English versions of the following articles are available online

Title: The Museum of Copies
Author: Gloria Saravia. Curadora, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile. / Cristian Valenzurla Pinto. Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2011. Santiago, Chile.
Abstract: As a pedagogical tool aimed at the intellect, the copying of preexisting models – or references – was a common practice in the nineteenth century. Given the collection of reproductions accumulated prior to the creation of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Chile, this exhibition reassess the role of these replicas at a time when notions such as creativity or originality are being questioned.
Keywords: Reproduction; imitation; pedagogy; Fine Arts; Chile.
[read more…]

Title: Un/fair References
Author: Ana Miljački. Architect, critic and curator. M.Arch., Rice University, USA. Ph.D., 2007. Harvard University, USA, She has taught at Columbia University GSAPP, City College in New York and Harvard University GSD. / Fabrizio Gallanti. Architect and critic based in Montreal, Canada. He is professor at the School of Architecture of McGill University. Along with Francisca Insulza, he founded the experimental studio FIG Projects, which explores the boundaries between architecture, urban research and visual arts.
Abstract: We usually understand the discipline as a collection of previous examples that can be used and manipulated as references for the design process. However, have we ever asked ourselves to what extent are we contravening the copyrights owned by previous colleagues? Are we aware of these regulations? This interview not only clarifies the history of copyright in architecture, but also seeks for the opportunities and possibilities underlying those legal concepts.
Keywords: Copyrights; copies; originality; law; exhibition.
[read more…]

Title: Thing Rights. An architectural re-enactment of the Josephine Baker House by Adolf Loos (1928)
Author: Inés Weizman. Architect, Studied at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar and the Ècole d’Architecture de Belleville in Paris, the Sorbonne, the University of Cambridge, and the Architectural Association where she completed her PhD.
Abstract: 75 years after the death of its author, the copyrights of a work are expired. In that moment the ‘work’ is separated from the aura of its creator and becomes a ‘thing’ that anyone can use. Based on this legal principle, this project shows how, when works are turned into things, the notion of reference can be taken to a further level, turning it into a new project with almost no manipulation by the architect.
Keywords: Copy; copyrights; reproduction; Doppelgängers; Ordos.
[read more…]

Title: A very small part of Architecture. Highgate Cemetery, London, England, 2016
Author: Sam Jacob. Architect, London, UK.
Abstract: If a replica is an exact reproduction of an original from which it can be still distinguished, this project explores how much of the initial referent must be left aside in order to achieve something new. Based on an unrealized Adolf Loos design from 1921, the project reproduces its form and function while shifting its materiality and meaning, allowing a discussion vis-à-vis replica and original.
Keywords: replica; monument; tomb; Loos; London.
[read more…]

Title: Chicago Tribune. Project, Chicago, USA, 1972
Author: Adolf Loos. Architect, born in 1870 in Brno (currently Czech Republic, back then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire). After travelling to the U.S. he settled in Vienna in 1896 and started his architectural practice.
Abstract: If we understand the first period of modern architecture as one which, in order to follow the spirit of the time had to discard the use of references from the past, Adolf Loos’ proposal for the Chicago Tribune competition is hard to decipher. But if we look at this project and its explicit use of past references from a different angle, we may begin to question those historiographical categories that have classified (and simplified) the complex ecosystem of ideas that shaped what is known today as modern architecture.
Keywords: modern architecture; references; tower; doric; column.
[read more…]

Title: Impatient Search
Author: Alberto Sato. Architect. Profesor titular, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile.
Abstract: Following the academic tradition that nothing comes from nothing – and once modern anxiety for originality was overcome – similarities with preexisting formal systems were reinstalled in the contemporary project. John Soane’s collection and Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas point to opposite strategies that converge in this revival: the former actualizes the notion of ‘type,’ while the latter suggests a free association strategy proper to the modern world.
Keywords: reativity; type; reference; imaginary; accumulation.
[read more…]

Title: The Islamisms of nineteenth-century Chilean architecture and other Eastern references
Author: José Morais. Master in European Culture and Thought, Universidad de León, 2010. Master in Anthropology, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, 2016. Doctor in History of Art, University of León, 2010.
Abstract: At best, intellectual processes implicit in the use of references are overlooked; at worst, they are prejudicially dismissed as ‘copies’ of a purest, truly original. The analysis of Islamic influences in nineteenth-century Chilean architecture, however, allows breaking down those prejudices and reassess what, according to this text, would be “one of the most brilliant stages of Chilean architecture.”
Keywords: influences; references; Alhambra; Aldunate; Burchard.
[read more…]

