Latin America in Its Architecture

Latin America in Its Architecture

Latin America in Its Architecture

Latin America in Its Architecture

Excerpt

The publication of Latin America in Its Architecture represents for the English-speaking reader a valuable and long-awaited contribution on the content and direction of Latin America architectural production. This work, which comprises a selection and revision of the original text, published in Spanish by UNESCO in 1975 and edited by Roberto Segre, introduces a collection of essays written by well-known experts, who in varying degree share a similar vision of architecture as the material expression of a concrete social totality. Consequently, while emphasizing the specific circumstances that have characterized the evolution of different Latin American societies and while explaining in this manner the uniqueness of their architectural production, these essays differ from those more visual discussions that view architecture as a study of the creative genius of some relevant personalities, or as something that stems from a universal and abstract process manifested in a global civilization and a succession of styles. Although considering those factors in proper perspective, in these essays center stage goes to ideological content, to fundamental reflection on the specific factors that have conditioned the architectural product.

Perhaps the above requires some additional explanation about the circumstances in which these essays were conceived and about the present edition. On the one hand, they form part of a polemic process that has been agitating the professional and academic communities in Latin America, certainly not with particular respect to architecture, but with respect to the whole of the subcontinent's cultural and material production. The polemics are a natural response to the wide area of debate over the general Latin American condition, a debate which in the preceding decade erupted with particular vigor in the field of the social sciences as a result of the depletion or failure of several social and economic development experiences. This state of questioning rapidly penetrated into the seemingly neutral world of the "arts." Architecture, the art most "contaminated" by social practice, could naturally not escape such critical examination. The task force that UNESCO called . . .

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