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Presentation written for a show of my work at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of California San Diego

Photographs never show the real dimensions of architecture.

At best they convey some of the sculptural qualities but very seldom the spatial feeling.

The photos present some of my work during the last 30 years, mainly in Africa.

Every project has meant a search for the expression of a poetic concept, born out of the site and program, for the most intelligent use of the limited available technology for the economy of material and aesthetic means, for the integration of natural elements and dimensions, for simplicity, for clarity and for that moral of form called proportion.

Now, as thirty years ago, I feel I am just starting; I feel every new project as an exhilarating challenge and again that until the poetic concept crystallizes all the experience I may have accumulated is of no use.

Now, as thirty years ago, I amalone again and ever again with the need to invent a soul before a structure; a spirit made of light and texture, of materiality and sound, of smell and an echo to the changing light of the day and mood of the season.

For each building, now as thirty years ago, there is bigger fight for quality; more than ever before I must know how to build, how to demand respect for dimensions and materials. Now, more than ever before, skills are being lost and the love for the building profession is disappearing and that makes my life as an architect more difficult every job.

Ours is a lonely battle to be fought at every stage, at every level but with each new building coming out of the ground there is profound feeling of fulfilment. Some of my buildings were conceived and designed down to the minute detail; others were drawn with the tip of my shoe on the ground, pegged with a broken stick hammered down with a casual stone.
Some were discovered during the process of construction, others though the tip of the pencil.

Mine has been a love for the process of construction; for the dampness of the building site, for the profanity of the builder’s fraternization, for the reinvention of a building in its building process.

Then there is period, after the users take over, as difficult as a marriage crisis: somehow the emotional values invested seem faded, confused by secondary issues.

Then, later (sometimes…) we re-understand and value the simplicity of the original idea and respect ourselves for it.



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