Austral 1938-1944: lo individual y lo colectivo
ColaboratorJover Fontanals, Cristina; Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Departament de Projectes Arquitectònics
Document typeDoctoral thesis
PublisherUniversitat Politècnica de Catalunya
Rights accessOpen Access
The Austral group was an architectural society founded in Buenos Aires towards the end of the year 1938. It originated as a result of a meeting that took place in París ayear earlier, in Le Corbusier's studio. On that occasion , three architects carne together: Antonio Sanet from Catalunya, and Juan Kurchan and Jorge Ferrari Hardoy from Argentina . Once the group was already establis hed in Argentina , sorne other members joined in. This work is not a monograph about Austral. It aims at delving ¡nto the architecture its members were interes ted in, the innovative ideas theyhad , the origin ofthose original ideas , and the wayin which these ideas were reflected in real objects or projects, especially in those related to collective housing. This work also intends to look into the conception of citythese architects had and how they inserted their architecture in the city; which ideas they had about the architectural object and how they inserted the city dweller in that object: and what resources they used to strike a balance between the individual and the collective needs. This piece ofwriting deals with Austral not only as a group but also as a society of architects who explored and shared ideas about design, the ideas that brought them together in a collective initiative known as the "Austral spirit". This work is composed offour parts. The first one focuses on the education and training of the members of Austral . Paris as the place where Austral originated. The second describes how the "Austral spirit" took shape. The third part deals with some ofthe works which show how the Australes experimented with their proposals on collective housing. These works present an analytic representation ofthe fundamental concepts used by Austral and conflrm the hypothesis they had formulated . In the fourth part, the conclus ion, appendixes and bibliographical references are detailed. The Australes received an academic education based on the "BeauxArts" and they received a "modern" training outside the academ icworld. With Le Corbusier theystarted a long path leading to an unknown horizon. Theysucceeded in bu ilding a theoretical framework to guide their work. Far form thinking about the discipline as a tool devoid of content, Iheydecided lo focus on the "philosophical problems ofarchitecture". However, the theory had boundaries that the Australes were determined to trespass . They decided to move forward with the aim of "doi ng work". Th us , they had to act somewhere in between the "Buenos Ares Radieuse" designed in the Rue de Sévres and the "real Buenos Ares" ofthe checkerboard grid and the consolidated fab rico They tried to transform the city from its micro-sca le, establishing new urban relations between the object and the city and causing the concept of corridor-street to tace a crisis even though they could no! make any real changes . They had a smarter incidence on the city than modern orthodox city planning did. Austral se! out from Le Corbusier and incorporated elements Ihal belong to other disciplines, such as collective psychology and abstrac! surrealism in order to propase solutions which depart from the cannons established bythe "international sty1e" and which cater for human beings ' material and spiritual needs. ln this sense, neither surrealism nor collective psychologywas used as a design 1001 to make objects with certain formal characteristics. Theywere used to create , through those objects , certain psychological and physical conditions in the inhabitant. For Austral, the function does notdetermine the form ; the form makes the function possible. In a word , this thesis Is founded on the hypothesis that Austral used a certain concept of space partition and of the grouping of unils which derived from their search to combine "the human individual and the collective socia l". Their projects are considered to be a quest to rework the relations of architecture with the city and of architecture with the city dweller.
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