Available the nr. 60/10 of On the W@terfront

The Arniches and Dominguez architects: Ideas and shared authorship

by  Martín Domínguez Ruz & Pablo Rabasco 


Abstract by the Editor of On the w@terfrontt

On November the 10th, 2017, we published the article by Concha Diez-Pastor “Architecture and Documents. Documentary map for the study of architecture and the works of Carlos Arniches “.
water60_10_00001-2.jpgAccording to the author, in the last fifteen years, new documentary research on the buildings of the first professional stage of Carlos Arniches and Martín Domínguez – prominent members of the Madrid “Generación del 25” -, reveal the convenience of rectifying the historical narrative in the concerning the authorship of some of the buildings that these architects made, both separately and together. Contradictions and little overlap between primary and secondary sources, largely resolved through intensive documentary and archival research, undertake the role they have played in the historical account of events.
Some previous research on these architects highlighted the relevance of authorship when analyzing architectural works, suggesting the desirability of further research in that route. Before 1936, Arncihes and Dominguez had worked as partners in some works. However, as demonstrated by evidence and archival documents, not all their works were joint work, and those that were not always were properly attributed to the real author.
For the author, the context will be the key to understanding the documentary and archive material collected through a comprehensive evaluation that includes historical and cultural points of view. As a conclusion, her work reveals the “real” authorship of these works under the focus of the research, and allows to settle the facts and preserve their values and their historical scope.
The work of the author is based on the study of a letter from Arniches accepting the position of Architect Director of the Board of Extension of Studies and in the Curriculum Vitae that Dominguez presented at Cornell University. From the point of view of this editor, the author’s plot to carry out the documentary evaluation of the two documents, has a large dose of anthropo-psychological research (valuation of writing, valuation of what we could call life history, etc. ) starting from an axiom “In all cases, the signature of the architect in the plans, documents and projects determines the authorship of the architectural works” (p.23).
The directors of museums, collectors and art dealers would already like this axiom to be true. There are signatures that validate a work not done, there are works that do not support authorship in the signature. Without going any further this happens even in publishing articles and texts in the academic and scientific environment, not to mention the problem of authorship in the field of patents.
In short, according to the work procedure of the author, some of the works in coauthorship with Arniches that Martín Domínguez cites in his curriculum at Cornell would not correspond to the “truth”, since the architect’s signature does not appear. The article states that we would be facing a curricular “falsification”. Furthermore, in the table on page 30, is listed a set of 24 works that Martin Dominguez related in his curriculum, individually or jointly authored with Arniches. According to the author, 16 of these works would imply incorrect authorship.
Working with Ignasi de Lecea for five years, I learned that the formality and literality of documents does not have to respond to reality, to the “truth” if we understand that the correspondence between text and reality, is a distinctive sign of “truth” . We all know that, on many occasions, the documents “falsify the truth”. If this is true in official documents – which can be considered primary sources – what will not happen with secondary sources!, such as magazines, the press or even some reference books whose authors – generally in good faith – do not sufficiently validate some of the the references provided. Much less when it is completely real the impossibility of handling “all” the necessary sources to conclude reliably on a given topic.
Like it or not, the writing of history depends not only on the proper handling of the sources, but also the frame with which we operate our view of the data and the reality. The overzealous and a false positive scientific attitude can make us forget that “truth is in the eye of the beholder”.
Shortly after the publication of the article, Pablo Rabasco and Martín Domínguez Ruz, son of Martín Domínguez, contacted us claiming and noting some important inconsistencies and omissions in the argumentation of the referred article that directly affected the personal honor of the architect Martín Domínguez . After several conversations we decided that it was important that On the w @ terfront activated the right of reply to provide sufficient data that would “falsify” the thesis of the previously published article.
Here is this replica, providing more data – both documentary such as testimonial – a discussion that reveal that, largely, the argumentative plot by Diez-Pastor is too much about determined by her founding axiom and therefore, the image of Martín Domínguez acquired other qualities and dimensions different from those proposed by her.
This article is an investigation about Carlos Arniches and Martín Domínguez, architects and intimate friends who shared professional careers, and studied at the Palace Hotel, without interruption from 1925 to 1936. With the outbreak of the Civil War, research is hampered the disappearance of numerous personal documents, and professional archiving of both. We still have time publications, files and administration and those of Zuazo and Torroja – with whom both worked- and his works in Spain and after the war, the writing and graphic CV of Dominguez by 1960, and a little more. In these circumstances, in this case of two architects of liberal ideas, not very well regarded by the Franco regime, we can not be surprised by the misunderstandings derived from spurious intentions or incomplete investigations.

Keywords: Martín Domínguez; Carlos Arniches; Architecture; shared authorship; exile




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