Campo Baeza's poetics is the outcome of a complex and wide-ranging dialogue with architectural history that has provided him no so much with a set of formal models as with a repertoire of compositional strategies, raising questions of method which he has answered by inverting Mies van der Rohe's celebrated dictum "less is more" to give "mas con menos", more with less. The fact that achieving "more with less" is Campo Baeza's ultimate aim, and that variation rather than variety is one of the fundamental and most characteristic techniques he employs in his architecture, only goes to show how superficial the efforts of critics have been in attempting to reduce the tectonic austerity and luminarist poetry of his buildings to just another form of minimalism. Campo Baeza's simplified assemblies of primary geometric forms carry the rejection of decoration to disconcerting, almost hermetic extremes. Eliminating the superfluous and doing everything possible to communicate what remains by means of essentiality- a more conceptual notion than minimalism in that suggests simplication and purification, an expression of essence - is both the primary aim and the message of Campo Baeza's architecture. The pure, dazzling whiteness to which his buildings and interiors aspire, and in many cases attain, is only the most obvious of the effects Campo Baeza is striving to achieve. What the architecture surveyed in this book conveys more than anything is a sense of timelessness and other-wilderness. Though his ability to reflect the secondary features of what constitutes the essential fascination of the modern, Campo Baeza shows us that the present is essentially an inhospitable and uninhabitable place. It is this existential insight that achieves architectural form in his buildings.
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Italian
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