Institut Ramon LLull

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The City of Barcelona, guest of honour at the Buenos Aires International Biennial of Architecture

Archit. & design.  05/10/2017

The city of Barcelona is the guest of honour at the Buenos Aires International Biennial of Architecture, to be held from 9 th to 20 th October at the Usina del Arte in the city. This Biennial has been held since 1985 and it has become one of the most important events in the region, a pioneer of Latin American Biennials and recognized as being one of the top three, along with Venice and São Paulo.

The Barcelona City Councillor in charge of Architecture, Urban Landscape and Heritage, Daniel Mòdol, said at a press conference that Barcelona will present a very powerful proposal that is intended to be a true story of the times the city is living through from an architectural point of view. “We want to be a benchmark for the world when explaining the role played by architecture in the city and how we should proceed so that it responds to the real needs of the people, especially with regard to housing, but also in many other areas,” he said.

Also, the director of the Institut Ramon Llull (IRL), Manuel Forcano, said that Barcelona City Council and the IRL have organized a programme of talks and an exhibition, which includes an academic programme, and which will be held at the Usina del Arte. Besides this official representation, Barcelona will be present in other cultural spaces in the city through an extensive programme of performing arts and talks. Forcano added that “Barcelona has to be a city associated with its inhabitants’ defence of urban heritage and architecture, avoiding personal interests.”

The connecting thread of the exhibition and the talks that the capital of Catalonia will present in Buenos Aires, and the academic programme that will accompany these actions, will be Barcelona Architecture, City, Heritage, the
project being developed by the City Council to highlight the city’s architecture and heritage. The Catalan participation will present a concept of heritage that goes beyond historical protection and is aimed at pointing out the undoubted value that architecture, public space and the urban landscape have for society. Hence, the City Council will present the policies that are being carried out in this field, from the perspectives of preservation and knowledge, and intervention and new actions. 

Exhibition Barcelona, Architectures of a City

The exhibition presents architecture as it is perceived by the citizens through the projects of the La Borda housing cooperative, the set of facilities of Fort Pienc, the restoration of the Turó de la Rovira, the refurbishment of the Fabra i coats factory, and the elderly people’s housing of Torre Júlia, examples of the harmony and involvement that are generated from the interaction of architecture and architects with residents. The exhibition does not set out to explain the architecture of Barcelona, but the dialogue that this discipline establishes with the city’s associations and cooperatives. The exhibition is curated by architects David Aceves and Juan Carlos Ariel Cavilli and visual artist Toni Casassas.

All the projects have in common the economy of resources and a particular sensitivity with regard to materials and collective uses. The exhibition design proposed by the curators reflects this austerity: an initial square as a meeting

point between Buenos Aires and Barcelona that leads visitors to a large structure in the form of a wooden cube and a large table that forms the space for reading and academic activity. An audio-visual is shown inside the cube that
presents the testimonies of architects and local people regarding the projects exhibited, and presents viewers with a different Barcelona. The outside of the structure displays documentation and information about each project.

The programme of talks, Barcelona, Architectures of a City, proposes an approach to architecture from the perspective of its value as the citizens’ heritage. Barcelona no longer talks about classic urban planning, but of urban architecture, changing the tools to place the focus of the city’s urban support on the lives of its people.

Parallel to the exhibition the Usina del Arte will be the venue for the following dissertations:

  • Daniel Mòdol. Barcelona, Architectures of a City
  • Mar Santamaria. Ten (Possible) Ways in which Barcelona Could Disappear.
  • Adrià Goula. Rebuilding.
  • Oscar Guayabero. The City as a Place of Happiness.
  • Ramon Faura Coll. The Other Architecture (Questions from a House-museum).
  • Josep Maria Montaner. Contemporary Barcelona: the Culture of Living and Public Space.
  • Flores & Prats Arquitectos. The Discipline of what Exists. Concerning the New Sala Beckett in Barcelona.

Moreover, in the Barcelona exhibition space, at Usina del Arte, there will be an exchange session between architecture students from Barcelona and Buenos Aires to share their projects. A forum for discussion will also be generated between the protagonists of the Biennial’s programme of dissertations and the exhibition curator.

Further information at the website

From 9 th to 20 th October the Usina del Arte will be hosting an exhibition and various talks on the subject of architecture in Barcelona

Sponsors of IRL projects

The Institut Ramon Llull

is a consortium that comprises the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia), Balearic Islands Government and the Barcelona City Council, and its mission is the promotion of Catalan language and culture abroad.

Generalitat de CatalunyaGovern Illes BalearsAjuntament de Barcelona

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