Richard Levene in conversation with Javier F. Contreras and Sven Högger  
February 21, 2020  
Large Kiosk, Geneva

El Croquis is one of the most prestigious architectural magazines globally. Founded in 1982 by Richard Levene and Fernando Márquez, it publishes five monographs every year. The volumes dedicated to established Pritzker Prize laureates such as OMA Rem Koolhaas, SANAA Sejima & Nishizawa, Herzog & de Meuron, Alvaro Siza, and Rafael Moneo are considered as their respective oeuvre complète. Through recurrent features such as a preference for frontality, the display of mirroring photos of interior spaces, plans with characteristic linearism, construction details paired with façade photos, and the objecthood and exteriority of architectural models, El Croquis has shaped architectural history over the last 40 years. 

The magazine rarely publishes nighttime photographs of buildings. This aligns with a broader ethos found in other architectural publications, where the representation of night is absent in various forms, including photography, plans (with lighting plans regularly unpublished), and even essays. Additionally, in the case of El Croquis, its editorial direction, photography, and layout directly stem from the decisions made by its two founders. They meticulously curate everything, from the selection of architects featured in the journal to the framing and perspective of each photograph. Consequently, architectures with diverse concepts and spatial characteristics, like those of Rem Koolhaas, Enric Miralles, SANAA, Christian Kerez, or Zaha Hadid, take on a "croquis-like" quality when showcased in the journal.

In conversation with Richard Levene, Javier F. Contreras and Sven Högger examine the magazine’s evolution from its inception at ETSAM, the Madrid School of Architecture, to its latest issues. This includes addressing the recurrent absence of nocturnal photography in its editorial line. The conversation is part of El Croquis Night, a two-week workshop at HEAD – Genève aimed at producing a nocturnal edition of the journal focused on Geneva’s contemporary architecture.

El Croquis Night

Workshop: February 2020 
Department of Interior Architecture, HEAD – Genève