The research precedes a curatorial project promoted by the Círculo de Bellas Artes de Madrid to discuss architectural theory. The objective was to show the historical and current relevance of reflection on architecture, and its creative nature as a form of knowledge. The papers were divided into two parts, images and concepts, in a shared journey from the Renaissance to the present day.
The first part included the identification and characterization of images in relevant archives. On the one hand, engravings of treatises and manuals were examined in the old collection of the libraries of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, mainly of the E.T.S. de Arquitectura. On the other hand, we worked with drawings from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries in the collections of the Canadian Centre for Architecture. And, for a more exhaustive historical examination, the work was completed with the study of rare books from the Bibliotheca Hertziana and the National Library of Spain, and material from the archives of the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (GTA) of the ETH Zurich. The result was an open visual narrative displayed in the exhibition Atlas of Theory(s) of Architecture, and the discussion raised in the accompanying catalog.
The second part developed an online platform, teoriasdearquitectura.com, which allows browsing through 1,500 fragments selected from some 280 fundamental texts on architectural theory, written by more than 150 authors. These fragments are linked together by a selection of more than 200 concepts that act as hyperlinks. Far from a classic written formulation, the platform is designed for an open and multiple reading. It invites playful action, more poetic than academic. It is not a dictionary, nor is it an anthology. We do not find unique meanings of concepts, but rather polyvalences and contradictions; that is, it allows us to see how meanings vary over time and under different contexts.