Variations of Identity. Type in architecture. Carlos Martí Arís

The editorial project focuses on the translation of the book « Las variaciones de la identidad. Ensayo sobre el tipo en arquitectura » written by Carlos Martí Arís, from Spanish into two languages: French and English.

After having already translated in 2019 another book — « Silencios elocuentes » — by the same author, from Spanish into French, Cosa Mentale Editions wants to continue to make possible the discovery of the lesson of Carlos Martí Arís, considering it of fundamental importance for today’s architectural culture. In particular, in this book, the author presents an architectural theory according to which the idea of type is not conceived as a mechanism of reproduction but as a structure of form capable of multiple developments.

The editorial project includes an introduction written by Raphael Moneo, one of the best known Spanish architects on the international scene, whose lucid look at the past and present will underline the extremely current contents of a work originally published in 1993.


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272 pages
17 x 24 cm
Illustrations black and white
English Text

Author: Carlos Martí Arís
Foreword: Rafael Moneo
Editorial direction: Claudia Mion and Fabio Licitra
Spanish—English translation: Team OLISTIS under the coordination of Juliette Lemerle
Italian—English translation: (postface) : Jeanne Revel
Proofreading: Michela Maguolo
Graphic design: Spassky Fischer

Carlos Martí Arís

Carlos Martí Arís (Barcelone, 1948-2020) était architecte et professeur titulaire au Departamento de Proyectos Arquitectónicos de l’Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Diplômé en 1972 de l’Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Barcelona (ETSAB), sa véritable école était la rédaction de « 2c Construcción de la Ciudad », dont il fut membre fondateur et éditeur de 1972 à 1985. Ses thèmes de recherche actuels sont, entre autres, le lieu public et la ville contemporaine, la relation entre l’architecture et le cinéma et le concept d’anonymat en architecture et en art en général.

Carlos Martí Arís (Barcelona, 1948-2020) was an architect and full professor at the Departamento de Proyectos Arquitectónicos of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Graduated in 1972 from the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Barcelona (ETSAB), his real school was « 2c Construcción de la Ciudad », of which he was a founding member and deputy editor from 1972 to 1985. Her current research themes include public space and the contemporary city, the relationship between architecture and cinema, and the concept of anonymity in architecture and art in general.

Editorial note by Claudia Mion

Foreword by Rafael Moneo

Preface by Giorgio Grassi


The concept of type as an epistemological foundation of architecture
A logical statement on form
Type and historicity
The cognitive dimension of architecture
Applying Karl R. Popper’s epistemology

Permanence and transformation of types
Classification and typology
Typological hybridisations
Form and its utility
Type and place

Type and structure
A critique of the semiotic approach
The concept of transformation in architecture
Type as an elementary structure
Elements and the whole

The notion of type in modern architecture
Monolithic vs. decomposable
Mies from a typological standpoint
Transgressing type
A response to the dilemma between historicism and experimentalism

Postface by Fabio Licitra: Let design speak