The Year of the Virus

Luis Fernández-Galiano

Luis Fernández-Galiano meditates about 2020, the pandemic and C:Architecture and Everything Else in its latest issue: C18.


2020 will remain in our memory as the year of the virus. This is already the given title of a crop of chronicles and reviews of a health crisis that has also devastated the economic fabric and caused dramatic social damage. The emergency has put us to the test, placing institutions, businesses, and individuals before an unprecedented challenge, which has brought out the best in us while at the same time exposing our handicaps. Today we are more aware of the fragility of our communities and our lives, but also of the close ties that connect us in a tight web of communication, solidarity, and affection. Despite all this, these provisional accounts are still so close to the events unleashed by the ongoing pandemic that they inevitably lack perspective. The best testimony of the plague London suffered in 1665 – A Journal of the Plague Year – was published by Daniel Defoe in 1722, and it might be a while before the most timeless narrative of our year of the virus appears. In the meantime, covid-19 has left us the task of closing the gaps and healing the wounds of this tragic year, attentive more to the regeneration of social structures, collective projects, and personal expectations than to the intellectual and artistic record of a time of pain, abnegation, and uncertainty. The Ecclesiastes reminds us that for everything there is a season, and ours is not a time to tell but a time to cure.

In 2014 Cosentino embraced with Arquitectura Viva the challenge of drawing attention to the “innovations, designs, and projects that contribute to making the world more sustainable and beautiful”, and this joint effort, under the title C: architecture and everything else, has materialized in 15 issues of which both parties feel legitimately proud. As with many other cultural initiatives, the pandemic hit the pause button in our printed communication with readers, and as much Arquitectura Viva as C went through a period of remote editing and digital publishing. However, a commitment to continuity has made it possible for both magazines to offer the print version of their digital issues, and this is precisely the purpose of this volume, which gathers the already distributed C16 and C17 with the contents of the new C18, presenting under one cover the publications of this ‘year of the virus’, a period we will be unable to forget, and which we can hardly consider history when the pandemic still disrupts everyday life in territories and cities. But this is not a time to tell but a time to cure, and to heal the editorial wounds of a magazine engaged with the planet’s health, with technical innovation, and with aesthetic excellence: these are the strands that weave together this testimony of a year whose somber threat we have faced with tenacity and humility.

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