The contact between hands and models should never be lost. Going into this experience provokes silence, forcing us to think about the care that goes into concrete models. Few words are needed, as models often tell us everything we need to know through the beauty and simplicity that goes into their creation and the importance of the manual process in an architect's work.
Text by Enrique Llatas:
For my father, who's taught me to work with my hands since I was a child.
My father was a military man and, because of this, I had the opportunity to live in different cities throughout Peru. My curiosity was always sparked by the potters going about their work in the streets of Ayacucho, Arequipa, Andahuaylas, and Puno, making their sculptures of mud, stone, plaster, and cement--true art forms that could be found throughout the city streets.
Once in architecture school, I remember finding great, heavy blocks of perforated concrete, almost impossible to transport; however, the closer I got to them, I found myself in one of the most marvelous spaces that I had ever experienced up to that point.
Greater mass doesn't mean less light. Upon finishing school, we began to experiment with different materials to be able to express our ideas, working with everything from metallic mesh and fabric, to armed concrete. In that moment, the big question that we asked ourselves was whether or not we could transmit the same method and building environment of an actual project to a smaller model, a mock-up.
In his book "The Artisan," Richard Sennett tells us that to do is to think. Practice and experimentation always generate new knowledge and the architect is always on the learning path. From books like Alberto Campo Baeza's "Thinking with the Hands" to Juhani Pallasmaa's "The Hand that Thinks," humans are constantly at work expressing ideas with handmade creations.
You create a framework, you add metallic mesh, you prepare a mixture of cement, sand, ochre, and water, and you begin casting. You blend your mixture so as not to generate bubbles in its interior. You fill the mold, you let it dry, you take it out, you throw water on it, and your work is ready.
You remember those moments of trying time and time again to build a castle on the beach by mixing sand and water. These memories stay with you, much like when you create your first model.