The shifting center

Pablo Twose, Barcelona

Some months ago we visited the reconstruction of the Sonsebeek pavilion (1966) designed by Aldo Van Eyck. I got lost into it, dragged by a spatial and labyrinthine density which was capable of stretching you or dilating you, just like breathing. In fact it is the building which appears to breathe (1).

The act of walking is implicit in this pavilion; the wet footprints from the park disappear inside. They leave ephemeral traces of multiples paths. ¿ Were ours those footprints? Who knows it?

Everything at the pavilion is an invitation to the experience which led us to discover the sense of touch, the silence, or even a fortuitous clash. It is definitely an invitation to Be, to be a human being. Inside its curves we find ourselves. Every one of us is its center, a shifting center, but those words are from the architect:

“Get closer to the centre – the shifting center - and build it” (2)

What follows this introduction is a representation of some of the sixty plans sketched by Aldo Van Eyck for this project. Look at them as those ephemeral footprints, feeling their lines through touch, rather than sight.

(1) “When is architecture going to breathe in and out – i.e. just breath”. A. van Eyck. The Child, the City and the Artist (1962) p.77
(2) A. van Eyck, Otterlo circles, CIAM congress (1959)