The Torres Colón 1969-2019 exhibition demands protection of an architectural icon of the twentieth century
A time-travelling journey through one of the works that define Spanish architecture of the last half of the 20th century. The Torres Colón 1969-2019 exhibition, which can be visited between the 11th of April and 16th of July in Fernán Gómez Centro Cultural de la Villa (Madrid), showcases the history of these slender twin towers. Together they paint a feat; their suspended structure was a revolution. Torres Colón was built from top to bottom. Their peaks serve as their foundation. This innovative technique, a feat attributable to the avant-garde vision of their creator, architect Antonio Lamela (Madrid, 1927-2017), is explained by a set of photographs that chronicle their construction stages, from yesterday to date. Through these, Lamela introduced an architectural and construction system in Spain: Suspended Architecture. A building method of which there was hardly any background in the world.
The exhibit illustrates, from past to present, the personal universe of the architect who, in April, passed away exactly two years ago, and of his most beloved work: the Torres Colón. A narrative is presented through national and international publications of their time that show the audacity of their design and engineering; the audacity, it would seem, of someone who imagined the unthinkable at the close of the sixties of the century past. This construction process, almost magical, is told through various explanatory panels that trace the chronological trajectory from its genesis. A timeline that contemplates the advances, changes, and successive transformations that it experienced in its unique and intense history. A story that is also told in detail in the documentary “The Suspended Architecture of Antonio Lamela” filmed by Héctor Gómez Rioja.
In his track, the visitor will find images that help not only visualize and understand its chronology, but also its social context. And he will listen to the voices of those who contributed to the possibility of this audacity: engineer Javier Manterola; Amador Lamela, who directed the project against all odds; and architect Carlos Lamela, Antonio Lamela’s son and executive president of Estudio Lamela, who, together with his father, proposed the renovation in the nineties.
A reversible skin
The exhibition wishes not only to celebrate the fifty years of a Spanish architectural iconic work, but also to illuminate it; to shine light on it and to demand its maximum protection. A tribute indebted to a one-of-a-kind and unique building. In fact, the visitor will discover that under its current skin, the original design is intact. It can revert to its original image at any time. Even in that, Antonio Lamela knew how to look beyond his time.
A great architect is one who, in understanding his time, is also capable of advancing it. The Torres Colón 1969-2019 exhibition demonstrates it.