AA205---Briques-et-parpaings---Oct-1979 © L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui


AA’s covers: issue 205, October 1979

This article by Jean-Philippe Hugron is an extract from AA Nr 427, dedicated to port architecture, published in October 2018.

A whole issue dedicated to bricks and concrete blocks! In fact there are more bricks than concrete blocks. Many will find the cover exciting, as we are currently seeing a “Bofill Revival”, with the vivid colours of the columns of the “Homage to Catalonia” on the edge of the motorway on the French- Spanish border, standing out against an electric blue sky. However, fans of the well-known Taller de Arquitectura will be particularly disappointed to read nothing about this unusual construction in the October 1979 issue. But they will discover a strange report with the occasional post-modern feel. Admittedly, the pages are not based on the faded colours or the kitsch motifs of the period. The review examines a material through the ages, in all its black and white rigour. Many will learn about the bazaars of Ispahan, the bourgeois houses of Hanse and also German expressionist architecture. There is no lack of news. The constructions lapse from the aesthetic to a declining modernity, or else refer to neovernacular attributes that are still as intriguing as sliced bread. Raj Rewal rubs shoulders with Kamran Diba – SITE and their extraordinary supermarkets with houses by Jean Nouvel and Lucien Kroll. As for Robert Venturi, he has the privilege of being attributed one of the rare colour pages of the magazine to illustrate an odd – and ugly – research centre. A strange period indeed! Unlike the somewhat dated projects, the editorial by Marc Emery remains as relevant as ever. “In these past decades brick has become a soulless material used to embellish – with a few stunning exceptions – and a means of decorating façades to give them substance. It is not a load-bearing material.” Plentyto stimulate thought among architects who, today, decorate more than they build.

The whole version of AA Nr427 is available on our online store. 

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