July 02 2013

The ARQ awards in Buenos Aires, Argentina

The ARQ magazine Awards event is organized by the prestigious Journal of Architecture of the newspaper “Clarín” and the Argentine Federation of Organizations of Architecture (FADEA).

The “DNA of national architecture” as the prize is named, was developed as a golden opportunity to show the current reality of the discipline. This was the spirit felt at the awards ceremony held last August at the Great Hall of the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urbanism of the University of Buenos Aires (FADU-UBA). During the ceremony, Architect Adolfo Mondejar, among many present, showed that the value of the award was to “examine the architecture of the provinces in the interior of the country in order to find very well crafted works”  thus defining a new national architecture while giving many professionals the rare opportunity to compete nationally.

New building for the Catholic University of Santa Fe, Award winner

However the ARQ Awards also had its international stage when the panels exhibiting all finalist works was displayed at the Argentine pavilion of the XII International Architecture Biennial in Venice.

As mentioned in my last post, the first prize went to the Puerto Roldán House, designed by the studio of Maite Caballero and Gerardo Fernandez. The studio’s Santa Fé chapter also won the Minor Scale Award last year. This work, as discussed in the pages of ARQ, is not limited to the needs of architectural programs, but also for advancing a discourse of architecture,  and urban issues  currently affecting the state of Argentine cities.

Bicycle Showroom in Rosario, Award winner

As always, awards can miss lots of things and leave very interesting and important works neglected, or as I mentioned in a previous post, completely miss the point by awarding works that oppose the current paradigms of our work as Architects. If you consider the winning work of this edition: an individual house in a gated community on the outskirts of a city, proposing it as the example of good Architecture in Argentina is completely miss all the development of the architect’s profession in this country and worldwide.

Puerto Roldán House, 1st Prize

Is this type of award an opportunity to further discuss architecture in Argentina and worldwide? Or is it an opportunity to award works that do not actually reflect the “best” of what Architects can do?

Credits: Data and images linked to sources.

Luis Lozano-Paredes

Luis Lozano-Paredes is currently a student seeking a Diploma of Architecture and Urban Planning at Belgrano University in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Born in Colombia in 1987, he grew between the cities of Bogotá and Santiago de Cali, and then moved to Argentina in 2006. There, he finished the Common Basic Cycle of Architecture, Design, and Urbanism at the University of Buenos Aires before pursuing studies in Landscape Design at the same Institution. Inspired by the Urban Transformation of Bogotá in the past decades, his interests evolved from Landscape Architecture to his current passion; Urban Planning, Policy Making, and Sustainable Development. He plans to continue his studies in Urban Planning and Sustainability in Canada, Chile, or the U.S.; but for the moment he currently works as a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center of Metropolitan Transport Studies of the University of Buenos Aires and is a Member of the Observatory of Urban Sustainability at Belgrano University. Luis’ main interests lay within the study of Smart Cities, Urban Sustainable Development, and Social Architecture in Latin America.

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