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Emilio Ambasz

Inventions: Architecture and Design

December 2, 2011 - January 16, 2012
Sabatini Building, third floor, Zone A
Exhibition view. Emilio Ambasz. Inventions: Architecture and Design, 2011
Exhibition view. Emilio Ambasz. Inventions: Architecture and Design, 2011

Emilio Ambasz, an Argentine architect and graphic and industrial designer, strives in his projects to "give poetic form to the practical" and he is considered one of the most important forerunners of what is known today as "green architecture." Convinced that any architecture project that does not try to propose new or better forms of existence is not very ethical, Ambasz designs organic spaces that seek harmonious integration between construction and nature, between architecture and landscape, either by burying the buildings, completely or partially, or by taking vegetation to its façades and/or roofs and indoor areas.

Emilio Ambasz places great importance on reconciling building and urban-planning needs with respect for the environment and ecological sustainability. For this reason his projects make a priority of giving back to the community all the land occupied, by creating green areas which, in contrast to the house-garden model of the modern movement, are integrated organically within the constructed elements. A paradigmatic example of this is his design for the Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall, in Japan. Here, using his idea of putting "the green over the gray..., the soft over the hard" – which has been a leitmotif of his work–, he managed to create a building for exhibitions, theatre and offices of more than 100,000 m2, that at the same time is an open green area in the form of a hanging garden.

This is one of the projects presented in Emilio Ambasz. Inventions: architecture and design, the first large retrospective dedicated to him in Spain. The exhibition includes models, drawing, pictures and audiovisual material related to his most important architectural works, such as the greenhouses he created for the San Antonio Botanical Garden (San Antonio, Texas, 1982); the Mycal Cultural and Athletic Center (Shin-Sanda, Japan, 1990) which despite its proximity to the epicenter of the earthquake that hit the city of Kobe in 1995, hardly suffered any damage; the Casa de Retiro Espiritual, which is located in an isolated nature reserve near Seville and looks like a sailboat navigating a sea of intense green; or the Hospital dell'Angelo (Mestre-Venice, Italy, 2008), remarkable for its large sloping windows and its bright vestibule full of water and vegetation. The show also reveals facets of his work as a graphic and industrial designer, as it includes a selection of some of his most important creations of this type, such as the Vertebra chair (1974-75), the Logotec lamp (1980), the Vittel bottle (1985) and the Flexibol pen (1985).

Exhibition´s details

Organized by: 
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Emilio Ambasz


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  • Lothar Baumgarten. Photography. The ship is going under, the ice is breaking through, 2001
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  • Daniel Buren, Les Écrits (1965-1990), Bourdeaux: CAPC musée d’art contemporain, 1991. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Photo: Centre for Artists’ Publications, Weserburg, Bremen. © DB – VEGAP, Madrid, 2016
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    Program: Biblioteca y Centro de Documentación
    Biblioteca y Centro de Documentación