Top

A life / Melnikov House

Cortesía de Do.Co.Mo.Mo

Arbat, residential district of Moscow, 1927. The Russia of change. After the Russian Revolution in 1917, and with Bolshevik ruling the Soviets under Lenin’s command, the USSR is born. This new Soviet Union would get entangled in the web of totalitarianism when, in 1927, an all power-possessing ruler arises: the ascension of Stalin dramatically defined the transformation of Soviet society, sculpting a new face of the country, characterised by collectivisation and industrialisation.

In such a political and social context, architecture, the main channel of propaganda and subliminal messages throughout history, wasn’t left aside. The revolutionary vanguards, waving the banner of constructivism, were imbued with an aesthetic search for provocative, free forms and functionality and found themselves blinded by a new wave of architecture.

In the middle of this landscape, the Melnikov house was built, home for the last 45 years to the architect Konstantin Stepanovich Melnikov. This work would be a turning point in the life of the artist: his own home became his most renowned and appraised masterpiece, but also his most bitter.

Housing property déjà vu / A Spanish woman in Chile

© Ana Asensio Rodríguez

“I’ve already experienced this”

And not in a dream, of that I’m sure. I saw dismal, concrete monstrosities turning cities and the look of their dwellers grey. I saw streets changing, beaches disappearing. I saw all of this recently and it all happened too fast.

They called it the ‘Property Bubble’; it happened in Spain. Now I live in a different country, on a different continent. An amazing Chile bathed by the Pacific, embraced by the Andes, decorated with lakes, deserts and glaciers. A growing Chile, expanding day by day built around its super metropolis, Santiago.

I wake up every morning, next to the windows, and I see cranes lifting walls of concrete with the ease of birds making their nests; window-holed walls that cover the great mountain, which twinkle through the night with the lights of their new inhabitants. Their new and mortgage-indebted inhabitants.  

IFAC: a romance between art and architecture.

© Ana Asensio Rodríguez #IFAC2015

© Ana Asensio Rodríguez #IFAC2015

Sometimes you get to meet people who fill you with energy and electricity — fleeting, intense crossroads full of shared views and beautiful ideas. Spontaneous connections, which however tiny, will remain with you for a very long time.

Sometimes, these crossroads are not between people, but between arts, crafts, talents and experiences. Among these intersections is the inevitable attraction between art and architecture: explosive collages, a romance drunk with imagination. And, on very few occasions these two types of crossroads occur at the same time. And in those moments you can only hope that it will happen again.

It’s called IFAC, the International Festival of Art and Construction. It is a 10-day long celebration that brings together more than 300 people from all over the world – creatively restless individuals, who meet somewhere in the European countryside. I felt immeasurably lucky to be one of those 300 people, and so I wanted to share how fascinating IFAC is from the inside.