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ARABESQUES: PROJECTUAL PROCEDURE

Arabesques define not only a design process but also a way of seeing and understanding architecture. Yago Conde, trough his doctoral thesis research and his academic experience as teacher in designs schools, reflected on how one should design and teach Architecture. His personal experience and his interests in the artistic vanguards, positives and negatives, helped him generate his own design process in which his cultural knowledge merged with his own personal motivations to generate what he called the Architecture of the Indetermination.

The design logic originated from the Competition of Granada and Yago Conde´s fascination for the geometric of the arabesques. It has been studied in depth and improved in following projects with Bea Goller. Both architects developed a continuous feedback between their conjunctive research done at their architectural office and the teaching that they did separately. They have been nourished from the experimentation and they have used it to enriched their architectural proposal and the design process itself.

The process consisted of taking generating elements from outside of the pure architecture field coming from the literature, the music, and the dance. A manipulation methodology began with those elements. These foreign elements were subjected to a geometrical transformation process, scale alterations, proportional variations, in order to introduce them later in the project that they were designing at that moment. They conformed a large collage of different layers where big pieces were decomposed in other realities to generate new ones from the fragments. The way of resolving a design problem was similar in the exhibition, the architectural work and the urbanistic intervention. The most important variable was the scale.

Yago Conde and Bea Goller applied this design process in the generation of the Fontana Mix project. In this case, the city of Barcelona is conjugated with the music of John Cage. From the musical scores a formal exploration of decomposing, alteration and reinterpretation was developed from which the figures that would be inserted in the Olympic Village were obtained.

The process can also be defined from a “graft” logic by taking elements of others and adding them to the new hybrid proposals, giving innovating forces to the interventions. Like Yago Conde and Bea Goller define it themselves, it was a process totally open to indetermination in the creative part where influences and motivations could come from different sectors. This process guided its self-generated continuity. There weren’t preconfigurations, only interests in the that which was new and in the experimentation. This risky position of touching the non-lineality and of dealing with the complexity, helped not only to generate abstract ideas but also to materialize and to make concrete several architectural projects.

These days the office Congoritme continues developing projects by applying the same design process adapted to current times. Now Congoritme keeps working with external motivations while incorporating the latest technological advances. This continuity in the adaptation of the design process is reflected in the competition for Malgrat City Hall, where the mapping and the scaling were the basis for the project. It is even more emphasized in the Fontana [re] Mix project where the process is mixed with a program based on an random algorythms. The means have changed, going from the manual to the digital era, and the photocopy machine has been abandoned to adopt the computer, however, the basic idea of the design process is the same. Bea Goller, in charge of Congoritme, knew how to demonstrate that both her personal process and the process within her office can continue on.

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The arabesque, for Yago Conde and Bea Goller, is like a decoration, an distorted echo that, like the moiré effect, mentioned by Derrida, alters the perception among figure and background, object and environment, space and time. It functions like a score that can always be reinterpreted and modified; or a map that being applied to a place creates a crossing of times an "oscillation between background and figure".
“The arabesque is used in our ‘ornamentation’ of a place, on one hand, like a distorted echo like Alhambra's ornaments, and on the other, as a form of writing in itself, […] The meaning of those places has been transferred towards the outside, drawing a new map, as excavation. The juxtaposition of trees, artificial parks and new figures does that ours, is a guerrilla conquest , among/under the landscape, more than an imitation of the existing thing. […] we do not attempt a relation of ‘contrast’ between the new site and the landscape, but, through the juxtaposition and crossing, a situation in which a certain swaying between background and figure is produced, a mixture of the two times.” (Yago Conde and Bea Goller)

Bea Goller, his collaborator, explains that they manipulated the arabesques in multiple ways. They studied them as lines, like spots. They did enlargements and reductions. They over-layed and trimmed them. In short: They manipulated them of manually, in such a way that they were transformed into a delicious creative material, opened to infinite possibilities: from extraction, superimposition, interpenetration, intertwining, to creation of volumes.

This project process creates an architecture that they denominate “indeterminate”, a work that is not a prisoner neither of the object, nor the environment, nor the scale, nor the author, but is part of a permanent process of transformation. The scale where the arabesque materializes can change enormously, from a projection on the wall of a flat or a sheet of paper, to the materialization of a square or a building, excavated or juxtaposed. Object and environment, figure and background, space and time, they all fusion in a single structure. This proposal refers to time, to the history of the art, the following question: using the Alhambra's arabesques, up to which point is it different from our works? Finally the author is lost among that anonymous who drew the arabesques of the Alhambra and the deconstructed ones.

Maria Luiza Tristão de Araújo

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03_construir con sonido
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