Can a single work change the trajectory of an entire discipline?

This is the question posed to us by Spanish architecture group Quatre Caps, who have reimagined the unbuilt architecture of iconic Spanish architect Fernando Higueras.


Taking a few of Higueras’ uncompleted works, they have visualised how the buildings would have looked, if they had been built back in the 70s, imagining them through the style of photography used in the same period, with, “different cameras, different reels, different prints, different colour processing”.

Fernando Higueras was one of the most famous architects in the world in the 1970s, and despite this, some of his works remained unfinished, which was a concept that intrigued Quatre Caps, delving into the question of how one or two projects, that never fulfilled their potential, could have impacted wider architecture in a far bigger way than expected.

Polyvalent building in Montecarlo 1969 / Quatre Caps

Polyvalent building in Montecarlo, 1969-1973 / Quatre Caps / Architect Fernando Higueras / Collaborations, Antonio Miró, José Serrano Suñer y Ricardo Urgoiti, photographed in February 1975 / Leica Leicaflex – Ilford FP4 Plus 125 35mm

“In a way, they all do. Any work built will open a way, lift a style or even form part of the culmination of a movement.”

“Everything adds up and everything influences in one direction.”

Quatre Caps words hold a lot of weight, exploring the idea that no piece of art, architecture or design is too small to make a difference, and in fact, it is the culmination of all of these small, seemingly insignificant pieces that forge wider movements and make the biggest change to the world around us.

Wutrich house, Lanzarote, 1962-1964, photographed in August 1965  / Architect Fernando Higueras Collaboration, Perico Massieu / Mamiyaflex C2 – Kodak Plus X Pan / Positived with baryte paper, 600 x 410 mm

Higueras’ works are most prevalent in Lanzarote, where the baron island displays his architecture with the most impact.

From his relationship with César Manrique, projects such as Las Salinas Hotel were born, being cataloged in 1998 as an Artistic and Cultural Heritage of the island.

So commended were his works, that his urbanisation project on Lanzarote is located in the iconic MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York City.

It was therefore clear for Quatre Caps to lend their visualisation to his uncompleted works upon the island, to imagine what difference completion could have made.

Wutrich House, Lanzarote 1962 / Higueras

Wutrich House, Lanzarote 1962 / Higueras / Quatre Caps

“We are talking about a living network of styles halfway between cooperation and survival.

A multiform mass that normally walks and sometimes jumps”

Fernando Higueras / Quatre Caps

Student residence on the Pardo mountain, 1960-1962 / Architect Fernando Higueras, photographed in May 1963 / Voigtländer Perkeo – AGFA Color/Chrome CT18, positived with baryte paper, 600 x 410 mm

Higueras / Quatre Caps

Quatre Caps

Challenging our imagined concepts of architecture, Quatre Caps propose the question of how we truly experience architecture.

If most of us experience it through visual means, as opposed to physical interaction, then can we re-create architecture to it’s original intended purpose without subtracting from it’s effect?

Laboratory for Cementos Island 1966 / Higueras / Quatre Caps

Laboratory for Cementos Island 1966 / Higueras / Quatre Caps

“Architecture is not image. Or at least not only. We have all seen the pyramids, but how many of us have stepped on them? In most cases we live architecture visually. It does not exist, or at least not with total security.

Only the illusion of its existence. It does not replace the experience, but in many cases it is more than a worthy substitute. Hopefully, if it manages to break through the barrier of the image, it can be installed in the collective imaginary as real.”

 – Quatre Caps

Quatre Caps

Quatre Caps, Laboratory for Cementos Asland 1966, Architect Fernando Higueras, Collaborations, Antonio Miró y Juan Manuel Ruiz de la Prada, Hasselblad 500 EL – Kodak Verichrome Pan, Positived with baryte paper, 600 x 410mm

Perhaps the smallest of differences, the minutest of details, can go on to have a huge impact upon landscape and the scope of architecture in a place, and Quatre Caps’ project helps us to envision something grander and something more fluid in creation, providing us with an alternate history.

“A small ucronia built with the hope that it manages to reach our days.”

Fernando Higueras / Quatre Caps

Fernando Higueras / Quatre Caps, Final Project, 1959-1961
Photographed in June 1962
Architect Fernando Higueras
Hasselblad 500 C – Kodak Plus X Pan
Positived with baryte paper, 470 x 600mm