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Article

Ramón Vargas

(b Mexico City, Mar 29, 1915; d Mexico City, May 25, 1959).

Mexican architect, theorist, and writer, of Japanese descent. The son of a Japanese ambassador in Mexico, he studied philosophy, espousing neo-Kantianism and becoming politically a socialist. He became a supporter of Functionalism, with its emphasis on the social applications of architecture, and was a founder, with Enrique Yañez, of the Unión de Arquitectos Socialistas (1938), helping to draw up a socialist theory of architecture. He was one of the most active participants in the Unión and attempted to put his socialist theory into practice on two unexecuted projects in the same year: the building for the Confederación de Trabajadores de México and the Ciudad Obrera de México, both with Enrique Guerrero and Raúl Cacho. Later, when Mexico opted for a developmental policy, Arai became a standard-bearer for nationalism in architecture. He re-evaluated traditional building materials, such as tree trunks, bamboo, palm leaves, and lianas, using them in a plan for a country house that was adapted to the warm, damp climate of the Papaloapan region. The building of the Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico City, gave him his greatest architectural opportunity when he designed the Frontones (...

Article

Chitqua  

David Clarke

[Tan Chet-qua; Chen]

(b possibly 1728; d Guangzhou, 1796).

Chinese portrait modeler. Chitqua ran a business in Guangzhou making portrait figurines for clients among the Western traders. His statuettes (generally around a foot or so in height, and thus easily portable) were executed in the medium of unfired clay subsequently painted. Chitqua’s work is characterized by a realism which places emphasis on accurately individualized representation of facial features and attention to detail in the treatment of dress. Similar figurines, albeit of lesser sophistication, exist from earlier in the 18th century.

Chitqua visited London between 1769 and c. 1772. He produced a number of figurines and (reportedly) busts during his time in England, and attained a high degree of social celebrity, meeting King George III and many prominent individuals. James Boswell and Josiah Wedgwood both record meeting Chitqua, for instance, and the latter also sat for a portrait, which is lost today. Regarded in England as an artist rather than an artisan, he exhibited one of his portrait sculptures in the second Royal Academy exhibition (...

Article

Kenneth Frampton

(b Oita, July 23, 1931).

Japanese architect, teacher and theorist. One of the leading architects of his generation, he became an influential proponent of the avant-garde conceptual approach to architecture that characterized the New Wave in Japan in the 1970s and after (see Japan, §III, 5, (iii), (b)). He studied at the University of Tokyo under Kenzō Tange and after graduating (1954) he worked for Kenzō Tange & Urtec until 1963. From 1960 Isozaki began to develop his own practice, first as an architectural designer, completing the Ōita Medical Center (1960) and Ōita Prefectural Library (1966), and then as a theorist, loosely associated with Japanese Metabolism and creating such ironic projects as his ‘Ruin Future City’ and ‘Clusters in the Air’ (both 1962). His first large public commission was the Ōita branch of the Fukuoka Mutual Bank, completed in 1967. Other important public works followed in relatively rapid succession, and he quickly established his reputation with such buildings as the ...