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Martin Pinchis
  • Architect (1908 - 2005)

In the late 1950s, Martin Pinchis began to advocate the use of plastic materials for the constructive, aesthetic and industrial possibilities they offered, following in the footsteps of Ionel Schein, Chanéac, Peter and Alison Smithson or Buckminster Fuller. According to the architect, this resistant, watertight, transparent new material opened up new possibilities for architectural design. It was particularly well-adapted to the cultural context of the 1960s, influenced by the idea of the ephemeral. Pinchis was also challenging the Athens Charter, which he believed had taken the principle of general urbanization and turned it into a “totally rural organization with little villages dispersed in fields and the inhabitants forming clan-like social structures.” Close to Yona Friedman or Édouard Albert’s three-dimensional spatial cities, he proposed structuring the city’s volume, making it a more compact whole, in order to avoid wasted space and the characteristic fragmentation of the modern city. In 1967, as everyone’s gaze was raised toward the stars, Pinchis developed the concept of “astro-urbanism.” These were new urban structures in the form of artificial satellites to be placed in orbit in a new hierarchy in order to get away from the “general earthly mediocrity.”

A Romanian painter and architect, Martin Pinchis graduated from the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Paris in the 1930s. In 1962, Guillaume Gillet, French delegate to a colloquium in Romania, met Pinchis there and borrowed his sketches, publishing them that same year in the magazine L’Architecture d'Aujourd'hui. In September 1965, he was invited to create a cover for the magazine Art & Architecture by Richard Neutra, the editor of the issue. Martin Pinchis passed away in 2005, having paved the way, with Kenzo Tange and Yona Friedman, for the new urban concepts of the 1950s-1960s through a dynamic vision of the city of the future.