During the XXth century, we have seen many searches of architects wherein a constructive definition made up the core decision of a project, causing other aspects of the site to be subordinated to it. According to this form of work, it was believed that the severity of the constructive definition was equal to the severity of the site. In this manner, other aspects of sites (distribution, character, etc.) would be subsidiaries of this definition.
In many cases, some architects (and even engineers) devoted their life to investigate certain techniques and materials, and their sites were a field of application for their constructive and technological progress. Some of them even managed to handle patents, thus fully engaging in the industry field. They also present their developments in engineering and construction conferences and symposiums, thus clearly occupying a scientific profile space.
Even in the twenties from the ABC magazine, the works of architecture were criticized by comparing them by the weight or other quantifiable data. The case of Eladio Dieste is a great example of systematic search (the patents submitted by it are numerous) and the investigations of Buckminster Fuller for American marines have already constituted a more technocratic case of this profile, beyond the paradox that the hippies groups take their investigations for the construction of their communities. For these examples, they are only a few of a very broad genealogy (which of course includes the same Catalano which we have in other section of this magazine.)
But what should be mentioned is that these searches were strongly supported as regards the technical severity of suggestions and while they lacked expressive aspirations they were mainly defended because of their (supposedly) objective character. When we listen to their authors, these works seemed as the option overcoming any other, not only as a personal option.
In the last years, and after the post-modern set-back, wherein this form of work was upheld by a few (from whom Paulo Mendes da Rocha is the most notable case), many architects have already appeared, whose work is started from a powerful constructive option, where the materic definition of work is turned into (as stated by Helio Piñón) the internal work legality, but where there is no aspiration for universality. In each case, authors see the constructive decision chosen as their option. In fact, critics accompany this manner of production, putting special emphasis on an author definition. Although we notice that there are very strict investigations and searches, the speeches have already abandoned the intention to occupy a place in the industry, even less considering to occupy it in science (there are always exceptions, Bruce Goff existed, Shigeru Ban exists; I am talking about a time period climax.)
Even by hearing the speeches to explain these works, these are supported by philosophers, writers or plastic artists. Therefore, Deleuze, Benjamin, Borges or Richard Serra shall occupy the place previously occupied by the technical or economic checks.
And this change might be correct. The building industry clearly prefers the simplest and repetitive paths, leaving little space for truly innovating searches. And where innovation takes place, the new products offered by the industry already feature an aesthetic stereotyped by definition. The sites constructed with these products are highly likely to be alike.
And as a result, this trend prefers the most home-made materials and constructive techniques or the industrial products used in a manner not foreseen by their manufacturers. The building industry seems to close paths and these architects intend to open them looking for alternative constructive searches.
This is clearly the path chosen by Javier Corvalán. His works seek to build his own severity based on particular constructive definitions. In fact, there are more typological elements in the functional organization of his works which from many technological aspects, which appear with a very powerful expressive charge which turns into the central part of its work. A first vocation for the constructive challenge which will define the work is always perceived, over the distributive-order aspects which are developed with a tranquility not sharing their materiality.
The programs currently carried out by JC are small; its response to more complex issues is to be issued. But a centrality in expressive-constructive aspects is indeed perceived –in full scale-. A gate may turn into a complex closing system. A simple cover, almost a challenge to all fears of any architect. JC is interested in solutions not complying with the rule and using materials not appearing in any catalog in order to meet a very particular creative delight. Therefore, you may use wood pallets, old sheets, and empty bricks left on sight, etc., with each of these elements finding a leading place, very close to its isolated character.
JC seems to establish, with its works, a personal-type relationship, and its future production is expected to widen our horizon, as much or more than other participants close to us.