Scotland have voted against independence.
Arguably there are only two architects in history that have become almost completely synonymous with one particular city – Charles Rennie Mackintosh for Glasgow and Antoní Gaudi for Barcelona. Indeed, a Catalonian architect, Enric Miralles, designed the Scottish Parliament Building in Holyrood, Edinburgh. The fact that both of these cities are part of large enclaves who are seeking, or have sought, independence is perhaps just a coincidence. Architecture, often used as a symbol for the identity of nationhood, will certainly be part of a wider dialogue about the Union of the United Kingdom following yesterday’s referendum.
For architects, it is a project perhaps more recognizable in plan than in photograph. The dazzling rhythmic complexity of the construction drawings for Barcelona’s Olympic Archery Range, completed in 1991, brought more fame to the 1992 Olympic event than any arrow shot from the buildings’ shadow. The drawings show an overlay of organic curves and rectilinear shapes working in sublime harmony, producing a composition that clearly conveys both the architects’ concept and the process through which it was developed. Amazingly, the project is no less spectacular in person than on paper, and its completion helped launch the husband-and-wife partnership of Enric Miralles and Carme Pinós into international stardom.
From the architect. Created for Barcelona‘s BCN RE.SET festival organized this year by the Fundació Enric Miralles as part of the city’s Tricentenari BCN celebrations, this installation by Yael Reisner and Peter Cook responds to the theme of ‘democracy’. The design, titled “Take My Hand” takes inspiration from a number of factors - notably the location of the site outside Barcelona’s Civil Registration building, and the idea that the protection of human rights and civil liberties is one of the fundamental tenets of democracy.
The installation is therefore designed as a space to be used in marriage ceremonies and a celebration of human rights through civil weddings. Reisner explains that “the option of a civil marriage in many countries opened new possibilities for interfaith marriages, non-religious marriages, and same sex marriages.”
More on the installation after the break
Every year, citizens of Catalonia commemorate the events of September 11th 1714, a key date in the War of the Spanish Succession that has come to symbolize what Voltaire called “the Barcelonans’ extreme love of freedom.” With this year marking the 300th anniversary of these events, Barcelona Cultura enlisted the Fundació Enric Miralles to curate 7 public installations around the city as part of its Tricentenari BCN program.
The result is BCN RE.SET, organized by Benedetta Tagliabue of the Fundació Enric Miralles and stage director Àlex Ollé, which invited guest architects from countries all over the world to colloborate with local universities and create installations symbolizing 6 political and ideological concepts: identity, freedom, Europe, diversity, democracy and memory. These installations will be in place until September 11th. Read on after the break for descriptions of all 6 installations.
Although already an icon in architectural circles, “birthday boy” Antoni Gaudí may soon be receiving a new accolade: sainthood. Due to his renowned, unique style and tireless efforts on La Sagrada Família, Gaudi, potentially our first Patron Saint of Architects, will be beatified by Pope Francis within the next year.
Although beatification is only the third of four steps towards full-fledged canonization (which will require proof that Gaudí performed at least one miracle), it still seems a good moment to celebrate Gaudí and explore some of his most astounding works scattered throughout the city of Barcelona (seven of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites). Discover some of our favourites after the break.
Antoni Gaudí (1852 – 1926), the Catalán architect known for his distinctive, fantastical style, and – of course – for his magnum opus, the unfinished Sagrada Família, would have turned 162 today. Heavily influenced by religion and the forms, patterns, and colors found in nature, his work was a precursor to building technology development in the 20th century.
In the Sagrada Família, Gaudí eliminated the need for flying buttresses by developing an ingenious system of angled columns and hyperboloidal vaults. The use of hyperboloids and other complex shapes with ruled surfaces allowed not only for a structure far more delicate than its contemporaries, but also for enhanced acoustic and light quality.
In honor of Gaudí’s birthday, check out some of his other iconic contributions to architecture below.