In redoing Loos’s Doric Column with new reference findings Barbas Lopes produces what is, in their account, the most beautiful office building in the world. In a time where information circulates quickly and truth is increasingly unclear, a newspaper such as the Chicago Tribune must have a combined austerity and abstraction. Architecture on the other hand must be without time: modernist in form but classicist in principle. Loos’s column provides a model of proportion and objectiveness, and Barbas Lopes works with its principle structure: base, shaft, and capital. From that starting point, they proceed with the improbable combination of three disparate references, collected from beloved 20th century buildings and from ongoing practice. This exercise of historical imagination brings together the representation of significant features in contemporary society: the first referring to the progressive alienation of capitalistic economy; the second responding to technical constraints and overwhelming design regulations; and the third to emphasize the need for a heroic belief that a newspaper is a house to build information, opening it to wider debate within our society. Emphasized and shared through this work is the American newspaper slogan, “the truth is more important now than ever.”
1 “The New York Times,” print ad, The New York Times, no. 57.520, February 26, 2017.
Barbas Lopes Arquitectos established their practice in 2006. They have designed and realised projects from public and private buildings, single-family housing, exhibition designs, and interiors. The practice is also engaged in collaborations with architects such as Peter Märkli and Gonçalo Byrne. Their work was nominated for Icon Awards 2012, Designs of the Year 2013 and Mies van der Rohe 2013. Patrícia Barbas graduated in Architecture at FAUTL, Lisbon. The firm has collaborated with Aires Mateus, Gonçalo Byrne, and João Pedro Falcão de Campos.Patrícia was the project coordinator for Promontório Architects in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, during 2005 and 2006. She was also a member of FAD Awards 2016.