To Still the Noise

Billie Tsien


The work of Estudio Macías Peredo – Magui Peredo and Salvador Macías reminds me of a photograph by the great artist Manuel Álvarez Bravo.  Titled “the Toltec” and taken in 1931, it depicts a huge concrete monolith sitting in a steeply sloping and very rocky terrain. I was lucky enough to see it in a gallery in New York.  Upon closer inspection, I could discern a metal roof hovering above the “landscape.” And suddenly I realized that what I was “seeing” was a stone yard.  The steeply sloping landscape was the gravel used to make concrete and the monolith was simply the wall that separated one kind of gravel from another.  But the sense of mass and texture was acutely powerful.

The work of these two architects has both mass and texture that is palpable.  There architecture feels deeply rooted in the place where it is made.  The buildings feel weighty in the land.  They are solid and simple and they stand – silent – waiting.  The texture is supplied by the methods of construction, by the heartbreakingly perfect/imperfect hand of the maker.

Strong shadows are cast in the Mexican light.  When one looks at their buildings there is a dance between the relative simplicity of the form of the building which creates stillness and the details which create the movement of the shadows. Each amplifies the other.

At a time when the meaning, the light, the smells, the very air – the character of a place is becoming ever fainter, Estudio Macias Peredo holds firm.  Like the Bravo photograph, their work is both a truth and a fiction that illuminate a place.