Title: Brick House. Rosario, Argentina
Author: Diego Arraigada. Architect, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, 1999. Master of Architecture, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 2003. Awarded the Graduate’s Silver Medal at the Universidad Nacional de Rosario and graduated with honors from UCLA.
Abstract: Although the cubic house has a wide genealogy at a global level, this project starts from very specific local references, hard to guess through images: the brick masonry tradition of the Paraná basin (both in Argentina and Paraguay), the structural compression logics characteristic of this constructive system and, mainly, the work of Jorge Scrimaglio in Rosario which this project not only advances but also tributes.
Keywords: cube; compression; masonry; Rosario; Argentina.
[read more…]

Title: Walnut Tree Pavilion. Talagante, Chile, 2016
Author: Emilio De la Cerda. Architect, Magíster in Architecture, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2006. Partner in OWAR Arquitectos, between 2005 and 2016. He served as Executive Secretary for the Chilean National Monuments Council between 2011 and 2014. Currenly he is Assistant Professor and Director at the School of Architecture at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. / Pedro Correa. Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2012. MSc. Critical, Curatorial and Conceptual Practices GSAPP, Columbia University, 2016. He is Adjunt Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
Abstract: Given its nature, an expansion should always take a position on physical preexistences (either friendly, indifferent, defiant, and so on). However, it is not obvious that the design for a house expansion should also take a position on intangible pre-existences (such as discipline, culture, history, and so on). The example shows an attempt to extend not only a house but also the constellation of precedents that the commission follows, even if only in a small autonomy redoubt.
Keywords: house; domesticity; wood; expansion; reference.
[read more…]

Title: Received ideas
Author: Enrique Walker. Architect, Universidad de Chile, Chile, 1991. MA in History and Theory, Architectural Association, London, UK, 1995. PhD, Architectural Association, London, UK, 2012. His publications include the books 12 Interviews with Architects (ARQ, 1998), Tschumi on Architecture: Conversations with Enrique Walker (Monacelli, 2006), and Lo Ordinario (Gustavo Gili, 2010).
Abstract: As ‘found objects’, ideas received are mobilized as the arguments which prompt a critical, pedagogical formulation. In one case, constrictions trigger the project; on the other, clichés become a straitjacket to design. In both, the goal is the same: pushing the students to take architecture one step further, transforming the series of studios into a pedagogical project with its own life.
Keywords: studio; pedagogy; found object; cliché; project.
[read more…]

Title: The Museum of all Museums. Project, Taipei, Taiwan, 2011
Author: Federico Soriano. Architect, Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid ETSAM, 1986. Doctor Architect, ETSAM, 2002. Along with Dolores Palacios he founded in 1992 the office Soriano y Asociados arquitectos.
Abstract: In a context where everything has already been created and where we have already seen all images, this project applies a different logic: replace production with postproduction – that is, manipulating already popular images to generate something new from them. Thus, through a collection of 100 existing museums, a fresh image, concept and project are developed for the new Taipei City Museum of Art.
Keywords: collection; postproduction; recycling; concept; image.
[read more…]

Title: The Horizontal Skyscraper: Reference as a Brief Genealogy in Steven Holl
Author: Pilar Pinchart. Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 1997. Doctor in architecture projects, ETSAM, Madrid. She has taught at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Madrid (UPSAM) and at the Pontifical University of Salamanca, at the Madrid campus (UPSAM). Architect and curator of the Chilean Pavilion at the Biennial of Architecture in Venice in 2012.
Abstract: The explicit use of references in Steven Holl’s oeuvre allows for the review of his design process, interests and influences. By connecting these to disciplinary imagery, the text dives in those references – both internal and external to architecture – to explain how they define, in Holl’s work, a notion of form and program that is something much more complex than just fulfilling specific requirements of use or function.
Keywords: Constructivism; El Lissitzky; Conceptual art; LeWitt; influences.
[read more…]

