Cuevas civilizadas

Cuevas civilizadas

Ladera Oeste

Guadalajara, Jalisco, México

Photograph by Saúl Molina of the Architect Carlos Lazo Barreiro in his office on Sonora street, number 80. Fondo Saúl Molina Barbosa/Carlos Lazo Barreiro, IISUE/AHUNAM.

Francesco Pedraglio, La mosca y la historia de la cueva (Facts Are Fluid Series 02) [detail], 2017. Two short stories, aluminum bars, hand-printed plastic on stretchers. Courtesy of the artist.

Mario García Torres, La iniciación y el derrumbe de una civilización, 2017. 35 mm black & white slides. Courtesy of the artist and joségarcía ,mx, Mexico City.

Artists: Leonor Antunes, Roma Cortina, Rometti Costales, Mario García Torres, Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, Francesco Pedraglio

The story of the house is obscure. At the end of the 1940s, a businessman and his spouse decided to build a new house, on the same land, just in front of the one they were living. It was an extensive property, as you can imagine. It covered the entire block of Sierra Leona Street in the neighborhood of Lomas de Chapultepec in Mexico City. I do not know the reason that led them in building a new house. Possibly they where guided by boredom and monotony of their Gothic style mansion.

They decided to entrust the project of their future house to a young architect, Carlos Lazo, who came from a family of architects, from the grandfather. Like many architects of the time, he was religious, a devout Catholic. He was also a visionary, not a dreamer, which is different. He had precise ideas: architectural and urban proposals for an utopian future.

Once the construction was completed, the owners packed up their belongings and moved to the other side of the garden, to their new home in the shape of a cave. However, two weeks have not gone by, when the couple moved back to their old house, as shown by a 1948 newspaper clipping, which says: “they are so scared with the beauty of the new house, they have decided not to inhabit it and only contemplate it from their huge mansion that a less complicated architect built for them opposite from the civilized cave”.

It wasn’t aesthetic reasons, much less contempt toward the architect’s work, which led the couple to abandon their newly built house. They were, rather, the discomforts of living in a cave: moisture, cold and living alongside insects (poor bugs: it’s not their fault to get mixed up between a cave shaped house and a garden). So, the cave shaped house became a sculpture, which the owners contemplate from the other side of the garden.

Fotografía de Saúl Molina del Arquitecto Carlos Lazo Barreiro en su despacho de la calle Sonora, número 80. Fondo Saúl Molina Barbosa/Carlos Lazo Barreiro, IISUE/AHUNAM.

Francesco Pedraglio, La mosca y la historia de la cueva (Facts Are Fluid Series 02) [detalle], 2017. Dos relatos, barras de aluminio, plástico pintado a mano sobre bastidores. Cortesía del artista.

Mario García Torres, La iniciación y el derrumbe de una civilización, 2017. Diapositivas 35mm en blanco y negro. Cortesía del artista y joségarcía ,mx, Ciudad de México.

Artistas: Leonor Antunes, Roma Cortina, Rometti Costales, Mario García Torres, Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, Francesco Pedraglio

La historia de la casa es caliginosa. A finales de los años cuarenta, un empresario y su esposa decidieron construirse una casa nueva frente a la casa donde vivían, en el mismo terreno. Era un terreno extenso, como pueden imaginar. Abarcaba toda la manzana de la calle Sierra Leona, en la colonia Lomas de Chapultepec en la ciudad de México. Desconozco la razón que los llevó a construir una casa nueva. Posiblemente los guiaran la aburrición y el tedio de su mansión estilo gótico.

Decidieron encomendarle el proyecto de su futura casa a un arquitecto joven, Carlos Lazo, que provenía de una familia de arquitectos, desde el abuelo. Como muchos arquitectos de la época, era religioso, católico devoto; también era un visionario, no un soñador, que es algo distinto. Tenía ideas concretas: propuestas arquitectónicas y urbanísticas para un futuro utópico.

Una vez terminada la construcción, los dueños empacaron sus pertenencias y se mudaron al otro lado del jardín, a su nueva casa en forma de cueva. Sin embargo, no habían pasado ni dos semanas cuando ya estaban de regreso en su antigua casa, como señala un recorte de periódico de 1948, que dice: “están tan espantados con la belleza de la nueva casa, que han decidido no habitarla y sólo la contemplan desde la enorme mansión que un arquitecto menos complicado les ha construido enfrente de la cueva civilizada”.

No fueron razones estéticas, mucho menos un desprecio hacia el trabajo del arquitecto, las que llevaron a la pareja a abandonar su casa recién construida. Fueron, más bien, las incomodidades de vivir en una cueva: la humedad, el frío y la convivencia con insectos (pobres bichos: ¿qué culpan tienen de no saber diferenciar entre la casa en forma de cueva y el jardín?).

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