To celebrate the 20 years of Arquine reference architecture publication in Latin America, the editors organized a talk with international authors on Tuesday in one of the most controversial and celebrated buildings in Mexico City.
The Vasconcelos Library, an imposing concrete and glass nave built on almost 40,000 square meters in a popular colony and articulated through a set of metal and hanging platforms that serve as shelves. Almost suspended in the air, the books look up from the lobby, where the skeleton of a 700-kilos gray whale hangs.
A kind of public “ark” of the reading that was inaugurated in 2006, received strong criticism for its technical audacity and the alleged political instrumentalization, as a megalomaniac work, by President Vicente Fox, who came to call to the “cathedral of reading” enclosure.
For Miquel Adria, director of the magazine, it is nevertheless “a rigorous work that combines the essence of the elements of architecture: the tectonic, the light and space”.
The architect who directed the project, Alberto Kalach, was one of the speakers at the conference and recalled the meetings with the urban planning officials. “One old architect who had reviewed our plans and told us” this is not possible to build “.
One of the members of that jury, part of a public contest in which more than 500 proposals competed, was Carlos Jimenez, Costa Rican architect, jury for a decade of the Pritzker Prize Oscars of architecture- and also invited to the talk. “I attended the first phase of the contest and I was fascinated by the volcanic strength of this dazzling piece.”
Jiménez compared the library with other international reference sites such as the Stockholm or Seattle library “where you also feel that the book is infinite” and praised the work of the Mexican magazine as a “reservoir of memory”, whose birth coincided with two important milestones in the world of architecture death of the Italian architect Aldo Rossi and the opening of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, “a masterpiece of the articulation of the city, which definitely inaugurated a new time”.
In his 20 years and 80 quarterly magazines, Arquine has been consolidating the project and expanding its tentacles. They are also an editorial with more than 130 published titles and a radio program.
They teach with the seal of the Autonomous University of Catalonia, two university postgraduate programs, organize competitions to discuss architecture and urbanism issues such as what to do with the 700 hectares where the new airport of the Mexican capital is planned and they are the founders and organizers of the festive metropolis, the annual headline event in Latin America.