Title: Salamanca Municipal Gymnasium. Salamanca, Chile
Author: Mario Carreño. Undergraduate studies, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, 1990-1992. Architect and Graduate studies, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2000. He is currently Assistant Professor at the Escuela de Arquitectura, PUC. Co-founder in 2000 of Carreño Sartori Arquitectos, his work has been published in different media, exhibitions and biennials. / Piera Sartori. Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 1999. Graduate studies in Landscape Architecture, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2003. She is currently visiting professor at the Escuela de Arquitectura, PUC. Co-founder in 2000 of Carreño Sartori Arquitectos, her work has been published in different media, exhibitions and biennials.
Abstract: Conceiving the building as a public space activator has a wide range of precedents, not only in a threshold logic – with the building’s facade as a public backdrop – but rather in a contemporary fashion, where the structure frees urban land in order to expand the building’s program. This project, in a small town in the north of Chile, uses this genealogy of references to deliver a new public space.
Keywords: void; public; sports; façade; folds
[read more…]

Title: Margarita
Author: Alejandra Celedón. Architect, Universidad de Chile, 2003. MSC Advanced Architectural Studies, University College London, UK, 2007. PhD Architectural Association, UK, 2014. Her research interests range from the relationship between architectural drawings and the construction of discourses on the city, to the acts of redrawing and collecting as epistemological and critical operations. / Gabriela García de Cortázar. Architect, Universidad de Chile, Chile, 2006. MA Architectural History, University College London, UK, 2010. PhD Architectural Association, UK, 2017. Gabriela’s main research interest thus far has been drawings: paper architecture, maps and chorography (the Renaissance term for the drawing of place).
Abstract: The concept of ‘moral referent’ speaks of the people whose coherence – the virtuous relationship between discourse and action – turns them into true embodiments of a thought or idea. During her lifetime, the architect Margarita Pisano became the moral referent of feminism in Chile. The changes in her life, permanently linked to actual architectural spaces but always tending towards feminist activism, are brilliantly narrated in this text.
Keywords: feminism; women; activism; houses; Chile.
[read more…]

Title: Self-Design, or Productive Narcissism
Author: Boris Groys. Art critic, media theorist, and philosopher. Among his books are included: The Total Art of Stalinism (1992), Art Power (2008), Going Public (2010), Introduction to Antiphilosophy (2012), and In the Flow (2016). He is currently a Global Distinguished Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University, U.S., and Senior Research Fellow at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design in Karlsruhe, Germany.
Abstract: The spread of social networks has narrowed the gap between the designer and his product, to a point that, today, the public image of the self is what is most designed. Hence, each person becomes his/her own model, promoting him/herself to others in a narcissistic, self-referential way to reach approval, something elusive in an era characterized not only by technological advancement, but also by an evident crisis of judgment and values.
Keywords: humanity; desire; taste; networks; technology.
[read more…]

Title: References?
Author: Cristóbal Amunátegui. Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2003. MSC AAD; AAR, GSAPP, Columbia University, New York, USA, 2010. Editor in Chief of Potlatch Journal 2010 to date. Since 2005 he is partner of Amunátegui Valdés Architects. Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University and lecturer at UCLA, USA. / Hugo Mondragón Architect, UPC, Colombia; Master in Architecture, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Master in Theory and History of Architecture, UNAL, Colombia. Doctor in Architecture and Urban Studies, UC. He is currently a professor at the School of Architecture UC. / Guillermo Rojas Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (2012). MSc in Sustainable Heritage, The Bartlett UCL (2014). Head of the Diploma in Cultural Heritage UC and TA at the Magister in Architecture UC. He currently works as independent architect.
Abstract: A potential threat if seen as straitjackets restraining originality or a guarantee if understood as anchors to accrued disciplinary knowledge. Despite having emerged almost in parallel to the academic institutionalization of architecture, and a century after being questioned by the modern avant-gardes, the practice of using references in the design process is still controversial. Thus, for this debate the question could not be other than how valid is the use of referents as a design method?.
Keywords: process; project; academy; avant-garde; subjectivity.
[read more…]

Editorial. Nothing Original

Eastern culture, as Byung-Chul Han argues, “does not trace the being or the origin, but the changing constellations of things” (Han,2016:14). The South Korean philosopher indicates that the value of the ‘original’ is only relative, because the past never rests, since it is reconstructed in each new interpretation being made from the present. Thus, to base a concept on its etymological definition not only ignores the transformations imposed by culture, but also eludes fundamental questions such as: is there an original? And if there is, does it always make sense to go back to it?

