Langarita-Navarro Arquitectos, Madrid: Resistencias Blandengues: Soft Resistances

A stairwell with brightly colored metal stairs and struts at various angles
Medialab Prado (2013) by Langarita-Navarro Arquitectos. photo / Luis Diaz Diaz
A lofted atrium space with geometric shapes and natural plantings
Red Bull Music Academy (2011) by Langarita-Navarro Arquitectos. photo / Luis Diaz Diaz

Cornell in Rome Fall 2017 Lecture Series

María Langarita and Víctor Navarro each received a Ph.D. in architecture from ETSA Madrid. They are lecturers in architectural projects at Universidad Europea de Madrid, ETSA Madrid, and have also been lecturers at Harvard University. They have worked together since 2005 in the architecture office of Langarita-Navarro.

Langarita and Navarro have been recognized with the Special Mention of Mies van der Rohe Award 2013 and several other prizes such as XII BEAU Prize, FAD Award 2012, Architectural Review London Award for Emerging Architecture 2012, and the COAM Prize 2013. Their firm was recognized with the AD Heineken Award for New Talent 2013, and they won the Europan Prize in 2015.

Their work was exhibited at the 2008 Venice Biennale of Architecture and in numerous other exhibitions. They have been the directors of the XII BEAU summer course at Universidad Internacional Menendez Pelayo, and were selected to be jurors for the Santo Domingo Biennale.


To describe is to design. Studying the physical organization of the urban environment, Langarita and Navarro were inspired to categorize architecture according to its material consistency.

Bust and Pelt is a system to arrange the content of the physical world. Bust refers to the hard part of architecture — inorganic and inert, slowly eroded and expensively transformed. On the other side, Pelt is organic and soft, perishable and easily decomposable. Specific training is not necessary to operate on it, just some bricolage skills.

Pelt is hardly legible and doesn't withstand the passage of time. It doesn't leave a visible track when it disappears and it needs the actions and affections of the living to last.

The archives of the culture have learned to look, speak, and write about the Bust. The associated techniques of the Pelt are scattered over a wide crowd of secondary values for architecture. Soft resistances are the will to capture and apply the Pelt wisdom of the city.