Reading the Space_El Cultural
We know that alphabetical reading starts after decoding a protocol of signs that the retina scans. Then the brain comes to the boil and creates the images, emotions and structures of reason that enable to process the ideas previously hidden behind the complex combination. It is an intellectual construction of high abstraction and a creative act of enormous intimacy. Reading is also an act of communication that connects people’s life, that provokes dialogue with everything around us. This principle of connectivity is what feeds the necessity to read, and constantly expands with new languages, tools, supports, etc. In the past years this principle has been revolutionized by technology, allowing communication, reading, to be the line between the nodes of a human network; and supports and containers reconfigure their form and their function to submit to the main mission which is the transmission of ideas between people. The library, that was the books’ shelter, has recently evolved into a ‘mediatheque’, capable of accepting more formats. And now that it seems that the objects want to be the readers (ipad3 new screen is called the "retina"), it is the time when Reader’s House is being built, the most appropriate space for the individual that reads, where we naturally direct ourselves. Architecture brings together masses in mechanic and thermodynamic equilibrium: solids, liquids and gases; builds perceptive spaces that affect people through their senses. "Reading the space" is understanding the variables that balance all the physical reactions of the architectural system. While alphabetic reading is an abstract creation that interprets the order of coded signs, the architectural space is a concrete creation that structures energies and compensated forces, but that requires interpretation to be read and activity to make sense.
Together with the Germán Sánchez Ruipérez Foundation we approached the mission of designing and constructing the space that would represent and realize this idea, rethinking everything from its conceptual origin. From the definition of programmatic needs, to material expression, and semantics. We found the site, Madrid’s Old Slaughterhouse, extraordinarily rich of meanings, strategic not only in terms of location, inside the metropolitan area of Madrid, but also in the time when the project was born. A site almost urban, apparently isolated from the fabric of the city, but suddenly connected to the largest infrastructure and landscape network created on the trace of the Manzanares river: the Madrid Rio linear park. This connection spine made of public space is the most important axis of Madrid’s urban anatomy. And its presence helped us understand that the city is also a construction that links people’s lives. And that buildings should be supported by this linkage, and connectivity should be the basic principle of the system. Our intention was hence to materialize this network of connections and build bridges towards reading. Reader’s House will give life to the bond between people and reading.
Antón García-Abril in El cultural
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