However interesting the origins of a subject may be, ARQ would rather focus on its contemporary aspects so as not to lose track of the changes enacted by the present. Regarding references, for instance, we observe the logics of copyright in the interview with Miljački and in Weizman’s project; the idea of tribute in the buildings by Jacob or Arraigada; the reference as a design motif in Loos’ Chicago Tribune, Holl’s oeuvre and in Moráis’ text, and as a critical tool in Walker’s courses and Soriano’s entry; the idea of the project as an assemblage of sources in the works by De la Cerda and Correa, Carreño-Sartori and in Sato’s text; the notion of moral referent present in Celedón and García de Cortázar’s article; or even the current logics of self-reference, which Groys analyzes. This emphasis on the contemporary not only seeks to update a topic whose meaning takes us to the past, but also to emphasize that a magazine is not an anthology.

Nevertheless, this does not prevent us from specifying the concepts we speak of. In semiotics, the referent is neither the signifier (word) nor the signified (concept), but is about to what these refer. Its translation to art in Joseph Kosuth’s “One and three chairs” (1963) clarifies the idea: there is the definition of ‘chair’ (the signified), its image (the signifier), and the chair as a physical object to sit on (the referent), that is, the physical anchoring of what would otherwise only be in the realm of ideas. Scientific research, on the other hand, does not understand the reference as a real anchor but as an epistemological one; hence research must show bibliographic ‘references,’ with ‘quotation’ as a formal mechanism to connect novelty to what has already been done. Even when looking for a job, candidates are asked for former employers ‘references’ in order to check their background. The same happens when applying to academic programs in which applicants are requested ‘reference letters’ from valued ‘referees’ within the academic circuit.

When it comes to architecture, however, these notions show flaws. Namely, when the referent is meant to justify those architectures that have neither signifier nor signified – the ‘aphasia’ Tafuri (1989:138) criticized in Rossi; when the reference stops being the anchor to become the objective (works that do not advance on what is already known); when used in a conservative fashion – as a ‘disciplinary’ guarantee – and ends up atrophying intellectual development; or even worse, when the requirement of ‘references’ from ‘referees’ becomes a way of consolidating castes.

The Modern rebellion – with its manifestoes and tabula rasa – may have been aware of these flaws. However, as Groys (Groys,2009) argues, doing something new is a requirement for Modern art, as you cannot repeat what has already been done; that is, the new presumes the knowledge of precedents in order to move forward. The blank page is filled with previous inscriptions.

A century after these Modern debates, and having witnessed how the quest for originality turned into spectacle-architecture, many argue that it is necessary to rethink this logic. Thus, when Urtzi Grau and Cristina Goberna (paraphrasing Kenneth Goldsmith, who in turn cites Douglas Huebler) claim that “the world is full of buildings, more or less interesting; we do not wish to add any more” (Grau,2013:18), not only do they question the need to create something new, but also they do so through references and quotations. Without taking this position to extremes, we now know that it is impossible to disregard references. Even if we try to hide them, today’s flow of information will sooner or later make a fool out of us. But we also understand its risks and that the big question is how to avoid them.

In this issue of ARQ, the use of references is no longer naive. It does not entail ‘killing the father,’ nor does it imply imitating, venerating, or using it as an endorsement to justify individual risks. Rather, it is a face-to-face dialogue that removes the reference from its sacred condition and turns it into something productive. These are explorations that, as Han argued about the Chinese culture of copy, are indeed proud of having nothing original. ARQ

* GRAU, Urtzi; Goberna, Cristina. “Copiando vengo copiando voy, por el camino me entretengo”. Spam_arq 7 (Primavera 2012, Verano 2013):18-25. [ Links ]
*GROYS, Boris. Art Power. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008. [ Links ]
*HAN, Byung-Chul. Shanzhai: el arte de la falsificación y la deconstrucción en China. Buenos Aires: Caja Negra, 2016. [ Links ]
*TAFURI, Manfredo. History of Italian Architecture, 1944-1985. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1989. [ Links ]