The Drawings of the Incovenient Architect

The inconvenient architect is the one who is not predictable, he is the independent one, who does not allow himself to be influenced. I have met several (not many), and I recognize that I feel a special attraction for this professional profile. Not to mention names I wanted to make in this article a tribute to a great teacher who found in the drawing a social strategy worthy of psychological analysis. It’s about Ricardo Aroca. To many an unknown but for architects, especially those of a certain age, an authority in the world of teaching and calculation of structures. Professor, Director of ETSAM, Dean of COAM… For years, he held a large number of positions that forced him to hold lengthy meetings. Meetings which extend over time and which require listening, replication and rejoinders, negotiations…. Sometimes, especially for certain spirits of action, this part of the assembly can generate stress or frustration because of the usual feeling of wasting time especially in the meetings of many members. To these meetings the good Don Ricardo presented himself, I speak in the past because according to his own words he no longer goes to so many, his figure left nobody indifferent with his long beards and his always present shirt full of pens in his pocket. When the meeting had just begun, he would take out his recycled cardboard and immersed himself in his drawings without looking up from the cardboard. Knowing that his opinion was generally fundamental in the final decision, his attitude generated a state of tension and discomfort that was increasing. Those of us who have experienced this situation can certify that point when, in a crystalline way allowed us to observe who was on their side and who represented his opposition, because Don Ricardo does not leave indifferent to anybody. All the people, to a greater or lesser extent, cast side glances trying to guess why was so absorbed the sketch artist. What Aroca drew were series of abstract geometric figures, where the colors drawn from his multicolor Chinese pen were combined. Was the typical technique of unconscious drawings that we scribbled as we speak by phone or do other activity in parallel, series of lines, circles, spirals, with appearance of organic bodies seen through the microscope…


During the defence of my doctoral thesis Aroca, as a tutor, drew endlessly on his cardboard as I had seen before, for me it was already a regular thing, and for him it was the infinite time he listened to the same story…When I finished and before the typical happiness of a finished process I asked him to give me as a present the work that I still keep in my studio and it is the one that is reproduced in the article. In the back he wrote down the meetings and date in which the work had been completed, in this case there were very different situations, the defense shared cardboard with a surely boring school board, a controversial compensation board, and an attractive conference of Heymann. In recent years he had drawn more than 300 of these sheets as a result of more than 7000 hours of meetings. Recently many of them have been shown simultaneously in an exhibition and I was very excited because beyond their artistic value, the use of the drawing as a pressure performance in the meetings has always seemed to me a genius typical of a teacher. I also understand who consider it disrespectful but thinking is always thinking against someone.