Solano Benítez

Solano Benítez
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Room 419, Knowles Building, Pokfulam Road, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Lecture Title: Conversations at Gabinete de Arquitectura

About the Speaker:
Solano Benítez was born in Asunción, Paraguay in 1963 and graduated from the School of Architecture of the National University of Asunción (FAUNA) in 1986. In 1987 he founded Gabinete de Arquitectura, the office he currently shares with Alberto Marinoni and Gloria Cabral.

Among the prizes and distinctions he has received are an Outstanding Youth award given by the Junior Chamber of Paraguay for contributions to national culture (1999); the BSI Swiss, an international prize given to architects under 50 for their contribution to contemporary architecture (2008), an Honorable Mention of Paraguay’s National Congress for contributions to the country (2011), the Architect of the Bicentenary award of the Paraguayan Architects Association (2011), and an Honorary Membership in the American Institute of Architects (2012).

In turn the Gabinete de Arquitectura has among other honors earned the Work of the Decade award, for the period 1989-1999, of the Paraguayan College of Architects (1999). It was also a finalist in the 2nd Mies van der Rohe Award for Latin America (1999), and represented Paraguay in the Venice Biennale, in the São Paulo biennial, and in Lisbon during its stint as Ibero-American Capital of Culture.

Gabinete de arquitectura is a professional society which designs, builds and is related to learning from research.
We are experts in doing what we do not know how to do. There is a world of the real and an imaginary world, but human beings can only live in the imaginary world.

Lecture Synopsis:
Projects are born from conversation. In Latin, the verb ‘converse’, cumversare, has a double root: cum, with, together and versare, spin. So spin with or spin together.

Actions have the purpose of building habitability. In order to build habitability I must be an inhabitant. In order to be an inhabitant I must have a place out of habit, being habituated to residing and establishing residency —residing where I have those things which assure and nurture my life and those with whom I exist—.

Being an inhabitant —habitability’s custodian— is an open course of relations (the selective task of opening up to that which bolsters and benefits us, and rejecting defensively that which assaults us and compromises our ability to reside) that constantly modifies the conditions of our existence.

A favorable environment preserves and expands life; an unfavorable one, reduces and extinguishes life. Environmental debt and the green agenda of concerns point specifically to our time, echoing the very difficult circumstances we foster against life. Obtaining a residency certificate [GREEN CARD] from our environment, the testimony of a life well lived, requires coordinated action —unprecedented, in many aspects— towards mutual benefit.

Additional Information:

CPD Credit Hours and AIA CES Learning Unit Hours are offered to members of the HKIA and the AIA.

This lecture is open to the general public.

The Fall 2013 Public Lecture Series are co-sponsored by “Ronald Lu & Partners (HK) Ltd.” & “Woo, Chow, Wong & Partners (HK) Ltd.” visiting lectureship in architecture.