Spain: Mediterranean architecture facing major changes

Says curator of Catalonian pavilion at Venice's Biennale

22 August, 17:01

One of the works that will be shown in the Catalonia Pavilion at the Venice Biennale's International Architecture Exhibition One of the works that will be shown in the Catalonia Pavilion at the Venice Biennale's International Architecture Exhibition

(ANSAmed) - MADRID - Catalonia and the Balearic Islands will be at Venice's Biennale with the work of nine young architects to be showcased at an exhibit on the Mediterranean.

"The Mediterranean is a common space between Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, a space which unites and separates them at the same time", the show's curator Jordi Badia, founder of the Baas studio with Felix Arranz, told ANSAmed in an interview. Arranz is the director of the Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism in 2011. Badia is in charge of a pavilion of the Biennale dedicated to Catalonia and the Balearic which starting August 27 will host the show called "Vogadors/Architectural Rowers. Catalan &Balearic Threads: hard materiality for a permeable architecture". The exhibit is promoted and financed by the Ramon Llull institute with the backing of the local governments of the two regions.

The project was chosen among 45 by an independent jury chaired by Jordi Garces, who won the FAD 1991 prize for the pavilion of the Hebron Valley.

"Vogadors starts from a sentence by sculptor Jorge Oteiza: 'Those who move forward by creating something new do so as rowers: They go ahead by rowing backwards, looking at the past and moving towards what exists now to reinvent its keys'", said Badia.

The work by the nine architects has as a common trait the emphasis placed on an austere architecture influenced by the environment and its inhabitants.

"This is not an automatic response to the economic crisis but rather a cultural and aesthetic trend born from an intellectual, technical and social tradition which is part of the DNA of Catalonia's culture", said the show's curator.

These architectural styles place "people at the centre of a project" in order for them to be comfortable in practical surroundings.

"These works are made with materials which we call permeable as they age with those who live in them: stone, wood, ceramics, cement, for a comfortable and useful environment", he said. "The architect steps back as the protagonist is the person who lives in them".

The austerity, simplicity, longevity and value marking this new trend spreading from the Mediterranean to continental Europe is reflected in the work by Bosch CapdeferroArquitectures; Francisco Cinfuentes; Nuria Salvado' and David Tapias; Bancafort Reus Arquitectura; Meritxell Inaraja; JaimeFerrer Fores; Arquitecturia; Sms Arquitectos; David Sebastian and Gerard Puig.

The projects are "essential in all the meanings of the word as what is important is the fundamental essence, what is most basic", said Badia.

Such effort by the government of Catalonia has been significant as the economic crisis had badly affected the region, he said.

The participation at Venice's Biennale will moreover continue in the coming years.

"Catalonia's government and the Institute Ramon Llul have meant to stress the longstanding importance of architecture in the Catalonian culture", concluded the curator. "A particular form of being and seeing things able to respond to the aspirations and sensibilities of contemporary consciences".(ANSAmed).

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