..Gropious House, Lincoln, Massachusetts, 1938
..Hahnemühle print from original bw negative
Ways of looking
There are many ways of looking at architecture, but few ways to truly see it. To see architecture requires that the
viewer consider and contemplate the subject of analysis. He or she must enjoy a careful and attentive understanding of the
object. The attitude implicit in this action is imperative to create and appreciate architecture. Here, Iñaki Bergera presents
a series of photographs of the buildings that have interested him on his American visits. It is precisely this architectural way
of “looking” that accounts for the strong and studied images achieved. In other words, his attitude as an architect, –those
who know him, know his intensity–, illustrates and directs his eye as a photographer. Let us review some of his work.
In the photograph of the Gropius House in Lincoln, the world of transparencies and reflections that is described in the
ambiguous boundaries between the inside and the outside, or the contrast between the roughness of the stone and the
tightness of the glass, reveals the profoundly architectural intention of the photographer. These capabilities of the architect
contribute to the construction of the image as much as the compositional ability to frame the image that belongs to the reality
of the photographer.
Similarly, we can reference the photograph of Eero Saarinen´s chapel at MIT. In this case, the photographer’s architectural
vision is what allows him to understand the synthesis that is required to express the gentle cascade of light, from the
skylight, that descends, metallic and subtle, towards the interior of the building. This is precisely the most emotionally
moving element of the architecture.
While he seeks to find the detail that expresses the “spirit of the work” in the singular buildings that he studies, he is no less
influenced by architectural intentions in his photographs of anonymous parts of more mundane works –as is the
case with the houses on Cape Cod. The aged volumes appear full of texture, always naked, but never alone, for the
landscape is always present, softly cradling the constructed work. Places, at the same time, are reduced to simple lines
and traces, to a certain extent, they are “constructed” in the way that the photograph is created.
We could say that Iñaki Bergera expresses the intent to design in many of his photographs. He implies those intense and
satisfactory processes that every architect enjoys in his or her creative process. And, it does not matter that he borrows
Walter Gropius´s works, or Louis Kahn´s, the humble houses of wood or brick that he finds on his way through Cape Cod
or the suburbs of Massachusetts. Any excuse is a good one to revisit the intense moments and revisit them with his
carefully selected references. In a certain way, his photographs express the architectural world which he would like
Photographs based on architecture must imply an intellectual effort and creative capacity that transports us to a reality that
is different from that of the object. On the other hand, when the object is rich and notable, it is always better to address the
reality of the very object. In the case of Iñaki´s work in this exhibition, the photographs have gone beyond the limits in
which autonomy exists. Do not understand my words as those that lessen the value of the work of the photographer.
Rather, they are an attempt to qualify these pieces, pointing out that the particular value that they have stems, to a great
extent, from the condition that the studious architect has always admired and that in the case of this exhibition has proved
Patxi Mangado, Architect
[Text on ‘America, Paisaje Urbano', 2006]