The Architecture and Design of Alberto Campo Baeza

There's no doubt that Alberto Campo Baeza is a master of Spanish and international architecture. Light takes center stage in his designs, resulting in unique and innovative buildings and spaces.
The Architecture and Design of Alberto Campo Baeza

Last update: 25 July, 2020

The architecture and design of Alberto Campo Baeza are synonymous with power and poetry. His architecture is deep and meticulous. He has designed projects around the world and received various awards.

Campo Baeza’s designs are minimal. They follow the “less is more” design philosophy, which was first attributed to German architect Mies Van der Rohe. This mantra perfectly describes the designs of this Spanish architect.

However, Campo Baeza’s designs go further than this because his designs speak of poetry and craftsmanship that use light and traditional materials. In many cases, his projects separate themselves from their surroundings and become part of the sky above, as they are covered in light.

The main element that Campo Baeza uses is light, and so it always takes center stage in his designs. He believes that an architect should be a generalist and should be someone who knows almost everything.

A biography of Alberto Campo Baeza

An image of Alberto Campo Baeza.
Alberto Campo / blogfundacion.arquia.es

Alberto Campo Baeza was born in 1946 in the Spanish city of Valladolid. He moved to Cadiz at the age of two, where, in his own words, he “saw the light”. His grandfather was an architect in Vallodolid so he was surrounded by architecture from an early age.

His tutor, Alejandro de la Sota, instilled in Campo Baeza the basics of architecture. He was also taught by Julio Cano Lasso, with whom he collaborated on several projects. He then also worked with Javier Carvajal to complete his doctoral thesis. After this, he became a professor at the Madrid School of Architecture.

Campo Baeza has traveled the world teaching, giving classes at ETH Zurich, the EPFL, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, the University of Pennsylvania, and Kansas State University. He has also taught in Dublin, Naples, Virginia, and Copenhagen.

This architect has won multiple awards, including the Torroja award for his best-known work, the Caja de Granada. He also won awards at the Buenos Aires Biennial in 2009 for his Benetton Nursery in Venice, and Andalucia’s Museum of Memory, in Granada.

Numerous places have exhibited his work, including Mies’s Crowan Hall in the Illinois Institute of Technology’s (IIT), and the Basilica Palladiana in Vicenza. Campo Baeza has been a full member of the Architecture Section of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando since 2014.

The architecture of Alberto Campo Baeza – using light as an architectural material

A Madrid sport center designed by Alberto Campo Baeza.
Polideportivo UFV / floornature.es

Alberto Campo Baeza has mastered architecture and all processes associated with this art. With his knowledge, he brings precision and personality to his work and is always searching to achieve a balance between volume and light.

Campo Baeza values light highly. He enjoys working with it. He believes that the principal components of architecture are “gravity that constructs space, and light, which constructs time.”

This obsession with light and its uses stems from Campo Baeza’s early years in Cadiz. One of the best examples of his work with light is the Caja Granada. He explains that “The light in Caja Granada is like a gift that every day, every second, has the power to move us, to change us like the passing of time…”.

Also, much of Campo Baeza’s work focuses on the residential sector. Consequently, he has designed many homes across the world. He has also worked with several development and construction companies. His architecture has a strong and minimalist edge.

“Light is a material that builds architecture. It is the most luxurious, valuable and affordable material, costing absolutely nothing. Light is a gift and it is the key to great architecture.”

-Alberto Campo Baeza-

A unique design – Gaspar house

An image of Casa Gasper.
Gaspar house / campobaeza.comGaspar house is based on a square measuring 18 x 18 meters, defined by four enclosure 3.5 meter high walls. The square is divided lengthways into three equal parts. Only the central section has a roof, which measures 4.5 meters high. The square is then divided transversely into three parts with the proportions A, 2A, A.

Campo Baeza uses the color white in many of his projects. This bright color brings clarity and continuity to his architecture. With its simple and clean lines, it follows the current principles of minimalism.

Gaspar house received the status of a Recognized Asset of Andalusian Historical Heritage in September 2009.

Caja Granada, an impluvium of light

An image of caja granada.
Caja Granada / campobaeza.com

This design is made of a large cube built on top of a podium flanked by two courtyards. A central courtyard is in the center of the cube and the area comprises seven floors of offices.

The cube is constructed on a 3 x 3 x 3m grid of reinforced concrete, while the roof is also a light-gathering mechanism. This is the main theme of this building.

Also, the central interior courtyard, a true “impluvium of light”, gathers the solid sunlight through the skylights. The south-facing wall reflects this light, increasing the amount that flows into the north-facing offices.

Finally, the roof rests on four large columns of exposed concrete. As a result, the building is compact, flexible, and simple.

In conclusion, Alberto Campo Baeza’s architecture and design is a tribute to light. This architect brings an intangible greatness to his work with the subtle use of light and gravity.

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