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In Light of Hilberseimer

In Light of Hilberseimer:
The Genesis and legacy of The New City
Vibok Works, 2017.
XIV BEAU Award / Research and Publications, 2018.
Shortlisted in the FAD Award / Thought and Criticism, 2017.
Author: Plácido González Martínez.
Epilogue: Carlos García Vázquez.
Edition: Paula V. Álvarez.
Graphic Design: Vibok Works.

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"With clear and elegant writing, Plácido González Martínez unravels an important paradox in this book: the unexpected emotional intensity hidden within this figure who was commonly described as cold, dull and stubborn; his tragic love story with Otti Berger, a student he met in Bauhaus de Dessau; his close relationship with students at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago (IIT), who suffered from the daunting arrogance of a certain Mies van der Rohe… In short, this book reveals the profound human dimension behind the leader of urban and architectural rationalism in the 20th century".

—Carlos García Vázquez.

"I became familiar with The New City in 2004 while revising my dissertation with Carlos García Vázquez, who was my doctoral advisor. Carlos and I had a conversation in which we both shared our fascination for the ideas Hilberseimer discusses in this book. We were intrigued by how Hilberseimer’s city dissolved into the landscape and the social reform project this entailed, given the historical context marked by the fear of war and a deep-rooted crisis around the very notion of a city. I was lured by the German architect’s advocacy for blending the city with nature. His commitment was a small scale apologia to create architecture at the service of a democratic, organic and functional city.

As I acquired more knowledge about The New City, I also learned more about the author’s human dimension. Given the importance of the publication that brought Hilberseimer back into the limelight in the late 1980s, In the Shadow of Mies, this book modestly suggests re-reading The New City, but rather in light of Hilberseimer. Inevitably architecture, even paper architecture in this case, is linked to life. I therefore turn to the stories tucked away in the archives of this seemingly dismal architect".

—Plácido González Martínez.

Plácido González Martínez is a PhD Architect and Urban Planner, awarded best thesis at the University of Seville in 2010. He is Associate Professor at the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University since 2016. Former Visiting Professor at the same University from 2013 to 2015. Previously Associate Researcher at the University of Seville (2016), he has also been a professor at the University of Seville (2002-2015), Universidad San Pablo - CEU (2008), Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca (2007), and Texas Tech University (2005).

González Martínez is drafter of the Spanish National Plan of 20th Century Heritage for the Spanish Institute of Cultural Heritage, member of the Advisory Board for the same Plan. Member of the Registers Committee of the Iberian Docomomo Foundation and the GAMUC Research Team, studying Spanish colonial architecture and urbanism in Morocco, the Western Sahara and Equatorial Guinea. He was the Director of the Conference ‘Neighborhoods, Cities and Towns of the 20th Century’ in 2017, and the 8th Iberian Docomomo Conference in 2013. He was project manager of architectural heritage documentation for the Andalusian Institute of Historical Heritage, for which he coordinated the Register of 20th Century Architectural Heritage in Andalusia.

He is currently Executive Editor of the Built Heritage journal, published by Tongji University Press, a publication on the contemporary theory and practices of conservation of architectural, urban and rural heritage, aiming to establish an exchange platform on heritage between China and the world.