The Barcelona-based ed­u­ca­tor and ar­chi­tect brings her ex­pe­ri­en­tial vi­sion and in­clu­sive aes­thetic to the most re­cent in­stal­ment of MPav­il­ion.

VOGUE Living Australia - - Contents - By An­nemarie Kiely Pho­tographed by Justin Ri­dler

The Barcelona-based ed­u­ca­tor and ar­chi­tect brings her vi­sion to MPav­il­ion

It’s a truth uni­ver­sally ac­knowl­edged of long-haul travel that fly­ing west is best, but east is a beast. This cer­tainty was vol­ubly suf­fered by Span­ish ar­chi­tect Carme Pinós when she re­cently jet­ted to Mel­bourne to meet the press and pro­gress­check her scheme for the fifth MPav­il­ion — the de­mount­able ar­chi­tect-de­signed fo­rum for cre­ative do­ings founded by busi­ness­woman Naomi Mil­grom. Ap­pear­ing de­cep­tively fresh in Dries Van Noten flo­rals, Pinós fielded ques­tions about her con­cept for Mel­bourne’s Queen Vic­to­ria Gar­dens un­til the ‘lag’ messed with her com­mand of lan­guage. “Lo siento,” she says, apol­o­gis­ing for the im­pact of a sched­ule that se­ri­ally switches between project of­fices in Spain, Mex­ico, the US, France and Aus­tralia. “The work is now ev­ery­where, but I was so mo­ti­vated to do this after meet­ing Naomi in Lon­don. We bonded over the Ba­len­ci­aga: Shap­ing Fash­ion ex­hi­bi­tion [at the Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum]. She is so open and in­ter­est­ing. You can feel it in this amaz­ing of­fice.”

Sit­ting within the pri­vate sanc­tum of Mil­grom’s Sus­san Cor­po­ra­tion — a com­plex that tes­ti­fies to its owner’s pro­cliv­ity for chal­leng­ing con­tem­po­rary art and ar­chi­tec­ture — Pinós tells of the women’s shared in­ter­est in the sim­ple, graphic grace of Ba­len­ci­aga’s cou­ture and their mu­tual com­mit­ment to a so­cially in­clu­sive ar­chi­tec­ture that asks the big ques­tions. “The idea of ar­chi­tec­ture as a hu­man­ist con­cern is be­ing lost,” Pinós says in ref­er­ence to her teach­ing com­mit­ments at the academies — most re­cently, as re­cip­i­ent of the Berkeley-Rupp Ar­chi­tec­ture Pro­fes­sor­ship & Prize at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia. “Uni­ver­si­ties pre­pare stu­dents to be con­tracted to big firms, but the re­flec­tion on what it means to be an ar­chi­tect, I do not find. Ar­chi­tec­ture is not just ››

‹‹ to re­solve the prob­lem of the roof; it is to re­solve the is­sue of struc­ture as a con­duit to cul­ture.” Pinós’s hopes for an eq­ui­table ar­chi­tec­ture are ev­i­denced in build­ings, bridges and ur­ban plans that pro­mote a “re­cu­per­a­tive dig­nity” through their vil­lage-like in­ter­ac­tions — an ap­par­ent ran­dom­ness of cross­roads seek­ing to catal­yse re­la­tion­ships. She builds for a sense of ‘be­long­ing’, with a ba­sic ma­te­ri­al­ity in such sig­na­ture struc­tures as the Caix­aFo­rum Zaragoza cul­tural and ex­hi­bi­tion cen­tre in Spain (2014) and the Cube I Tower (2005) in Guadala­jara, Mex­ico, whose model fea­tures in the per­ma­nent col­lec­tion of MoMA.

The Cube I Tower, a ty­pol­ogy-tip­ping high-rise, makes the mag­i­cal point about con­cep­tual con­tra­dic­tions co­ex­ist­ing in a con­struct that favours none and ben­e­fits all. It man­i­fests the di­chotomies of mod­ern life — the ten­sions between the mon­u­men­tal and the mod­est, the in­ner and the outer, the in­di­vid­ual and the col­lec­tive, fu­ture and past, male and fe­male. In­deed, the cur­rent equity de­bate begs a ques­tion of Pinós: has she had to prove her­self as a fe­male in the world of ar­chi­tec­ture? “Ab­so­lutely,” she says, be­moan­ing an ab­stract, ag­gres­sive, com­pet­i­tive global cul­ture that des­per­ately needs the sen­si­bil­ity of women. “We are ge­net­i­cally pro­grammed for em­pa­thy, and it is in­creas­ingly lack­ing in this world. But in a way, I don’t want to think about it be­cause I just do the work. It is def­i­nitely more dif­fi­cult to find work as a wo­man like me, com­pletely alone, but I am well­known in the acad­emy, and I win true com­pe­ti­tions.” Talk­ing ‘true’ in terms of real build­ings with real bud­gets rather than ideas com­pe­ti­tions that rarely re­sult in the build, Pinós flaunts a for­mi­da­ble port­fo­lio of wins. Since es­tab­lish­ing her own stu­dio in 1991, she has qui­etly re­dressed the ‘ex­clu­sion­ary’ in ed­i­fice and plan. So how will her em­pa­thy ex­press in a Mel­bourne park? Pinós il­lus­trates her ver­sion of a ‘utopian’ pav­il­ion with ren­ders of an ope­nended space, en­closed by a geo­met­ric ab­strac­tion of fold­ing tim­ber-bat­ten screens that sug­gest a per­gola — a Mediter­ranean archetype for fil­ter­ing harsh light that speaks to her coastal up­bring­ing and the cli­mate and melt­ing-pot cul­ture of Mel­bourne.

“It is sim­ple but full of shad­ows,” Pinós says.

“I like these ar­chaic shapes, where the out­side con­tam­i­nates the in­side, and uni­ver­sal con­nec­tions are made between the lay­ers.

La poe­sia [the po­etry] of prag­ma­tism.” VL

MPav­il­ion 2018 will be open and free to the pub­lic from 8 Oc­to­ber, 2018–3 Fe­bru­ary, 2019. Visit mpav­il­

“It is def­i­nitely more dif­fi­cult to find work as a wo­man like me, com­pletely alone, but I am well-known in the acad­emy, and I win true com­pe­ti­tions”

Span­ish ar­chi­tect Carme Pinós at M Pav­il­ion founder Naomi Mil­grom’s head­quar­ters in Mel­bourne.

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP a Pinós­de­signed con­crete and ce­ramic cre­ma­to­rium in Igual­ada, Spain. The in­clin­ing façades of the Cata­lan govern­ment head­quar­ters in Tor­tosa, Spain. A study model of this year’s MPav­il­ion in Mel­bourne. The airy Cube I Tower in Guadala­jara, Mex­ico.

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