Public Lecture Series

Iñaki Ábalos

Iñaki Ábalos
6:30 am - 8:00 pm
Room 419, 4/F, Knowles Building, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong
A House, A Palace
Iñaki Ábalos
Abalos+Sentkiewicz, Madrid, Shanghai and Cambridge
ETSAM Madrid and Harvard University

Department of Architecture
Spring 2019 Public Lecture Series

Lecture Abstract

It is not possible to attend the necessities of an ever-changing medium from the simplistic dialectic exchange between algorithmic and artistic captivation: scientific objectivism against subjective creativity. The blending of both knowledge and subjectivity is essential to resonate with contemporary territories. The design of such territories demands entering these processes, to access the realm of documentary practice erasing any divisions between analysis and creation, diving deep into the floating data and becoming a part of it until its informational load triggers a phase transition in ourselves that dissipates creative energy. To document is to charge our system up to a boiling point in which we can distill a new material phase change we call project.

Whoever looks for a precedent may find it in many other practices; obviously in the informational field and in cinema, but also in the arts, sciences, architecture, landscaping and essay. Names such as Alexander Humboldt, Frederick Law Olmsted, Robert Smithson, Cedric Price, Armin Linke, Rem Koolhaas, Bruno Latour… quickly come to mind.

“Material Culture” is a key concept from the point of view of thermodynamic materialism: to look into material culture is a way of activating attention, of making cultural and technical data and geological and historical times unfold their alchemical creativity. This is the way in which thermodynamics unveils itself as a creative form, applied, in our particular case, to the design of territories in the midst of urbanization.

In short, documenting the material culture as a creative design tool means to allow us be shot with the arrows of knowledge as a sort of Baroque Saint Sebastian of whom we will always ignore if he is in suffering or in pure rapture.

Book Presentation + Conversation with Students
Title of Publication: The Good Life
Date: April 9, 2019 (Tuesday)
Time: 12:30 – 13:30
Venue: Room 318, Knowles Building, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong

20 years after its first publication, The Good Life is re-edited and re-published into a new Chinese edition, with the joint effort between Iñaki Ábalos, Su Chang and Luminocity.

This presentation is about both the excitement and dismay in writing, editing and translating modernism in its plural manner. The presentation will be followed by a conversation with students. All students are welcome to join.

With The Good Life, Iñaki Ábalos serves as our guide for a tour of seven iconic twentieth century homes that represent various concepts for living. Some of the homes were actually built, while others were merely planned, painted, or created as part of a film set. We see Mies van der Rohe’s House with Three Patios, Martin Heidegger’s cabinin the Black Forest, Picasso’s Villa La Californie in Cannes, and the New York loft that Andy Warhol called the Factory. From the ultramodern geometric houses and gardens in Jacques Tati’s Mon Oncle, we travel to the famed hobby-kit house in Buster Keaton’s One Week and on to the sunny swimming pool and home in David Hockney’s painting A Bigger Splash. Ábalos takes readers through the key philosophical precepts that likely guided the creation of these homes, making insightful points about the relationship between ideas about a particular modern way of living and approaches to architecture and design.

The Good Life is an invitation to travel in the imagination, not only to celebrate the diversity of 20th century houses, but also to simulate the pleasure of thinking, planning and living intensely, to encourage the invention of a house that doesn’t yet exist.

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