I wish I could say those famous words, as Cervantes once did: “ Idle reader: thou mayest believe me without any oath that I would this book, as it is the child of my brain, were the fairest, gayest, and cleverest that could be imagined”. This I cannot write, nor do I seek to try. But it is my earnest wish that these essays provide their readers with food for thought and pleasure.
The essays gathered here are the fruit of a long period of refl ection stretching over a good number of years. Some of the ideas that appear here were partially formulated in previously published texts. They were revised and ‘fi ne-tuned’ during the 2010-2011 academic year in the Avery Library of Columbia University, New York. My university, the UPM, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, and specifi cally its Rector, Javier Uceda, and Vice-Rector, Emilio Mínguez, kindly granted me a sabbatical year in order to pursue this work at Columbia, where Dean Mark Wigley and Ware Professor of Architecture, Kenneth Frampton, supported my research. I owe them all a debt of gratitude. I would also like to thank my colleague Jesús Aparicio, full professor at ETSAM, for his generous and helpful suggestions; Felipe Samarán and Ignacio Aguirre for their precise corrections. And that ‘fi ne-tuning’ process has continued in the most natural way made possible with Word Perfect, which can so deservedly be termed ‘perfect’.
While the issues treated here are various, I wanted to put more emphasis on those that directly relate to the works I’ve designed and built. In fact, all are related to my works, which I treat explicitly in the addenda at the end of each text. I am convinced that no architecture is possible, save that which originates in thought, in reason; nor an architecture that does not possess the will to be built, to have the constructed work as its end.
1st edition, April 2012
2nd edition, March 2013