The Recession’s ripples have reached far. We, in the midst of a veritable architecture meltdown, can attest to that. But even our situation can’t compare to Spain’s, a country where “the mother of all housing bubbles” meant the Recession didn’t just land – it tsunami-ed onto her shores.
The metaphor may seem overblown, but it’s not so far off. Spain, a country that once stuffed its cities with show-stopping cultural centers, airports, and municipal buildings, has been shocked still.The new Spain is populated with empty high-rises, half-finished “starchitecture,” and plans gathering dust. A quarter of its architects are out of work and about one half of its studios have closed their doors.
Spain, once a beacon for architects across the globe, has hit a standstill. For the first time in decades, thousands of architects are fleeing its shores. So what does this mean for architecture in Spain – and the world? Has the Recession signified the end of an era? Has the torch of architectural innovation been passed?
In a word? Yes.
Exclusive insight from some of Spain and Portugal’s acclaimed architects, after the break…
As previously announced, the Portuguese architects behind “OCO – Ocean & Coastline Observatory” have won Habitat for Humanity’s Open Architecture Challenge: [UN] RESTRICTED ACCESS 2011. Over 500 teams from 74 countries submitted innovative solutions for the recovery and reuse of disabled and abandoned military sites. These submissions were filtered down to 13 finalists by a jury of 33 esteemed professionals. The Lisbon-based architects of OCO claimed grand prized with their vision to redevelop a desolate military site, that once defended the coast of Trafaria in Portugal, into a civic space that promotes coastal preservation.
Continue after the break for more.
Location: Oporto, Portugal
Design Team: Diogo Brito, Rodrigo Vilas-Boas, Francisco Lencastre
Project Year: 2012
Project Area: 150.0 sqm
Photographs: ctrl + N | productions
Designed and constructed by Like Architects for the 2012 Oporto Show, the Chromatic Screen installation is an intervention representative of their ephemeral work that lies on the border between architecture, design, urban installation and art. The installation is designed using about 2,000 hangers for children’s clothes from IKEA – ‘Bagis’ -, in four different colors – blue, green, pink and orange – that merge into multiple tonalities. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Designed by Gabriela Gomes, Shelter ByGG” brings out to public space a sculptural object that can be used as a living space. She proposes the creation of an habitable module, inviting you to rest inside a sculpture installed on a public space. Photographed by Joao Morgado, this project is an artistic manifestation that provides an innovative and unexpected experience as an accommodation space, associated with eco-‐sustainable solutions and mobility. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The building of the Municipal Library and Archives Grândola by ER Studio aims to be a timeless reference, an icon that represents not only the past and present of the town of Grândola, but also their future ambitions. Their idea of the Monolith reminds us of the past buildings that have withstood the time, a library and an archive are nothing more than a large repository of knowledge that makes the bridge between past and present. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Built after winning an international landscape competition at Ponte Lima, Portugal, Honey Scape is temporary landscape pavilion by Gonçalo Castro Henriques of X-REF. This installation intends to shelter the visitor, captivating him by a dream-like atmosphere with aromatic plants. This atmosphere is defined by a light and transparent structure, based on a honeycomb, creating a dynamic of light and color throughout the day. More images and architects’ description after the break.