Intercontinental Curatorial Project Inc.

E x h i b i t i o n s / P u b l i c a t i o n s / C o n s u l t i n g


A show on a single house by Emilio Ambasz


Travelling Exhibition to go to Universities and museums around the world


Casa de Retiro Espiritual

Seville, Spain

Emilio Ambasz & Associates

Design: 1975

Construction: 2000


The following is an excerpt from Architecture as a Myth Making Act of Imagination:

Visiting Emilio Ambasz by Vladimir Belogolovsky. The article was published in June 2009 issue of TATLIN magazine and GreenHouse book on twelve sustainable projects.


Houses perhaps constitute Ambasz’s best projects. They depict his quest for cosmological models and perfectly summarize his greatest ambitions and feelings. These fantastic structures represent flawlessly balanced models of an idyllic universe and the utopian harmonic myth of Arcadia. In fact, describing his work Ambasz resorts to the romantic language of fables, and not the hard tongue of theory. That is because the architect searches for essential and lasting principles in architecture.

“Fables remain immutable long after theories have crumbled. The invention of fables is central to my working methods. It is not just a literary accessory. The subtext of a fable, after all, is a ritual and it is to the support of rituals that most of my work addresses itself,” says the architect.

La Casa de Retiro Espiritual, designed in 1975 for a site in Cordoba, Spain and built in 2000 north of Seville, is perhaps Ambasz’s most powerful work. With a freestanding mask-like façade, the house tries to reexamine architecture and many of its key notions – its relation to landscape, to sky, to man. It is simultaneously here and there. It is at once inside and outside. It is the beginning and the end, firmly grounded and forever suspended in midair. Its structure is progressively modern, deconstructivist, unpretentiously artificial, and dogmatic. Yet, it can be equally described as conservatively traditional, naturally domestic and convincingly authentic. This house is about so many thoughts and ideas, but the strangest thing about Ambasz’s house is that it was built at all. One cannot realize a dream: one cannot inhabit an idea. But here it is and all such questions are groundless.