been Cullinan Professor at Rice University, Franke Fellow at Yale University, a visiting scholar at the Getty Center of Los Angeles and a visiting critic at Princeton, Harvard and the Berlage Institute; and has taught courses at the Menéndez Pelayo and Complutense universities. President of the jury in the 9th Venice Architecture Biennial and in the XV Chile Architecture Biennial, expert and juror of the Mies van der Rohe European Award, he has curated the exhibitions El espacio privado in Madrid and Extreme Eurasia in Tokyo, and has been on the jury of several international competitions. Among his books are La Quimera Moderna, Fire and Memory (MIT Press), Spain Builds (in collaboration with New York’s MoMA) and Atlas, Global Architecture circa 2000 (with the BBVA Foundation).